Wondering if your company is OKR ready?

Adapting Superpower of OKRs – everything you need to know

24 January, 2022
6 mins

OKR (Objectives and Key Results) – this has been in the buzz for a very long time now, right? The longevity of its hype has proved that it wasn’t just a fag and is rather a necessity for the organizations aiming for success. 

Since its start in the late 1990s when it was adopted by Google and memorialized in John Doerr’s book (Measure What Matters), OKR offers a revolutionary methodology that persists to help organizations and leaders globally for establishing and achieving ambitious objectives and exceeding expectations while empowering and coordinating the workplace. 

 

Adapting Superpower of OKRs

Source: Unsplash

Having been quite prominent amongst organizations for several years now, OKRs are becoming even more eminent due to the increasing need for adaptable and flexible frameworks to stay in line with the continuously evolving technology and work environment. The escalating adoption of the OKR framework has bridged the gap between strategy and execution and has unified the cadence across the organization to attain improved business results. 

OKR framework is known to be a management methodology that is used by leaders for setting goals within their organizations. By focusing on the main priorities, identifying the metrics that measure progress towards those objectives, and quantifying the result of the progress, OKRs equip the organizational teams with that they need to think big, get alignment across the organization and execute on their ambitious goals. OKR establishes a framework around the goals that nurture focus, accountability, alignment, and transparency. 

OKR program is way different and better than other methodologies, as OKRs are more equipped to implement changes at a rapid pace and in iterative cycles. OKRs help your organization to focus on the most important organizational priorities, in short time frames and are openly shared, communicated, and measured in the entire organization. This results in augmenting the transparency, cross-team alignment, and accountability of the objectives and key results.  Studies have proven that committing to a goal can help improve the performance and productivity of the employees. However, more specifically, research backs the fact that setting specific goals will further enhance employee engagement in achieving those goals. 

OKRs in a nutshell:

1. Objectives are specific and involve what matters the most

2. The sweet spot for an OKR grade is 60% to 70%. If an employee is consistently achieving their entire objectives, their OKRs are not ambitious enough

3. Key results are measurable and should be straightforward to grade with a number 

4. OKRs are public so that everyone can see what others are operating on in the organization

5. OKRs are not synonymous with the assessment of the employees

6. OKRs are not supposed to be treated as a to-do list

The superpowers of OKR

When established correctly, OKRs facilitate teams to concentrate on the big bets and work collaboratively to steer the organization towards the desired success. While there is a legion of benefits an organization relishes through the OKR framework, the real reason OKR works effectively is that it gives your organization superpowers. 

Yes, our organization gets superpowers through OKRs! When your organization successfully adapts to the OKR program, it appears as if every team and employee in the organization has become fluent in a new language. Each employee becomes familiar with a common vocabulary and is able to understand how this vocabulary describes what’s most important to the organization. 

Understanding and maximizing the four superpowers of OKRs is the initial step towards guiding the organization at the top of its game. In his milestone bestselling book (Measure What Matters), John Doerr outlined the four main superpowers of Objectives and Key Results that are summarized below:

1. Focus and obligation towards priorities

When you are heading an organization, you have to make your employees aware of what matters the most to the organization. Choosing what matters the most will help your organizational teams focus on the core objectives that make the decisive difference. Thriving organizations focus their efforts on important things and have a clear picture of what they do and what they don’t. While establishing the organization’s top-line goals at the executive level, it is critical to ensure that they are aligned to the larger purpose and are evidently articulated throughout the organization. This holistic approach provides loftier visibility, enhancing both the focus and commitment of your teams towards the foremost priorities of the organization. 

2. Align and coact for teamwork

Once you have established the primary objectives for your organizational teams, the next responsibility is to ensure that everybody is on the same page. A Havard Business Review study outlines that such alignment increases the likelihood of attaining objectives and can lead to financial gains. Similarly, making those objectives transparent nourishes collaboration between the organization teams. John Doerr himself voiced that public objectives are more feasible to be attained than the objectives held in private. OKRs are not islands but to the contrary, they create networks – horizontal, vertical, and diagonal – to connect an organization’s most paramount work. This is why it is recommended to have an OKR program that fosters building networks where everything at every level of the organization is transparent and aligned. Steer clear of rigidly cascading objectives from top to bottom. You should encourage bottom-up objectives as well as it will bring new innovations and ideas to the table.

3. Monitor the progress for accountability

OKRs should be trackable and revised with experience and time. The OKR lifecycle is a continuous process. Teams and employees regulate, score, revise and adapt OKRs in iterative cycles. During the process, they gain key insights into the progress made and are able to evaluate whether the objectives are still worth pursuing. This also ensures that OKRs are constantly evolving organisms that drive engagement, improve visibility and elevate internal networking. Moreover, it allows for accountability that does not involve blame. In this way, your organization is supported by a collegial culture with communication at eye level. The tracking of progress leads to a tremendous augmentation in the motivation and engagement levels of your employees.

4. Stretch to get staggering results

Setting aspirational goals links back to the other three superpowers – focus helps target the objectives that make a difference, only an aligned and transparent organization can push these objectives past the norm, and without quantifiable tracking, it’s unfeasible to know when you’ve achieved the set stretch goal. An exemplary OKR will push your organization beyond its comfort zone, assuring its place in the competitive business landscape by embedding it with a crusade towards innovation. Setting ambitious stretch goals is the finest way to keep this at the forefront of your strategic plan. Stretching your OKR will aid in yielding the maximum value. Pushing to reach the levels of amazing will fuel team innovation and empowerment of your organizational teams. These are the two most noteworthy ingredients for both the survival and growth of the organization in today’s era and OKRs will help you drive that! 

No matter what is the industry or size of your organization, it will thrive with the help of the superpowers of OKRs. Unsurprisingly many top-performing and renowned organizations have been using OKRs for ages.

 So, make sure you too guide your organization to the success it deserves with the help of OKRS. Contact us today for proficient assistance regarding everything related to Objectives and Key Results.