What Are OKR?

Why use OKRs vs other goal setting frameworks as well as other FAQs answered here.

OKR Guide & Introduction

OKR Definition

OKR is a goal setting format that stands for Objective and Key Results. The OKR acronym is used to describe the objective and the measurable outcomes that when achieved would result in the objective having been achieved. The measurable outcomes are called Key Results.

OKR Are More Than a Goal Format

OKR is more than a goal setting format where Objectives and Key Results are written and link together in cascades. OKR is a framework that leaders use to optimize business operations for the benefit of all stakeholder – shareholders, customers and employees.

OKR is as much a way of thinking, working, discussing, agreeing, updating, sharing and learning, as a goal format. OKR focus on creating value, aligning resources, execution, innovation and learning. Which means OKR implementations need to be encourage the right behaviours and rituals. When they become second-nature they have become cultural.

OKR

OKR ARE SMART & FAST

FREQUENCY

OKRs work when they are an agenda item that is frequently discussed.  This is where a commitment to the OKR cycle comes in.

AMBITION

OKR stretch us enough to make us think and act differently, without paralysing us. OKRs have built in systems for making ambition normal and even fun.

SPECIFICNESS

When you focus on too much nothing matters most, and you achieve less. OKR force objective and outcomes to be highly specific, like SMART goals.

TRANSPARENCY

Transparent and open OKRs help us belong to a whole, not in a silo. We feel part of a wider team, and we have context for the work we and others are doing.

OKR Benefits

The benefits of OKR and an OKR tool, reported by both leadership and the teams asked to discuss, agree and work towards OKR are numerous and your perspective depends on your role and responsibilities. The benefits to a leader of a company are obviously different to a more junior member of a team. The themes that OKR benefits fall under have a pattern though.

STRATEGY DELIVERY

For leaders, OKR provides a framework to execute and operationalize strategic thinking. Bridging the strategy – execution gap. This has the benefit of increasing KPIs like Revenue.

ALIGNED IMPACT

For managers and their reports, OKR provides a an opportunity to stop and consider where the opportunities and issues are, and agree where progress needs to made now.

CLARITY & FOCUS

The result of leaders communicating strategy and teams considering what their goals should be that support strategy is alignment, prioritization and focus.

CONTROLLED AUTONOMY

When you have succeed with OKR, goals are clear, updates are happening weekly. Progress is visible and you can see where your wins are and where help is needed.

LESS STRESS

When teams and employees know what their priorities are they are able to de-prioritise what matters less. This makes work more enjoyable and increases their impact.

ACCOUNTABILITY

When you have helped create OKRs you are more engaged and energised, you’re also happy to be accountable for the outcome and share the performance burden.

ZOKRI - Step-change

Step-Change

Strategy, Goal & Culture Management eBook

A practical guide for C-Levels to optimize strategy, OKRs, people and company culture to create a step-change in performance.

BEFORE COMMITTING TO OKR, ASK YOURSELF THIS

Do you want to follow these best practices / rules?

INSPIRE, ALIGN & UNITE

ZOKRI

Set company goals that inspire and align everyone in your strategic planning process. Not inspiring people is a wasted opportunity to unite everyone and drive the right behaviours and actions. Are you a right fit for OKR?

“Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment."

Jim Collins & Jerry Porras

“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals—that is, goals that do not inspire them.”

Tony Robbins

FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST

ZOKRI

Set team goals that focus on your strategic pillars that are wildly important and need progress to be made now, because BAU / everyday goals won’t move the needle, but will dilute focus.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."

Peter Drucker

“My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.”

Bill Gates

COLLABORATE BRILLIANTLY

ZOKRI

Write OKRs based on your org. structure and in cross-functional teams, and make them transparent, because siloed teams and invisible goals are obviously a terrible idea.

“Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication."

Dinesh Paliwal

“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

Charles Darwin

LISTEN, TRUST & MOTIVATE

ZOKRI

Unlock bottom-up thinking, because leaders often don’t know best! Research OKR examples and start thinking about your own.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Stephen R. Covey

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

Dalai Lama

FOCUS ON MEASUREMENTS THAT MATTER

ZOKRI

Make a measurable impact by acting on measurements that matter, which are often lead and not lagging indicators – the big lagging like Revenue and NPS make average goals and much better KPIs.

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

Tony Robbins

“If you can't measure it you can't improve it.”

Peter Drucker

SHARE WHAT SUCESS LOOKS LIKE

ZOKRI

Separate desirable and measurable outcomes, from the work that achieves them – your to-do list is valuable, but not a goal. Know the types of OKR you’re using.

