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OKR - Objectives & Key Results

OKR is a goal setting approach that is increasingly popular at innovative and high growth companies and has been adopted by leading companies like Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Sears etc.

In an OKR, the Objective is qualitative and aspirational, and the Key Results(KR) are actionable and measurable. Key Results are equivalent to SMART Goals used by many companies.

The OKR approach to goal setting encourages teams to set bold team objectives and team members to drive focused execution that is measured through Key Results/individual goals.

Implementing OKR

OKR is simple to set up and use and the approach ensures continuous focus on the things that matter. Structurally, OKR concept requires two steps:
Step 1: Define 3-5 objectives for your team. Objectives are aspirational and time bound, typically quarterly based. The team objectives become the rallying cry for the team and ensures focus and alignment in the team.

Step 2: For each team objective, team members define and set measurable key results/individual goals. Key results should be quantified targets that are difficult to reach but achievable. On a weekly basis, team members will provide updates on the progress made against the individual goals and team objectives. Below are couple of OKR examples.

Sales Team OKR (example):
Team Objective:
Double revenue in Q4
Individual Key Results:
$7M in net-new customers revenue(John)
$3M in renewals/upsell revenue from existing customers(Sally)

Product Team OKR (example):
Team Objective:
Deliver superior product user experience this quarter
Individual Key Results:
Launch redesigned product by Dec 15(Steve)
Daily Active Usage increases by 30% (Sally)

Given the individual goals/key results are linked to team objectives, this approach ensures alignment and individual accountability. Get started with OKR for your teams and build high performance teams.

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OKR Benefits

Aligned Execution
The structure of OKR ensures that the team members' goals and work is aligned with the team objectives. Focus on key results/individual goals enables the team to execute on the right things and avoid "busy work". People work smarter.

Having complete transparency on team objectives and individual goals ensures better execution and improved collaboration within the team. Leaders and managers love the visibility into execution and employees love the clarity of knowing what's expected from them.

OKR - Best Practices

Google OKR Implementation - Google has been using OKRs since 1999. At Google, the Objectives are ambitious and are difficult to achieve 100%. Typical objective achievement is in the 60-70% range.

Key Results are measurable. At Google, each key result is graded on a 0 - 1.0 scale at the end of each quarter. All the key results are averaged to determine the OKR grade.

All OKRs are visible to everyone within Google, thereby providing transparency across the organization. See the video from Rick Klau of Google & Founder of Feedburner on Google's implementation of OKR.

Implement OKR For Your Teams Today