How OKRs Help to Prioritize Your Objectives, from “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr

Regardless of the size of your company or its life-stage, setting organization level priorities is difficult. The OKR (Objectives and Key Results) methodology with its more frequent cadence, objectives are typically set quarterly, can help guide you. In this article we will address:

  • What inspires and informs your Objectives
  • How to transition from longer-term, top-down driven goals
  • How to focus on those few key initiatives that make a significant difference in performance

How do I Determine Initial OKRs

In his book “Measure What Matters”, author John Doerr recognizes the dilemma of setting OKRs as you adopt the protocol. He suggests senior management reflect on the following, “What is the most important thing we can do for the next three months, (or six, or twelve) that can truly make a difference.” Best practices dictate that you allow your Mission and Vision Statements to inform your selection of initial OKRs.

Vision statements and annual plans are forward-looking and crucial to your business. OKRs force you to focus these into quarterly Objectives. What is it that must happen in the next quarter, that is imperative to realizing your annual plan and vision? These quarterly Objectives direct the work which must be done to ensure continued progress to your ultimate goals.

The OKR process dictates that you limit quarterly Objectives to a handful of carefully curated goals. OKRs are not meant to be a laundry list of tasks. To quote Steve Jobs, “Focus means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.” Most of all leadership cannot confuse activity with accomplishment.

The OKR protocol helps you determine what your Objectives should look like, the frequency of goal setting, and the number of goals to be addressed. It can be a bit daunting at first, but over time you and your team will continue to improve.

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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