Ever wondered why the tech-giant company Google is so efficient in terms of their employee’s productivity and output? One of the main attributes of Google’s seamless management is its strategic usage of the tool OKRs.
What are OKRs and how are they used by companies to boost radical focus and productivity?
In a statement issued by the founder, Larry Page says,
“OKRs have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over. They’ve helped make our crazily bold mission of organizing the world’s information” perhaps even achievable. They’ve kept me and the rest of the company on time and track when it mattered the most.”
The term OKRs stands for Objectives and Key Results.
It is a simpler goal-setting framework that helps untangle complex cross-functional dependencies in organizations.
In 1999, John Doerr, one of the most popular venture capitalists of all time, when working at Google had proposed this amazing goal-setting tool for the very first time. He framed a formula for setting goals which is as follows:
“I will do this (objective ) as measured by ( key result ).”
Thus, the OKRs have two components namely, Objectives and Key Results.
- The objectives set are qualitative.
- The Key Results are quantitative.
The Objective spells out the goal that the company wishes to achieve in a particular period, most often a quarter. They are motivating, important and time-bound in nature.
For example :
> Launch a world – class website by December end.
The Key Results act as monitoring agents to keep track of our goals. They are specific, time-bound, measurable, and verifiable in nature.
> Increase downloads by 45%. > Reduce the customer bounce rates by 10%.
Key Results metrics are to be chosen wisely and they should be relevant and measure both quality and efficiency.
Laszlo Bocks, in his classic book, ‘In Work Rules ‘:-
“It’s important to have both a quality and an efficiency measure because otherwise, engineers could just solve for one at the expense of the other. It’s not enough to give you a perfect result if it takes three minutes. We have to be both relevant and fast.”
Both of them enable the team to have a tight focus on a company’s goals.
OKRs consist of a set of rules that ensures that the employees’ efforts are aligned in the direction of the strategy discussed. They fill the gaps between the company’s strategy and implementation.
Coming back to the heart of this blog article….
How OKRs help the companies in achieving radical focus and productivity?
An objective is like “a lighthouse in the sea that gives directions to many ships (or teams in the context of a company)”.
The key results show how you will follow this lighthouse.
The benefits of implementing OKRs are as follows:
(1) Faster adaptations
As the OKRs are set for a shorter duration, they facilitate quick adjustments and flexibility. Agility ensures efficiency in the workflow.
(2) Crystal clear communication across the levels of management
OKRs disseminate every goal to employees in a simpler, transparent, and efficient manner. The OKRs help navigate the chaos and confusion amongst them, thereby leading to a conflict-free working culture.
Ben Lamorte, the founder of okrs.com, says.
“My mentor and advisor, Jeff Walker, the guy who introduced me to OKRs, once asked me, “When you go on a hike, do you have a destination?” I paused since I was not sure where Jeff was going with this, so Jeff picked up, “When you hike with your family in the mountains, it’s fine if you like to just walk around and see where you go, but when you’re here at work, you need to be crystal clear about the destination; otherwise, you’re wasting your time, my time, and the time of everyone who works with you.”
(3) Effective time utilisation
OKRs align the employees in the direction of the goals set. The tasks are delegated in a transparent manner whereby the team member would strive to complete them within a stipulated time. OKRs reduce the complexity and time-consuming process of goal setting, traditionally an annual exercise in many organizations.
(4) Fosters employee engagement
Alignment of OKRs, both top-down and bottom-up, increases employee engagement as the employees can see how their individual contributions impact company objectives.
(5) Increased accountability and transparency
OKRs bring a major cultural shift from outputs to outcomes. As the employees are free to choose how to receive their OKRs, they become accountable for their acts and direct their efforts aligned to the company’s objective.
(6) Setting bolder and ambitious goals
Key results (KRs), by their very nature, are stretched or aspirational in nature. The key principle in OKRs is that it is okay to not achieve 100% of the set goals. On the contrary, if we achieve 100%, we effectively have set easy goals.
(7) Allows bi-directional objective setting
Traditional methods of planning objectives allowed the only unidirectional flow of information from higher to lower levels of management.
OKRs boost two-way flows in the organisational hierarchy, whereby most of the goals are set by the teams themselves.
Implementing OKRs is like buying a fixed asset that delivers returns over many years. It is important to note that OKRs work great if you blend them with your company’s daily working rhythm.
Wishing you an awesome journey with OKRs.
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.