Dispelling OKR Myths: Setting OKRs are Simple, Create a List of Required Activities

It is said that OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a simple methodology with a simple language. There are no hard and fast rules, and there is no GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). So, much of what has been written of OKRs, taught by consultants, and espoused by OKR Software providers, is open to interpretation. As a result, we have misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and outright “Myths” about the process.

This series of blogs will debunk many of the most prevalent misconceptions.

OKR Myth #12: Setting OKRs are simple, just create a list of required activities

OKRs are about stressing outputs/results, not actions. As John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach was fond of saying, “Don’t confuse activity with achievements.”

Objectives need to be significant, those few things that will make a real difference. One trap of setting OKRs is developing a list of activities required, mundane everyday tasks. That may drive some slight incremental improvement but is not the stuff sought in an OKR implementation where stretch goals and moonshots thrive.

When setting Key Results if you use words such as help, analyze, or participate you are most likely describing activities, not outcomes or measurable results. Google, more than any other company, has mastered the art of setting OKR goals.

An excellent exercise when setting Key Results is to employ SMART goal setting; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This approach will move your organization toward a culture of achievement.

Neither Objectives nor Key Results should be a rote list of activities. They should be specific, concise, measurable, and should be completed in the appropriate time frame.

Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, a middle manager or even a front-line manager)? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? 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!


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