What is an OKR?

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What are OKRs?

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a goal-setting framework that helps businesses set their goals and track the outcomes. This framework aims to expedite the goal-setting process.

OKRs can consist of as many as three parts: Objectives, Key Results, and initiatives.  Objectives and Key results are the necessary pieces.

Objectives

An Objective helps you identify what you would like to achieve in the future.  Your objective must be explained plainly as a best practice, be aspirational, and should not contain a metric. Doing this ensures that everyone on the team is on the same page and working in harmony to achieve their goals.

Key Results

A key result is a measurable outcome that will mark the accomplishment of the objective. Key results contain a metric concerning the start and target value. It acts as a signpost and signifies how close (or far away) you are from your objective. 

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Initiative

Initiatives are tasks and projects (inputs) that will help you achieve a Key Result (output).

To put all these parameters into a better perspective, let’s understand the entire concept of OKR with an analogy. Let’s say that your organization is a car. The objective is a destination. The Key Result will ensure that you are moving in the right direction, and the initiatives are what you do to get your car moving – think of fuel. 

The History of OKR

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OKR finds its roots back in 1954 when Peter Drucker came up with the concept of MBO or Management by Objectives. Later, in 1968, Andrew Grove co-founded Intel and converted the MBO framework into OKR as we know it today.

However, the framework was promoted by John Doerr, who was also one of the early investors in Google.

OKR soon rose to popularity, and after its meteoric rise was adopted by big names like Spotify, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Uber, Twitter, and more.

OKR Structure

OKRs are created based on two critical questions:

     Objective: Where do I plan to go?

     Outcome: How do I know I have arrived?

The objective is the strategic goal of the company, team, or individual, and outcomes are the measurable steps that are needed to achieve the objective.

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Benefits of OKR

OKR is widely popular today and adopted by big companies, all due to the varied benefits that it offers:

Focuses on what is most important

The OKR model recommends setting up 2-3 objectives for each level of your organization. This ensures that your organization is always on top of everything that needs to be done, thus setting your priorities right.

Keeps your organization aligned

OKR is rightly called a management framework. Meaning it keeps your individual and team performance in sync. This also lets the management know that you are progressing ahead in the right direction.

Increased Transparency

OKR is rightly called a management framework. Meaning it keeps your individual and team performance in sync. This also lets the management know that you are progressing ahead in the right direction.

Accountability

OKR also helps you track your progress. It illustrates how far individuals, teams, departments, and the overall company accomplish the defined goals.

Two Kinds of OKRs

Moonshot (Aspirational) OKRs

Also called moonshots, aspirational OKRs, as the name suggests, are ambitious goals. Rightly so, because your OKR should be incredibly crazy as this will then force you to push your limits and cross the boundaries.

Some common examples of these OKRs include doubling your revenue in a year and expanding your organization across multiple countries within six months.

Roofshot (Commitment) OKRs

Commitment OKRs are more realistic and attainable. These OKR goals often have a clear plan of action associated with them for you to follow. Think of boosting your website’s rank in search engines within six months. You will agree with us that it is attainable. All you need to do is adopt the right SEO strategy and work in the right direction.

Establishing OKR for Your Team

1. Prepare The Foundation

To begin with, it is crucial to introduce the concept of OKR to your team. Make them understand how OKRs are scored and how it will impact their performance.

 

2. Recognize the Objectives

The best way to identify your objectives is to conduct a brainstorming session with your team members. Try to agree on at least three objectives.

 

3. Identify the Key Results

Next, list down the measurable outcomes that measure whether a particular objective is being accomplished or not.

 

4. Review and Analyze

Once you have the required details ready, it is essential to review and analyze your OKRs. If you feel that the KRs are 100% attainable, then this means that you are playing in your comfort zone and are not being ambitious enough. In such a case, move your target a notch higher.

5. Collect Feedback

Don’t hesitate to collect feedback from the associated stakeholders. Feedback will help you in improvising your OKR.

6. Scoring

Next, keep check on your progress by scoring Key Results using one of the methods from the previous section.

Wrap-Up

As you can see, setting up an OKR is essential to drive your company, business, or organization in the right direction and to attract growth. It is vital to identify challenging goals and move in the right direction to achieve them.

Using OKRs also aligns your team with your company’s goals and brings out the best results. So, what are your views on this? How do you incorporate OKR into your company’s workflow? Let us know in the comments below.

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