Apr 07, 2022

Thinking physics – Schrodinger’s Cat, OKRs, Outcomes & Output

In 1935, physicist Erwin Schrodinger, proposed a carefully constructed thought experiment in which a cat in a sealed box can be both dead and alive to explain the problem of reconciling indeterministic (or probabilistic) reality in a quantum world to deterministic reality in the classical world.

In the classical (or real) world, you (as an observer) can know for sure whether the cat in a sealed box is dead or alive by simply opening the sealed box (”measuring”). Note that the objective from an observer’s point is to know whether a cat is dead or alive.

For the startup founders I coach, I use the above analogy to explain OKRs:

  1. Objectives are outcomes you want to achieve.
  2. Key Results are the measurements (or actions) you take that will deterministically tell whether you achieved the objective or not.
  3. The Outcome and the Measurements together are the OKRs.
  4. Output is sum of all your actions that do not tell (exactly) whether the cat is dead or alive i.e. whether the outcome is achieved or not.

For example, if “accelerating revenue by 3x’” is an outcome, then a measurement (or Key Result) could be “reduce churn from 40% to 20%”. However, “get management buy-in to launch a RevOps tool to measure churn” is an output that does not tell whether the cat is dead or alive.

About OKR Bytes

Unconventional wisdom from practitioners’ perspective on writing, implementing and tracking OKRs, building an engaging performance culture, measuring and tracking performance, measuring and tracking culture, pulse surveys and more.

About Huminos

Huminos is a comprehensive OKR and Growth Culture software that helps your employees to achieve impactful outcomes, even if they are working remotely.

  1. Aspire for growth with OKRs and align your people
  2. Inspire your people continuously with an engaging growth culture of conversations, coaching and celebrations
  3. Measure growth & culture – continuously, reflect & calibrate your people’s performance.
Sunder Nookala

Sunder Nookala

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