OKRs for CEOs – Examples, Tactics, Tips, And Best Practices

Corporate OKR Objectives start with leadership. In this article, we will provide examples of a CEO’s OKRs, and discuss key tactics, helpful tips, and detail best practices of doing so. Setting your initial organizational level-objectives can be daunting, but their importance cannot be overstated. These few, initial OKRs will determine the focus and priorities for the entire organization and inform people where they should concentrate their efforts for the upcoming period.

Examples of CEO OKRs – Organizational-Level

CEOs are tasked with setting the organizational-level objectives. They must cull through all the projects and initiatives available to them to arrive at those select few priorities that will make a difference. Remember, the one imperative in an OKR implementation is to provide laser-like focus. Here are several examples of CEO OKRs:

  • Grow Recurring Global Revenues by 100%
  • Delight Our Customers
  • Develop Corporate Culture
  • Launch our New Product

Further inspiration for Setting C-Level OKRs:

Think of Financial goals:

  • Sales
  • Recurring Revenues
  • Profitability
  • Earnings per Share

Think of how goals may Impact your target customer:

  • Make companies work better
  • Improve the lives of our customer base

Think of Scaling your company:

  • Standardize processes
  • Put systems in place

Other thoughts for CEO OKRs:

  • How do we innovate, within our space
  • How do we dominate, increase our market share
  • How do we motivate, improve our employee engagement

Setting Key Results for our CEO OKR Example

The above are areas to consider when setting C-level company-wide OKRs. Let’s revisit one of the CEO OKR examples to see how we would assign Key Results and cascade them to our senior staff. First, let’s review:

In John Doerr’s book “Measure What Matters,” he defines OKRS as

Objectives (Os)

  • Simply WHAT is to be achieved
  • Significant, concrete and action oriented

Key Results (KRs)

  • They benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective
  • KR should be succinct, specific, and measurable
  • The KRs typically include hard numbers

CEOs Objective: Grow Recurring Global Revenues by 100% (WHAT is to be achieved)

Key Results: (HOW we get to the objective)

  1. Achieve global sales target of $100 million – Assigned to VP of Sales.
  2. Hire and train three new Account Executives – Assigned to VP of People Ops.
  3. Develop new sales collateral materials – Assigned to VP of Marketing.
  4. Slow customer churn rates – Assigned to VP of Customer Success.

From this initial cascading to department VPs it’s easy to visualize how they would cascade these Key Results to Team Leaders.

CEO OKR Goal Setting Tactics, Tips, and Best Practices

  • We will typically advise clients looking for inspiration for their initial organization-level OKRs to visit their Mission, Vision Statement, and Strategic Priorities.
  • OKRs should be limited to those three to five initiatives that will move the organization forward. High-performing organizations focus on those few things that can make a real difference. As Steve Jobs said, “Innovation means saying no to one thousand things.”
  • Too many Objectives will blur the focus on what really matters.
  • Key Results should be no more than one – three per Objective. Key results typically follow a SMART approach; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  • Too many KRs and they start to become activities, don’t confuse activity with accomplishment.
  • Even with company-wide OKRs, there should be a balance of Aspirational goals (moonshots) and Committed goals, (those of a more incremental improvement nature)
  • The best-practice cadence for OKRs is a blend of annual and quarterly Objectives.
  • Regular Check-Ins to monitor progress is a “must do.” These Check-Ins provide real-time feedback, providing an opportunity for timely course corrections.
  • Many companies will do a staged “roll-out” of the methodology.
  • Broadly communicating OKRs is another imperative. We typically recommend an “all hands” meeting wherein leadership communicates the “Why” as well as the “What.”
  • To make the methodology scalable, we suggest you consider a dedicated, cloud-based software application.
  • Best-in-class companies will score Key Results at the conclusion of each quarter to gain insights for use in subsequent quarters.

The above are just a sampling of Tactics, Tips, and Best Practices. 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.

Are you a CEO contemplating an OKR implementation? Do you need some guidance in setting and tracking objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter? 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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