The objectives and key results (OKRs) framework helps teams align, prioritize and measure the impact of their work. It’s a crucial process for companies who want to accomplish their mission and achieve their vision.
It’s the steel thread, connecting what leadership believes will move the needle to the everyday outputs of the teams they lead.
But how do you write clear, effective OKRs, even if your whole team is bought in?
Whether this is your first time OKR writing, or your 20th, we want to give you some guidance to make the process a little easier.
The OKR system is a simple—yet powerful—goal management methodology utilized by high-output organizations to create alignment and engagement around measurable goals.
Here is the framework for writing OKRs, plus an example.
By setting stretch goals, you push boundaries and accomplish more.
OKRs are all about metrics—by setting measurable key results, companies can more easily assess progress of initiatives, and understand whether they achieved their goal.
The OKR framework is more than goal-setting, it’s a framework that requires a cultural shift to tear down traditional silos and business walls—and instead, foster a culture of transparency, where all goals are open, and progress is viewable by everyone.
When you create a new objective, it is with the understanding you possess the means to realize it. OKRs can generate cross-functional coordination, but your objectives should primarily be within your control.
By grading OKRs at the end of every quarter, contributors and teams can understand how well they did at achieving their goal. This process also opens healthy conversation on what could have been done differently, and what they can do better next time.
These conversations are learnings, and should never be taken negatively—but instead, as ways to review progress, and grow as a team and company.
1. Start with your team’s purpose. This should come from and align to the corporate goals (business priorities) for the designated time period.
2. Choose which type of objective you want to create
3. Define your key results.
There are two types of key results:
When possible, use this formula: Verb + what you’re going to measure + from “x to y.” For example: “Increase attendance from 350 to 500 people”
Great OKRs take practice. Here are some common mistakes individuals and organizations run into when putting together OKRs.
When looking at your objective and its key results, ask yourself “Are all these key results necessary to achieve my objective?”
Next, ask yourself “If I accomplish all of my key results, would I have achieved my objective?”
The biggest mistake you can make when getting started writing OKRs is not starting the process in the first place. Patience and iteration is key and few, if any, organizations get it perfect on the first try.
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