What Twitter’s CEO Learned from Google

Recently Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was interviewed at the Great Place to Work Conference by Fortune senior editor Christopher Tkaczyk. Costolo shared lots of applicable advice for execs of startups and large companies alike, but some of his best tips are those he learned during his time at Google.

Most significantly, when asked which of Google’s strategies he’d adopted at Twitter, Costolo immediately responded with OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).

Understand what’s Important and Measure It

According to Costolo, OKRs are “a great way to help everyone in the company understand what’s important and how you’re going to measure what’s important.”

Execs in rapidly growing companies like Google and Twitter need a way to narrow employees’ focus and provide clarity on priorities, even in spite of fast-paced changes that take place in the organization. Beyond identifying what’s important, OKRs also indicate the ways in which everyone will measure those priorities.

Improve Communication as You Grow

As Costolo says, “As you grow a company, the single hardest thing to scale is communication.”

Though difficult to scale, communication is significantly important in fast-growing companies. Using OKRs leads to improved communication, because everyone’s priorities (and the ways in which those priorities contribute towards company goals) are made clear, and everyone stays aligned and on the same page, thereby creating a continuous and ongoing closed loop of communication.

Measure Success AND Strategy

One of the biggest shortcomings in most management strategies is that success alone is measured, not the strategies used to achieve that success. You can’t just measure how well an employee performed against your expectations; you must also provide a measurable strategy for pursuing success.

OKRs provide a solution by providing measuring strategies via Key Results, or the steps that employees must take to achieve their objectives. As Costolo puts it, “OKRs are a great way to make sure everyone understands how you’re going to measure success and strategy.”

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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