Maintaining the goals of your company clearly and concisely can be difficult. It becomes even more difficult when you have to manage multiple goals that are all important but also need to be prioritised for different reasons. It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to goal setting. There is so much information out there and so many different ways of going about it that it can be really overwhelming.
The good news is- Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a simple way of achieving alignment and participation around measurable objectives. In this post, we’ll discuss what are OKRs, some OKR examples, how they work as well as the benefits that come along with using OKR software and the OKR framework for growth.
What are OKRs?
The concept of OKR is not new. In fact, it was invented by Andy Grove in the early 1990s at Intel. It has been used to increase goal setting and accountability on a team or individual basis. OKRs or “Objectives and Key Results” is a goal-setting method that allows both individuals and teams to set aspirational and quantifiable goals with measurable outcomes. It helps you to track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals.
If you want to achieve what you set out to do, then what better way is there than setting a goal and writing it down? It’s not enough though, in order for a goal to be worth anything, it must have specific steps in place that will help guide the individual or team towards reaching their objective. OKRs are divided into Objectives, Initiatives, and Key Results.
An Objective is just what the team needs to accomplish, nothing more and nothing less. Objectives, by definition, are substantial, specific, action-oriented, and inspiring. They are a perfect counter to muddled thinking and imprecise execution of plans – when properly used.
Annual objectives contribute to the creation of a long-term OKR. If the company’s annual objective is declared right from the start, it will help everyone focus and align.
Initiatives are any activities or plans that can assist you in achieving a Key Result. If you consider your company to be a vehicle, the destination is the Objective and the Key Results show whether or not your team is on the right course. The Initiatives are the actions your team needs to do to start the vehicle going.
Initiatives are dependent on the established objectives and the time period that has been allocated.
Key Results act as a benchmark and a measure of how close we are to achieving our goal. Effective Key Results are precise, time-bound, and demanding while being reasonable. Most importantly, they are quantifiable and observable. There is no grey area, no space for debate; you either fulfil or do not satisfy the standards of a key result. We do a periodical check at the conclusion of the defined time, which is usually a quarter, and grade the main outcomes as fulfilled or not.
The Key Results must be updated regularly. Else, the objective will end up like the new-year resolutions each year.
What represents successful OKRs?
Businesses of all sizes are implementing the OKR systems to improve their performance. Atlassian, a software company that has been using OKRs for more than 20 years, recommends adjusting your targets based on how confident you feel about reaching them. If you’re feeling good about hitting your target, then increase it by 30%. But if you’re not sure if you’ll reach your goal or not, then you are establishing the objective in the correct zone.
OKRs are a goal-setting framework that allows companies to prioritise and organise their goals. These objectives, or “key results,” can be set at any level in an organisation and help organisations better align themselves towards success.
The primary goal of incorporating the OKR framework in companies is to better shape our business goals throughout the course of the year.
These annual goals or objectives are used to flesh your particular tasks, plans, and projects for the teams. It helps to tackle projects with a clear knowledge of how to track back to the company’s annual goal or objective.
Every company has its way of setting goals. Some companies set yearly goals while some set quarterly ones, but the goal is always to improve and grow. In order to maintain maximum efficiency, Key Results should be monitored and compared on a regular basis.
OKRs for startups and companies
OKR is a method of goal setting and tracking that was created by Intel in the 1990s. Google, Intel, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are just some of the well-known companies using OKR. However, OKR’s usefulness isn’t limited to big companies with thousands of employees. OKRs for startups are just as effective.
It’s worth noting that when Google decided to use OKR in the 1990s, it was still in its initial startup phase; now we know what they’ve accomplished since then. OKR apps can also be used by small organisations or startups to increase their productivity and create a fast feedback cycle.
Any business can improve with OKRs if the fundamental principles are followed and the objectives are accomplished with key results on time.
Benefits of OKRs
Accountability:Every year, companies set goals for the following year. The problem is that it’s hard to keep everyone on track when they have a goal in mind but don’t know how they’re going to get there. Many companies use an annual goal-setting approach, which can be counterproductive to achieving results due to the fast-changing business context. That’s why OKRs are very useful.
Ensuring accountability for regular outcomes keeps the teams focused on the work, promotes productivity, and keeps everyone on pace to meet the annual goal with key results as evidence of progress.
Handing Information:When it comes to your company’s growth and success, there is no such thing as too much information. One of the most efficient ways that companies can ensure they are on the right track is by using OKRs. It helps employees see the bigger picture and understand what they need to do in order for the company’s goal to be met.
Tracking:The best way to maintain productivity is by using the OKR system. This system makes it easy for managers and employees to keep track of progress with a simple, yet powerful mechanism: tracking key results. With this method, managers can easily judge whether or not their employees are doing well and decide what they need to do next based on that information.
Cross Function dependencies between departments and teams:OKRs are a simple, but powerful way to align your company. They help identify cross-functional dependencies within the organisation and ensure that teams work together for better results.
Productivity:When an organisation provides clear goals, directives, and deadlines – it has a direct effect on team efficacy and engagement levels. This leads to increased productivity as well as improved creativity.
Tips on using OKRs:
- Prioritise the objectives
- Don’t be stingy with your objectives
- Connect OKRs to bigger corporate objectives
- Set 3 to 5 objectives for your team
- Key Results should be measurable and monitored regularly
- Key Results are not tasks. They are the outcome of the objectives that were set
- After each successful OKR, follow up with your team. Inquire about what went wrong if your team fails to reach the deadline.
In today’s fast changing business world, one way to accelerate performance is by focusing on measurable objectives and key results (OKRs). Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a simple way of achieving alignment and accountability around measurable outcomes. They work very similarly to KPIs, but the difference is that they typically involve more specific goals for individuals, teams, or entire organisations.
huminos is a comprehensive performance conversations platform that helps your employees to achieve impactful outcomes, even if they are working remotely. Features like OKRs, 1:1 conversations, feedbacks, reflections, and pulse allow you to plan and measure work that really matters to your company.