OKR is an abbreviation for Objective and Key Results, where the goal is to make the company focus on the main strategies, prioritizing and pulling together. The concept was first introduced by John Doerr in the book “Measure what matters”. In his book, the objective is described as the place we want to go and the key results is how we get there. There should only be a limited number of key results per objective (2-5) so that the employees don’t lose track, but keep focused.
With OKRs the goals that are set has to be measurable, and specific. It is not a goal in itself to reach the results as much as it is to strive to reach it. It is better to aim for 200 % percent growth and get 150% than to aim for 100% and be satisfied when you make it. On average the aim is to get 60-70% of where you set the target. By having a higher goal than you perceive possible, you will have to think alternatively and consider if there are better ways to do the job than previously thought.
It is important that the goals set in OKR is easily verbalized and comprehended. The focus should not be on developing and communicating the goals, but on getting the desired results. With the limited number of key results, it is easier for the employees to stay disciplined and focused.
It is important with OKR’s that the process is agile and adaptive to the changes in the ecosystem. There should be a continuity in reporting and changing of the objectives to better the innovative process, reduce risk and wasted time.
Common OKR mistakes
Using OKR as a task list.
Use OKR to measure if you are adding value, not if you are delivering tasks. Therefore, you need to understand the difference between Value-based and Activity-based Key Results.
Setting too many OKRs.
This mistake is a common consequence of the first one. Rather than being a laundry list of every single thing you do, OKR lists your top priorities. OKR is your definition of what most important during that quarter. Even if you are using Value-based Key Results, you need focus, or your team will not remember their OKRs.
Not aligning your OKRs
OKR is an alignment tool. You should never set your OKRs alone. You should talk to the other teams.
Set it and Forget it.
OKRs are not new year resolutions. Without regular follow-ups, you will never achieve them.
Automate OKR follow up with Strategy Orchestrator
Strategy Orchestrator has features that make sure following up on objectives is easy and partly automated. Status reports are sent to individuals and teams, the reminders, emails or app notifications, are used to assure the system is up to date.
It’s also easy to browse objectives and results for other teams - such transparency is the source of motivation for the new generation workforce.