An OKR Introduction, from “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr

How Google Learned of Objectives and Key Results

Although the OKR methodology, (Objectives and Key Results) has been adopted broadly by diverse corporations, no organization has done more to popularize the system than Google. In 2014 Rick Klau of Google Ventures presented a 90-minute YouTube video, titled How Google Sets Goals. Nearly a half million business executives have viewed the video.

But, who presented the methodology to Google. At what point in their life-stage did Google adopt OKRs? How long did Google employ the protocol? If you’re intrigued, read on as we’ll answer these questions below.

A Ninety-Minute Presentation to Google Leadership

In his New York Times instant best seller, “Measure What Matters”, John Doerr tells the story of his initial meeting with the Google leadership team to present OKRs, Objectives and Key Results. In attendance were Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders, and about thirty other members, constituting a majority of their initial staff.

Doerr promised three things that day:

  1. He would finish his presentation precisely at ninety minutes, and he did,
  2. That together they would create the first set of google quarterly OKRs, which they did, and
  3. That he would gain management’s endorsement of the system, once again he succeeded.

Doerr explained that OKRs were simply a methodology to identify the most crucial goals of the company and to make sure everyone within the organization was aligned and focused on these same goals. As Doerr relates in his book, Brin’s initial response was not exactly a ringing endorsement of the methodology.

Google Continues to Use OKRs to This Day

That was nearly two decades ago, in 1999. To this day, seventy-five business quarters later, Google continues to use the OKRs methodology. In fact, Larry Page, now CEO of Google’s parent Alphabet, continues to do his personal OKRs every quarter.

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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