The First Rule of OKRs – Focus, from “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) compel senior management to identify those imperatives which will drive superior performance in their company. By the nature of their quarterly cadence of Objective setting, they force management to prioritize. As we learn from John Doerr in his best-seller, “Measure What Matters” the OKR protocol demands senior management Focus on that which is most important. And, the OKR methodology provides the platform to communicate Objectives so that the entire organization is Focused on what really matters. We’ll explain more about Focus’s role below.

How Many OKRs do we Set per Quarter for Optimum Focus

A common mistake of many companies as they implement OKRs is setting too many quarterly Objectives. This can blur Focus and create confusion. It is management’s role to identify the three to five significant corporate goals that will make a difference, to communicate these goals to the organization, and to Focus everyone’s efforts towards their achievement.

In his book, Doerr quotes Andy Groves of Intel, the Father of OKRs, “If we try to Focus on everything, we Focus on nothing.” Especially in a start-up, or scaling business Focus is essential. In these situations, resources are limited, and the “to do” list is never-ending. However, to reach the next level, there is a finite list of “must do” items that will truly move the needle. These are the quarterly Objectives that are identified and communicated in the OKR model. They inform the organization of what each individual must Focus on that period.

OKRs are an exquisitely simple, yet powerful management tool. They prioritize and then demand Focus. To this day, Larry Page, co-founder of Google creates his personal quarterly OKRs. They Focus his activities and answer the question, “What am I doing today to continue our forward momentum.”

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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