How to Use OKRs for Culture Change – Bono’s ONE Foundation Story, From “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr

Most companies have bold missions, aspirational visions, and aggressive strategic goals and objectives. Few companies’ missions, however, are as bold as Bono’s ONE Organization, “to change the world”. In his bestseller “Measure What Matters,” author John Doerr relates the story of introducing OKRs to Bono. He discusses their adaptation by the organization, how they provided clarity in determining action steps to the mission, and how in this instance OKRs changed the very culture of the organization.

Prioritizing with OKRS

Factivism”, fact-based activism is Bono’s passion. In 2004 the rock star launched the ONE Foundation, a non-partisan, grassroots, activist coalition. ONE is an analytical, results-oriented organization which embraced OKRs. The organization required a methodology to prioritize their efforts so that they did not “attempt to do everything and accomplish nothing.” The OKR protocol ensured they prioritized correctly, setting achievable goals to be accomplished with the resources available.

Bono credits OKRs with sharpening their strategy and improving execution, driving better results.

OKRs and Corporate Culture

The book includes a great segment on the Pivot. In a meeting between Doerr and Bono the very structure, and culture, of the board is revised to be more inclusive of those the Foundation is working for. ONE committed to organizational and cultural change to align more closely with the people they were trying to help.

A concern for Bono is that as the organization grows and adds staff, they strive for perfection, achieving each OKR objective each quarter. The culture they seek is one where they continue to set more ambitious, and less incremental goals, which is where they excel.

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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