How to Use OKR Software in Goal Setting, (the Perfect Versus the Good), From “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr

In his New York Times bestseller, “Measure What Matters” author John Doerr addresses a very common issue companies encounter early in their OKR (Objectives and Key Results) journey. That issue is, senior management agonizing over Objectives and their appropriate Key Results. It happens to all companies even Google, whose CEO Sundar Pichai is quoted as saying, “there are single lines where we would spend an hour and a half.

In this article, we address “the perfect versus the good” in goal setting. Stated differently you don’t want a good OKR needlessly delayed while you seek perfection. Don’t allow an attempt at perfection to delay the execution of goals. To paraphrase George S. Patton, “A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” We’ll explain how and why below.

OKRs are not Set in Stone; You can Adapt and Amend Them Over Time

There is no question setting the right Objectives is crucial. We often recommend that you begin your Objective-setting exercise by re-visiting your Mission, Vision Statement, and Strategic Plan.

But, understand that Objectives can be amended over time, they are not set in stone, or set them and forget them. Through conversations with teams and contributors, you will receive feedback that will illustrate how best to adapt your Objectives to meet challenges. In extreme cases, you may even opt to abandon an Objective if business situations dictate.

Matching Key Results to Your Objectives for Better Execution

Just like Objectives setting the correct Key Result is critically important. But, here again, don’t allow perfection to become the enemy of the good. A few ground rules for setting KRs:

  • Key Results must be measurable
  • Key Results must be time-bound
  • Achievement of each KR must result in the achievement of the OKR
  • Keep them succinct

It may take time for the “perfect” KR to develop for an Objective. Don’t delay execution waiting for divine inspiration.

As you can see the key concept at work is that OKRs are designed to be flexible and malleable over time. Setting the right Objective and Key Results can be challenging. For inspiration visit OKR Examples which provides sample Objectives for various departments.

An OKR Software platform not only allows you to set, track, and measure your Objectives, but they facilitate the Conversations and Feedback that inform revisions and adaptation. They provide visibility for alignment and teamwork. And, very importantly a good SaaS solution partner will provide a Customer Success Manager who will guide you through setting your initial Objectives and Key Results.

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 OKRs? 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!


Image Credit: Pexels

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