OKR Key Tactics – What You Need to Know to Set Effective OKRs

OKRs are the modern, goal-setting methodology for high-performing companies such as Google, LinkedIn, and Intel. In this article, we’ll detail the OKR Key Tactics they use in setting and monitoring effective Objectives and Key Results.

In his book, “Measure What Matters,” John Doerr tells us that OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a collaborative goal-setting protocol for companies, teams, and individuals; a management methodology to ensure the company focuses their efforts on the same important issues throughout the organization.

A Definition of OKRs

Objectives (Os): Simply WHAT is to be achieved, they should be significant, concrete and action-oriented.

Key Results (KRs): They benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective. KRs should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound following the SMART goals method. KRs typically include hard numbers.

20 Key OKR Tactics for a Successful Implementation

The very first item may not be a tactic, but it is a prerequisite. When adopting the OKR methodology Senior Management buy-in and commitment is essential.

  1. Setting your initial OKRs can be a bit daunting. A great tactic at this step is to look to your Mission, Vision Statement, and Strategic Plan to inform your company level OKRS.
  2. Limit your initial OKRs to no more than 3-5 Objectives, and make these OKRs inspirational, these goals will determine the priorities for the entire organization for the next period.
  3. Use a blend of aspirational and attainable goals, Google refers to these as Aspirational or Committed.
  4. Introduce the OKR methodology and initial Objectives at an “all hands” meeting.
  5. Communicate the Why as well as the What of OKRs. Why are you adopting OKRs at this time? What business issue will OKRs address in your organization?
  6. Although we refer to OKRs as a simple methodology, with a simple language, providing staff training is still a priority.
  7. Your Key Results supporting these initial Objectives must be quantitative to determine if the objective has been met, use numbers.
  8. Assign 1-3 Key Results per Objective. Key Results are not a list of activities.
  9. Your goals should be thoroughly cascaded, driven from the top, but with input from below. Give your people the responsibility for coming up with 70% of their OKRs. This ensures employee commitment and buy-in.
  10. Goals set by your individual contributors must always be in support of the company’s top priorities.
  11. Ensure your OKRs are aligned both vertically and horizontally. Horizontal alignment identifies areas for collaboration and teamwork.
  12. Assign an owner to each Key Result. The KR owner is the go-to person for all things related to the KR and is responsible for updating progress.
  13. Conduct regularly scheduled Check-Ins to monitor progress toward the achievement of your Key Results. These Check-Ins provide real-time insights as to progress and identifies barriers to achievement.
  14. Conduct mid-quarter team update meetings focused on progress toward team or department Key Results.
  15. Based on feedback during Check-Ins and team meetings address any roadblocks or obstacles to the achievement of Key Results in real-time. Get progress back on track.
  16. OKRs are not set in stone. If market conditions dictate you should adapt, amend, or even discontinue an OKR. Aspirational OKRs may be rolled over from quarter-to-quarter and even year-to-year if sufficiently significant.
  17. Scoring Key Results. Consider a scale of .01 – 1.0 with 1.0 being a success. Committed OKRs, such as a sales quota, should always score a 1.0 while Aspirational OKRs may be considered successful at a .7.
  18. Conduct a postmortem on an any Committed KR not achieving a 1.0 score.
  19. To make the methodology sustainable use a dedicated, cloud-based OKR software platform to manage your implementation.
  20. At the conclusion of each quarter review progress, reflect on what worked well and what did not, and incorporate insights into the subsequent quarter’s OKR.

The above is a sampling of OKR Tactics. Atiim also provides guidance and support through professional and experienced Customer Success Managers who assist you in the development of your initial OKRs, staff training, and education.

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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