10 Hacks on How to Implement Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) Sucessfully
The term Objective and Key Results (OKR) has become so popular that its search rate has grown fourfold over the last few years! Ever since John Doerr introduced OKRs to Google in 1999, Larry Page and Sergey Brin adopted it across their entire team and the idea soon spread like a forest fire to other Silicon Valley companies as well. Multi-national companies like LinkedIn, Spotify, and Airbnb credit their growth to this efficient goal-setting framework. Today, even start-up organizations abide by this framework to manage their teams and set measurable goals.
However, to be able to fully enjoy the benefits of the OKR framework, it is vital to use it appropriately. The OKR culture may seem a little intimidating in the beginning, but it truly comes to fruition if used duly.
10 simple hacks to crack the beauty of OKRs and implement them successfully.
1. Familiarizing with the framework
If you’re new to this culture, the easiest first step to take would be to define your OKRs. Next, ask yourself the following questions- “What do I want from OKRs?”, “How is it going to help my organization?”, “What sort of goals are realistic?” and so on. This step ensures clarity and definition and will eventually help you set individual as well as team goals. It definitely takes a few hits and misses with the framework to completely figure out what works for your organization but once you are crystal clear on what OKRs represent and how they can be utilized for your convenience, it’s onwards and upwards for your team!
2. Setting a Vision
Once you’re done familiarizing yourself with OKRs, the second step to take is to set goals! Although setting goals might sound easy, it is important to remember that all your goals need to have a particular direction they’re flowing towards. This is where your vision comes into play. Having a vision and mission helps set goals that are in tandem with the entire organization and helps team members float on the same wavelength throughout. This enhances clarity and the business environment.
3. Measuring Impact
Time to take the “So What?” test!
Whenever you set a goal, ask yourself this question. Let’s look at a few examples.
Goal 1- Post this blog on the website
“So what? How is this going to impact the company’s social media?”
Goal 2- Refine the revenue model
“So what? Why is the current one not sufficient anymore? How is my new model going to serve its purpose?”
When you find the answers to these questions, you get clarity and a purpose for your goal and its impact on your organization. This saves valuable time. The “So What” test is a great hack used by marketing companies where they ask this question about three times before making any vital decision. Well, this could be a great hack for life too!
4. Taking a reality test
It is extremely crucial to focus on your goals and work accordingly. If a certain goal isn’t working for your team, don’t hesitate to tweak it. Stressing on a goal that doesn’t work is a waste of time and energy and a burden of its own. Similarly, don’t overload your plate. Deal with a realistic number of goals at a particular time. Remember, it’s always quality over quantity. Implementing the system of Moon-shot and Roof-shot objectives could give you some clarity. Moon-shot objectives are meant to be set beyond expectations, so they work even if only 70% of it is achieved. Roof-shot objectives are targets that are set at achieving 100%. Revenue targets are a viable example of a Roof-Shot Objective.
5. Patience is key
Revisiting an aforementioned point, OKRs always take hits and misses before you find your right fit. Hence, don’t get demotivated if it fails the first few times. What’s important is that you understand the workings and the scope of OKRs during the process. Having clear-cut, well-defined goals curated after days of patience and perseverance is always better than vague and ambiguous goals.
6. Preparing a culture
OKRs only flourish in the correct ambiance. Hence, Adopting and practicing a business environment that is based on trust, transparency, collaboration, and responsibility will help cultivate a culture that thoroughly enjoys all that OKRs are set to offer. An organization that executes the Continuous feedback mechanism on a regular basis and keeps tweaking its organizational goals based on the feedback is also a major sign of a healthy culture.
7. Avoiding Individual OKRs
Although it is a common habit to jot down your goals starting from the organizational level down to the individual level, it oftentimes creates a lot of confusion and stress. Individual OKRs tend to shift focus from the overall goals of the organization and also demote team spirit at times. Due to reasons like these, Spotify has ditched the entire concept of individual goals.
8. Differentiating OKRs and Performance Reviews
Granted, it is an excellent tradition to use your OKRs as one of the factors during the performance reviews but gluing the attributes together creates ambiguity and room for misuse. Setting realistic goals gives you more chances of completion and satisfaction while also improving the employee efficiency compared to setting extravagant goals and stressing yourself over its completion. This naturally fuels your performance reviews and positive feedback. Understanding that performance reviews are subjective is key here. So, it is almost impractical and unfair to combine the two factors. It leads to low team spirit and exaggerated achievements.
9. Evaluating and Iterating
After the set OKRs are proving to be efficient for your team, it’s always virtuous to note down why a certain goal is working and why it isn’t. Evaluating your team’s response and progress for a particular set goal gives an in-depth understanding of your team and helps make critical changes. This comes in handy when the team is working on new goals in the future. A valid pointer to keep in mind is that goals reach the point of perfection only after trials and iterations. Our failures are our biggest teachers. Hence, continuously revising the goals to match the team’s wavelength rather than completely discarding them can prove successful and also make room for growth.
10. Rewarding system
Review meetings for OKRs are one of the healthiest ways to check the success and efficiency of your implemented OKRs.
The first step to keeping a reward system in check is to first communicate the shared progress of the organization. Communicating is as important as goal-setting. Meetings conducted on a twice-a-week, or weekly basis help employees to share, discuss and stay accountable. Review meetings also pave way for transparency, one of the most important aims of the OKR methodology. These check-ins help identify in-efficient goals along with instilling a responsive and motivating environment.
Organizations that understand the aforementioned and implement them smartly, can truly experience the success of The OKR goal-setting framework. All it takes is determination and teamwork to experience the dream work. OKRs have the ability to metamorphose your business and create long-term value-adds. Handle it with care and you shall see the flowers bloom from the bud and unfurl their nectar in time.
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