Best Practices – How CEOs use OKRs to set audacious goals

In 2018 venture capitalist John Doerr gave a presentation at a TED conference titled, “Why the Secret to Success is Setting the Right Goals.” That talk has now been translated into nine languages and viewed over one and a half million times. The theme of the talk was how CEOs at high performing organizations use the OKR methodology to set meaningful and audacious goals. The right goals, for the right reasons, driving superior performances.

In this article, we’ll detail best practices of how CEOs use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to motivate and inspire their organizations.

Setting Your Corporate Level Goals

Setting your initial organizational level-objectives can be daunting, but their importance cannot be overstated. These few, initial OKRs will determine the focus and priorities for the entire organization and inform people where they should concentrate their efforts for the upcoming period.

The best practice for CEOs at this stage is to look to the company’s Mission, Vision Statement, and Strategic Pillars for inspiration. They must cull through all the projects and initiatives available to them to arrive at those select few priorities that will make a difference. Remember, the one imperative in an OKR implementation is to provide laser-like focus.

CEO OKR Goal Setting Best Practices

  • Use the Four Superpowers of OKRs:
    • CEOs and their executive staffs must Focus and Commit to priorities
    • Employ the methodology to Align and Connect for Teamwork
    • Use regularly scheduled Check-Ins to Track performance for Accountability
    • Set audacious goals to Stretch for Amazing throughout the organization
  • Initial OKRs should be limited to those three to five initiatives that will genuinely move the organization forward. Too many Objectives will blur the focus on what really matters
  • Key Results should follow the SMART approach; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound
  • Too many KRs start to become a list of activities. We suggest no more than three KRs per Objective
  • Integrate data from Check-Ins to initiate real-time course corrections
  • When initially using OKRs many companies will do a staged “roll-out”
  • Broadly communicating the “Why” as well as the “What” of OKRs is another imperative
  • Best practice to scale OKRs is employing a cloud-based software application.
  • Score Key Results after each quarter to gain insights for use in subsequent quarters

The above are just a sampling of Best Practices. Atiim also provides guidance and support through professional and experienced Customer Success Managers who assist you in the development of your initial OKRs, staff training, and education.

Are you a CEO contemplating an OKR implementation? Do you need some guidance in setting and tracking objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!


Image Credit: Jonathan Francisca on Unsplash

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