How to Use OKRs to Launch Important Strategic Goals, From “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr

In his New York Times bestseller, “Measure What Matters”, author John Doerr relates several stories of organizations using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to achieve incredible results:

  • Google; “making the world’s information accessible”
  • Bono and The Gates Foundation; addressing poverty and disease in Africa
  • Zume Pizza; a true market disruption, creating roboticized, artisanal pizza

What is the secret sauce of OKRs? How does this protocol create an environment of achievement? How can you install OKRs in your company as a launching pad for execution towards your most important strategic initiatives? Read on.

A Simple Goal-Setting Methodology

To quote the founder of OKRs, Andy Grove of Intel,

“The two key phrases of the Management by Objectives system are Objectives and Key Results. And they match the two purposes, the Objective is the direction, the Key Result has to be the measurable, at the end you’ve got to look, and without any argument, say, did I do that or did I not do that? Yes, no, simple.”

The Objective is What is to be achieved, and the Key Result measures the How. Simple.

OKR Execution

One of the things that makes OKRs so simple and yet so effective is that they are adaptable to virtually any situation. It is a simple, powerful concept for superior execution:

  • Following your Mission, Vision, and Strategic imperatives determine your corporate Objectives.
  • Develop the appropriate Key Results to measure performance. Think of these as metrics, or KPI’s.
  • Cascade these Objectives down through the organization, while seeking input from contributors in a bi-directional goal setting process.
  • Make Objectives, Key Results, and performance visible to everyone in the company.
  • Establish cross-functional team collaboration to avoid redundancies.
  • Conduct Frequent, weekly Check-Ins, and Conversations between managers and contributors.
  • Make results visible 360°.

Elements of a Successful OKR Execution

The above is a very simplified/condensed version of OKRs, but it addresses the key elements required to achieve these benefits (the secret sauce):

  • Focus and Commitment to the corporation’s most important goals
  • Connectivity and Alignment throughout the organization
  • Tracking and Accountability through Check-Ins and Conversations
  • Aggressive, Ambitious, Audacious Goal-Setting

OKRs truly can serve as a point of lift-off for your most important company initiatives.

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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