Value-Focused VS Alternative-Focused OKRs: Which is better?

Nov 19, 2022
Value-Focused VS Alternative-Focused OKRs: Which is better?

It is a well-known fact that OKRs are helpful tools for setting goals, measuring progress, and ultimately, achieving them. However, an understanding of the difference(s) between the value-focused and alternative-focused OKRs and how they influence the decision-making process will go a long way in helping your startup or small business.

Both OKRs (value-focused and alternative-focused) can potentially trigger the generation of an effective solution to an existing problem. Nonetheless, one edges the other in the world of OKRs.

What Are Value-Focused OKRs?

As the name implies, value-focused OKRs are designed to prioritize focus on values (important actions) during a decision-making process. 

Any key decision carried out by decision-makers with value-focused OKRs must revolve around clear values. 

For instance, a startup company transporting oil pipelines from one location to another will prioritize values like accidents, health and safety, economic costs, environmental effects, and socioeconomic effects. 

Now, using value-focused OKRs can help decision-makers to uncover existing alternatives, develop new alternatives, enhance more productive information collection, and pinpoint the best decision opportunity to follow to solve a decision problem.

Furthermore, it can boost communication between the parties involved in the decision-making process, foster the involvement of different stakeholders, and improve the coordination of interlinked decisions. Note that factors like cognitive effort, confidence, and motivation come into play with value-focused OKRs.

According to Ben Laminate, decision-makers who use value-focused OKRs tend to find suitable solutions or strategies quicker and they are more determined to put them into action.

What Are Alternative-Focused OKRs?

Alternative-Focused OKRs are mostly the go-to option for decision-makers. These OKRs make a decision maker aware of every available alternative, aiding them to choose the best fit to solve a problem. 

That said, most decision-makers only use alternative-focused OKRs after identifying a problem to compare all the existing alternatives available to them and find a suitable solution.

Here, no new alternatives are discovered or tested. The decision process involved is viewed as a challenge rather than an opportunity to discover new solutions or strategies. 

Value Focused vs Alternative-focused OKRs

Value Focused OKRs

Value Focused OKRs help you create or develop promising alternatives well-suited to a particular decision problem. In most cases, these alternatives end up being better than the existing alternatives stealing the spotlight.

The decision process with Value-Focused OKRs is viewed as an opportunity to test the waters — discover new things and explore newly developed alternatives.

Value-Focused OKRs are classified as a more creative approach, as they focus on varying decision objectives and how a wide range of alternatives can be generated using them (the objectives).

Value-Focused OKRs cut out a lot of unnecessary constraints involved in decision-making to help decision-makers create more alternatives.

Alternative-Focused OKRs

Alternative-Focused OKRs are similar to the childhood experience when it comes to making a choice. This is because children make their preferred choice based on visible alternatives — alternatives they can set their eyes on. In the same light, decision-makers refer to only existing alternatives when trying to solve a problem. 

Alternative-Focused OKRs hinder the discovery or development of new alternatives or solutions. Here a decision maker has to make do with whatever alternative is available or existing to find the best solution to a problem. 

In most cases, decision-makers use alternative-focused OKRs to solve a problem with an existing alternative before clearly establishing the specific achievement that comes after solving it.

Alternative-Focused OKRs limit your perspective to dashboard metrics. Hence, you miss out on key information that metrics do not capture.

Examples of Value Focused and Alternative-Focused OKRs

Below are a few examples of the solutions that can be achieved with Value Focused OKRs and Alternative-Focused OKRs.

Here is how Alternative-Focused OKRs help to provide these solutions based on an existing problem:

  • Expansion of voluntary work by personnel 
  • Reduction of unnecessary personnel costs
  • Introduction of more fees

Here is how Value Focused OKRs help to provide these solutions based on an existing problem:

  • Expansion of personnel health programs
  • Focus on enthusiasm and creativity
  • Improvement in leadership qualities
  • Improvement in personnel competence
  • Better planning
  • Increase in the number of personnel investigations


After weighing both options, we are convinced that it is best to draft OKRs that reflect you and your team’s values, as it encourages creativity and the expression of knowledge about your industry.

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