Set Goals like you own them

Objectives and Key Results

I recently stumbled across a goal-setting process called OKR which stands for Objectives and Key Results which we are trying to implement in our organisation. OKRs are used on a daily basis by successful megaplayers like Intel, Google, LinkedIn and many others. The beauty lies in its simplicity and common sense. There is a lot to OKR but my key takeaways are:

  • Objectives are ambitious, and should feel somewhat uncomfortable
  • Key Results are measurable; they should be easy to grade with a number.
  • OKRs are public; everyone in the company should be able to see what everyone else is working on (and how they did in the past)
  • The “sweet spot” for an OKR grade is .6 — .7; if someone consistently gets 1.0, their OKRs aren’t ambitious enough. Low grades shouldn’t be punished; see them as data to help refine the next quarter’s OKRs.
  • OKRs are not synonymous with employee evaluations
The goal isn’t to achieve 100%, but rather to set a challenging goal that even you working hard you would probably achieve 70–80%.

Some eg. of goals

“Organize the world’s information.” — Google
“Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” — Tesla
“A computer on every desk and in every home.” — Microsoft
“Make easy to do business anywhere.” — 
Alibaba
“Remember everything.” — 
Evernote
“Connect the world.” — 
Facebook
“Transportation as reliable as water, everywhere for everyone.” — 
Uber

Set OKR for short intervals

Annual OKR are too long-term, they don’t account for all the changing circumstances and priorities; they are also not granular to provide us day to day focus. Annual goals are like New Year’s resolutions. They will never see the light of the new year. Quarterly goals foster a quicker success and learning cycle. They support focus, motivation and a result-oriented work ethic.

No More Than 5 Objectives/Key Results

While OKRs are helpful, setting too many can cause it to go down south. Leads must impose a limit on OKRs so that employees stay laser-focused on priorities. By embracing an approach of “less is more” everyone stays driven to accomplish their tasks. My take, no more than 5 key results/objectives

Regular Checks

The majority of companies that successfully use OKRs rely on regular check-ins between managers and their team members. These checks keep everyone on track and aligned with the company’s overall goals. They also keep team members accountable and on pace to achieve the key results they set out for the quarter. And when you consider that a quarter is only 3 months long, getting ramped up and staying on track is crucial.

Helps Companies who are Data Driven

OKRs provide data, and the primary reason that its adopted by so many companies. They also create discipline and transparency. When everyone in the company knows which goals others are working on, it promotes transparency and drives accountability, discipline and real results.

They Save Time

OKRs actually save you a great deal of time, leaving you to focus on strategic business decisions and plan for the future.

It might sound like weekly check-ins and staying on top of OKRs would drain your time, but in reality, they wind up saving you a significant amount of time. Think of all of the meetings you hold to discuss priorities, come up with solutions to issues that have compounded and to allocate resources to solve those problems.

— they tell you where you need to prioritize
 — avoid compounding of issues 
 — where you need to allocate your resources

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