“The more specific and measurable your goal, the more quickly you will be able to identify, locate, create, and implement the use of the necessary resources for its achievement."

Charles J. Givens

“It's very easy to confuse confident motion with being productive - and they're not the same thing. Productive to me means measurable outcomes that apply to my most important to-dos that positively affect my life. That's it."

Tim Ferriss

FREQUENTLY UPDATE & DISCUSS

ZOKRI

Commit to discussing goal and execution progress frequently, ideally weekly. Set-and-forget goals lead to mediocre performance. The best OKR software manages this.

“Every day you spend drifting away from your goals is a waste not only of that day, but also of the additional day it takes to regain lost ground.”

Ralph Marston

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity."

Dalai Lama

BE BRAVE, BE AMBITIOUS

ZOKRI

Set stretch targets for difficult OKRs, because that’s where the magic happens, but only if it is OK not to always hit the 100% progress mark. Reading OKR examples and taking note of their grading will help a lot.

“A good goal is like a strenuous exercise - it makes you stretch. Goals should be slightly out of reach to be of maximum value.”

Mary Kay Ash

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

Michelangelo

VALUE LEARNING

ZOKRI

Set time aside to consider how you did and what you learned, learning is a measure of success as well.

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."

Henry Ford

“Missing the mark is one of the ways in which we learn to hit the target.”

Eric Butterworth

BUILD A GREAT CULTURE

ZOKRI

Commit to a culture that encourages the sharing of ideas, questions, concerns and mistakes. Make it clear that speaking up and taking risks will not negatively impact self-image, status, or career.

“Psychological safety isn't about being nice. It's about giving candid feedback, openly admitting mistakes and learning from each other.”

Amy C. Edmondson

“If we have a goal and a plan, and are willing to take risks and mistakes and work as a team, we can choose to do the hard thing.”

Scott Kelly

WHAT ARE  THE KEY STAGES IN AN OKR CYCLE?

ZOKRI

OKR CYCLE MANAGEMENT IS KEY TO DELIVERING STRATEGY AND GETTING RESULTS

OKR Drafting

STEP 1

OKR Drafting & Sign-off

ZOKRI

PROPOSE OKRS, DISCUSS AND REACH CONSENSUS

What do we need to make progress on most this period? How will success be measured aka Key Results? Which activities will ensure progress is made? The best OKR tools will manage this for you.

STEP 2

LAUNCH OKRS & STAY FOCUSED

ZOKRI

YOU’RE COMMITTED, LET’S DO THIS

Launch OKR and keep everyone engaged and focused throughout the entire goal cycle.

Launch OKR

STEP 3

Weekly Check-ins

ZOKRI

PROGRESS, PLANS, PROBLEMS & WINS

A quick update takes a few minutes and shares progress, problems and wins with the people that matter. This again, should all happen systematically at your chosen cadence in OKR software.

STEP 4

Focused OKR Meetings

ZOKRI

ONE-ON-ONES OR IN TEAMS
EXECUTION & ISSUE FOCUSED

Quick meetings to talk about plans and any issues.

STEP 5

STAKEHOLDER Reporting

ZOKRI

SEE THE DATA
AND READ THE NARRATIVE BEHIND THE DATA

A commentary that goes with the latest OKR and KPI progress results. OKR software like ZOKRI will manage this along with other steps in your OKR cycle.

STEP 6

Quarterly Retrospectives

ZOKRI

END YOUR QUARTER THE RIGHT WAY
CELEBRATE, LEARN, PUSH ON

The story of final OKR % progress and what it really means. The highs, low and learnings. When ready, agree the final, fair and balanced grading of success and decide to continue, or not.

Quarterly Retrospectives

FAST GROWTH COMPANIES ACROSS THE GLOBE USE ZOKRI

ZOKRI helps organizations unlock the benefits of strategic and goal setting frameworks like OKR. Systematically ensuring strategic alignment, and keeping teams engaged and focused on achievement throughout the quarter.

Infosys
Schreder
Bitstamp
Yard
Gamesys
Neocles
Zivid
Broadvoice
ASH

“I took the time to enter our executive OKRs into 3 platforms to test and demonstrate them to the broader team, after investigating 9. I found that ZOKRI was considerably easier than the others to enter the data into. 

Beyond the ease and intuitiveness of the platform, the actual structure of the OKR builder was the most comprehensiveIt easily accommodated % based Key Results and even allowed me to create thresholds.

Finally, having KPIs and OKRs separated but living in the same system is wonderful. The ability to have KPIs and OKRs in a team meeting or a dashboard whilst maintaining their separate functions, complex health metrics and working priorities is incredible.”

ZOKRI

Rachael Stott
Director of Culture – GoCanvas