Managing Your Company Growth with OKRs
By Seshachari, July 19, 2017
To stay competitive, businesses need agile alignment that links employee efforts to company’s total strategic plan. OKR (Objective and key results) is a framework tool made famous by Intel and Google, typically used to set quarterly & annual goals. Silicon Valley startups like LinkedIn, Twitter and Zynga all share one thing in common, they all wrote startup OKRs. Fast growth requires a united team that is united under common vision and goals.
Setting Objectives & Key Results is a great tool for enabling rapid growth while staying perfectly focused and aligned. The annual OKR is a big, umbrella idea for the year, and it’s not set in stone, it can evolve as the year evolves. But, quarterly OKRs do not change.
OKRs are defined at an organizational level, team level, manager level and at an individual level. Everyone comes together and works to keep the organization on track, driving towards expected outcome / result.
OKRs help to establish a metrics driven culture, focus efforts, and demonstrate right alignment. OKR driven solution frameworks are designed for employee and customer success which leads to overall business excellence.
The objective is qualitative and answers the question, “what do we want to achieve?” – This should be written in a way that fits the organization’s culture. The purpose of the OKR is to track progress towards achieving those objectives and to set a target that is ambitious – often called a moonshot.
OKR recommends setting up 3-4 objectives at individual, team and organizational levels using S.M.A.R.T principle i.e. set goals that are Smart, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-bound. The update on progress / assessment is recommend quarterly / monthly. Progress indicators for these measures are regularly updated. A good OKR shall be quite hard to pin, so they’re judged complete when progress exceeds 75%. If you hit 100%, your OKRs are far too easy-going.
It really works well, if those objectives are created from the bottom-up to increase motivation and aspiration of the individual and team. OKRs should be made available and transparent for all employees to see what colleagues are working on, their progress on current targets and how well they have performed previously. This brings about a sense of clarity to all employees in the organization, offers insights on what the gap is and what is expected of employees; this creates a certain level of synergy helping drive business forward.
Why use OKRs? – Disciplines thinking, betters communication across organization, increases motivation and aspiration of the individual and team, optimizes team work and collaboration, bench marks the progress made, spotlights efforts, and helps to know exactly what you’re working on and channelize efforts.
Some software vendors – Gtmhub, Cove, Khourus, Myobjective, Upraise, weekdone
OKRs win the game. They can be used to set ambitious operating goals to focus people on ongoing executional excellence. Organizations keep them distinct from compensation determination, and they are set collaboratively with at least a quarterly cadence, and progress, is reviewed frequently. Well known organizations like Uber, Box, CareerBuilder, Dropbox, Edmunds, Eventbrite, GoPro, Nerd Wallet, Slack, Spotify, Splunk, Tableau, and Zendesk use OKR and modern/next-gen performance management to drive performance and results.
OKRs are meant to help communication between employees and leaders. The better one understands the company’s goals, more effective and precise the company’s objectives will be. Take a chance with OKRs in your organization and see how it works for you!