In “Measure What Matters”, an instant New York Times bestseller, John Doerr details the history of OKRs. From their precursor, Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives, through his initial exposure at the hands of the OKR master, Andy Grove at Intel, to his introduction of the process to Google, The Gates Foundation, and a myriad of other high-performing companies.
Doerr refers to OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) as a “Swiss Army knife, suited to any environment.” Many of the early adopters were from the tech world, but as John relates in the book, companies from other industries such as beverage, Anheuser-Busch, the auto industry, BMW, electronics, Samsung, and entertainment, Disney, have also adopted the principles and practice of OKRs.
One’s background and experience will impact how you integrate Doerr’s writings and your key takeaways:
- Founder of a start-up needing to harness and focus your limited resources? OKRs may be critical to your survival and provide the necessary detail required by investors
- Through start-up and onto the scaling phase? OKRs help you to integrate new people resources, and to keep everyone aligned both vertically and horizontally
- From the C-Suite of a major corporation? OKRs will help ensure employee alignment with your corporate mission, values, and critical initiatives. Silos will come down, and cross-functional collaboration will increase
Regardless of the size of your company or its life-stage, through the implementation of OKRs, you can begin the continuous management improvement process.
“Measure What Matters” defines OKR and its benefits through a series of first-person experiences from industry leaders such as; Larry Page, Bill Gates, Bill Campbell, and others. And, case studies from an array of well-known companies such as Intuit, MyFitnessPal, and Adobe. The stories relate how OKRs’ four “superpowers”: focus, alignment, track, and stretch, contributed to their company’s successes. These “superpowers” are the elements that allowed and encouraged aggressive, ”moonshot” Objectives and performance.
The “Resource” section of Doerr’s book contains a detailed look at how Google implemented and perfected the OKR process. It provides an informative “how to” for an OKR planning cycle and delves into the HR or people aspects of OKR and CFR.
There are valuable insights on multiple business situations throughout the book. Perhaps none more pertinent than OKRs will help you cultivate a culture where achievement is more important than credentials and where merit trumps seniority.
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!