OKR Ensures Intellectual Discipline on Priorities
Setting good OKRs is only possible after deep consideration of the goals of the organisation. This imposes intellectual discipline on the focus and priorities of the business
OKR Reinforces Alignment and Communication of Goals Throughout the Organisation
The act of communicating Company OKRs, and inviting others to suggest their own team or personal OKRs generates discussion, engagement and alignment with the strategy of the company.
OKR Provides the Context for Continuous Performance Management of Individuals
The check in process, where teams and individuals assess progress against Key Results, provides the ideal opportunity to give 1-1 coaching to team members. These regular, timely conversations are the basis of Continuous Performance Management which is rapidly taking over from annual or semi-annual appraisal methodologies for performance management.
OKR Supports Organisational Learning
The scoring process at the end of the OKR cycle gives the organisation the opportunity to stand back and assess its performance. Learning can be captured and implemented in the next OKR cycle.
OKR Challenges the Organisation to Achieve More
In the best companies, OKRs are set to be challenging, and are usually not attained in full. This has the effect of stretching the organisation to maximum potential, and motivating the employees to work harder and smarter.
An Objective is an inspirational statement describing a future state. The statement is usually qualitative in nature, but is time bound. This means it specifies when this state should be reality
A Key Result is one or more measures, that define whether progress has been made towards the Objective. They may be already established KPIs, or could be a measure deduced specifically for this purpose. In some cases they can be binary outcomes, if the Objective specifies a particular achievement
Set Goals: The company leaders decide on the objectives and key results for the coming period
Align: The teams propose their own OKRs, aligned with the Company OKRs
Check In: Teams update their OKR results regularly and predict their outcomes
Review: OKRs are scored, achievements celebrated and insights used in the next cycle
OKRs ensure organisational agility
Markets are moving faster, business disruption is commonplace and organisations need to be able to respond swiftly. The OKR cycle is typically set at 3 months, which means that corrections to strategic direction can be made each quarter.
Improved Performance Management is a natural by-product
Engaging workers in the OKR process provides the perfect environment for "on the job" coaching and continuous performance management. The frequent check in meetings provide the forum for discussions on how to improve performance, and the clarity and alignment provided by OKRs motivates staff to outperform.
Like any change to the way people think and work, OKR needs senior level support and a clear implementation plan. Questions to answer include:
Its often a good idea to employ a consultant to help with implementation.
This is a must watch for aspiring OKR users. It explains the history of how the OKR process came into being at Google, and gives some insights into how it works in practise. Its an hour twenty long, so get yourself a cup of tea.
Leading practitioner Felipe Castro gives useful information on how to avoid an OKR project failing in your company
Two leading OKRs consultants, Ben Lamorte and Paul R Niven provide a one-stop resource for organizations looking to implement goal driven management.
It's about creating a framework for regular check-ins, key results, and most of all, the beauty of a good fail.