Four Ways Intel Executed the OKR Methodology, from “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr

Today’s CEOs are constantly faced with attacks against their market position. It can be a new product, a new company, or a disruption of the established methods of doing business. How you respond to crisis tells a lot about your company and your culture. In this article, we’ll relate the ways Intel implemented an OKR strategy to achieve a massive victory against their competitor, Motorola.

Great Companies Can be Improved by Crisis

In his New York Time bestseller, “Measure What Matters,” John Doerr quotes Andy Groves, the Father of OKRs, on dealing with crisis; “Bad companies, are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”

The Power of OKRs as Implemented at Intel

Back in 1979 Intel’s field sales team alerted leadership that their dominant position in microprocessors was being eroded by competitor’s products that were faster and easier to program. Doerr relates how Intel management strategized and mobilized to meet the challenge, using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) as their implementation methodology:

  1. Although sales surfaced the issue, Intel’s response required the Focus and commitment of the executive staff, marketing, and the sales department. Each discipline had a singular Focus on executing their roles in support of the corporate objectives.
  2. Crafting the response required collaboration and Alignment. As an example, new collateral materials were needed from the marketing department and new powerpoint presentations were required from sales.
  3. Specific targets or KPIs were set for each function. These were aggressive, aspirational Key Results. Execution against the Key Results required frequent “check-ins”. Every crucial meeting led off with OKRs, to Track and Monitor results in real time.
  4. The entire organization was Stretched. The Objectives and Key Results were “moonshots” and the timeline unbelievably compressed.

Focus, Alignment, Tracking and Stretch, four benefits of the OKR system, provided the infrastructure for Intel to return to its rightful, dominant market position.

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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