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OKR 101

What is OKR?

The (OKR), or what is known as (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal-setting framework designed by Andy Grove, former President, then CEO at Intel as a way to achieve measurable workplace goals through company-wide alignment, agility, and transparency.

In short, organizations use OKRs to set lofty, ambitious goals at the top of the company, then cascade these goals down, across all levels, to influence the contributions and output of teams and individuals. The OKR method is used to drive strategic direction and focus on the work that matters, while at the same time, enabling everyone in the organization to move together to achieve common goals.

It starts by setting an Objective. The Objective is what should be achieved. Once that goal is defined, Key Results are then used to identify the measurable steps a team or individual will take to achieve that Objective. OKRs are typically set on an annual and quarterly basis, and will be defined at every level of an organization—starting with the top, senior management, then cascading down to every team and individual. This process of cascading goals creates strong alignment across teams and ensures everyone in the company is working in harmony to achieve the same outcome. Unlike other traditional goal-setting methodology, OKRs enable a very specific goal-setting process.

This means that all OKRs should be:

Ambitious:

The idea of OKRs is to drive ambitious outcomes. By setting stretch goals, contributors push boundaries, and accomplish more.

Measurable:

OKRs are all about metrics—by setting measurable goals, companies can more easily assess progress of initiatives, and understand whether or not they achieved their goal. ‍

Transparent:

The OKR framework is more than goal-setting, it’s a framework that requires a cultural shift to tears down traditional silos and business walls—and instead, foster a culture of transparency, where all goals are open, and progress is viewable by everyone.

‍Scored:

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 up 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.

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