OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. They are a popular, highly effective and collaborative way of setting goals for companies, teams and individuals. Companies that adopt OKRs benefit from faster growth as a result of greater focus, more ambition, and better alignment.
Who uses OKRs? Most famously, OKRs were first introduced to Google, when Google was small, by John Doerr, one of the world’s most successful VCs. The goal was to inspire, define and manage rapid growth. Needless to day, it worked!
OKRs were later adopted as a goal setting methodology by other software market leaders like AirBnB, Spotify, Intuit, and LinkedIn. They are now adopted not just by technology companies but all companies wanting to accelerate growth.
If you’re looking for a goal setting framework to help manage and accelerate your growth, OKRs are a good place to start.
Objectives: Are qualitative statements that are succinct, positive, ambitious and inspiring. Objectives tend to not contain a metric. E.g. Rapid sales pipeline growth
Key Results: Are how you propose to measure the progress and success of your Objective. There should be 1 – 4 of them, easily measured and correlate with the achievement of your Objective.
1. Describe Your Key Result
E.g. Double our Sales this Quarter to $1.2m
2. Select A Metric
Metrics are often KPIs you and your team would be target and be measured by e.g. Bookings
3. Set A Target Value
These are Numeric / Currency / Percentage
1. Describe Task
E.g. Listen to each Reps Sales Calls and provide constructive feedback
2. Define Progress Method
Measured By: % Complete or % Complete Milestones e.g. 50% = [MILESTONE NAME] etc.
There are two main types of Key Result Progress Measurement:
Numerical progress is typically measured as Fixed Periods or Counts
Fixed Period: Metrics can be measured in Fixed Periods e.g. Weekly, Monthly. E.g. Revenue, Churn, Sign-ups. The data for these can often come from integrations e.g. Google Analytics, Stripe, Salesforce, Hubspot etc. and are typically they are metrics you’d want to track continuously.
Simple Counts: Metrics can be Simple Counts and are not fixed period updates and tend to be for more ad hoc measurement e.g. Meetings, Interviews, Survey Responses.
Task progress is measured as a % Towards Completion
These can be simple % e.g. 0%, 50%, 100%
They can also be Milestones e.g. 20% = Presentation Created
Company OKRs often run annually, with team and individual OKRs running quarterly. When creating Key Results you can set a shorter deadline for a Key Result where required.
Key Results nearly always have a numerical target e.g. Increase Leads to 10K. But how difficult is that target to achieve. There are three level of difficulty to choose from.
Moon Shot: A nearly impossible goal that will inspire out of the box thinking. Even partial achievement of Moonshots is often a huge win.
Hard: A significant stretch but it’s not impossible.
Business As Usual: It’s a goal that achievable and necessary to make the business function smoothly.
Inside a company you should should find a blend of these.
OKRs cascade from down from Company Objectives and should be aligned top down and bottom up.
Knowing what Parent OKRs you’re supporting is critical to the success of yours and your company. If you don’t think your OKRs align, then you need to re-think them.
Weekly Check-in meetings or manual updating of your confidence in achieving individual Key Results allows the business to adapt and support teams and individual, at the right times and in the right ways.
Confidence is a critical part of OKR success and whatever you do, do not ‘set and forget’ your goals. ZOKRI allows you to set Key Result Confidence as High, Medium, and Low.
ZOKRI guides users to create OKRs with in the right way, with metrics that matter. This helps to prevent your OKR software being used as a task list masquerading as OKRs. The most common OKR mistake that impacts performance.
ZOKRI is designed to help you unlock the potential of OKRs. We are totally committed to helping you succeed with OKRs and embed them as a central part of your performance culture.
Corporate OKRs are high-level, are often annual and aligned with budgets and forecasts. But not set in-stone as change is inevitable and allowed, and part of the process.
These are usually functional, but can be project based as well, and specific to teams, and are often quarterly. Although different teams can have different time spans it adds complexity, something that’s ideally avoided.
These are owned by an individual and not a team and not usually collaborated on. They are personal to the individual and often created alongside your Manager, and sometimes part of your personal career development plan.
When OKRs are up and running, you use weekly team check-ins as a way assessing OKR Progress, OKR Confidence, OKR Blockers, and review actions and Growth Initiatives
John Doer has more experience with OKRs than most and here’s what he had to say about OKRs as they relate to size and maturity:
“At smaller start-ups, where people absolutely need to be pulling in the same direction, OKRs are a survival tool. In the tech sector in particular, young companies must grow quickly to get funding before their capital runs dry. Structured goals give backers a yardstick for success: ‘We’re going to build this product and we’ve certified the market by talking to 25 customers – and here’s how much they’re willing to pay.”
“At medium-size, rapidly scaling organisations, OKRs are a shared language for execution. They clarify expectations: ‘What do we need to get done (and fast) and who’s working on it?’ They keep employees aligned, vertically and horizontally.”
“In larger enterprises, OKRs are neon-lit road signs. They demolish silos and cultivate connections among far-flung contributors. By igniting front-line autonomy, they give rise to fresh solutions. And they keep even the most successful organisations stretching for more.”
There are now a number of OKR management tools out there. And the choice between using tools like Sheets and Excel is also an interesting debate. Our experience is that spreadsheets are not a long-term sustainable way of getting the results you’re looking for.
The choice of which OKR software to choose is down to a small group from which to make your decision. There are a few generalist OKR software solutions, but needless to say, we’re yet to find an OKR software that addressed the challenges of OKR implementation. Too many companies failed to make OKRs part of their performance culture. So we created ZOKRI, the OKR Sofware you will succeed with.
Track metrics, create great OKRs, engage, motivate, and inspire your people.