Wondering if your company is OKR ready?

Avoid These 5 Mistakes While Working With OKRs NOW!

25 December, 2021
5 mins

OKR (objectives and key results) is the management technique used by organizations to set and measure goals within an organization. This goal-setting approach is used by individuals and teams for laying ambitious targets with measurable results. If implemented carefully, OKRs allow companies to focus on the high-impact objectives and the most relevant issues. It involves tracking the progress, building alignment, and promoting engagement around computable goals. The OKR framework ensures the development of employees, coaches them and of course, corrects by making sure that the entire team is working around a common goal; being motivated to go beyond their team’s limits. 

Mistakes

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OKR has proven to be highly beneficial for companies across different industries. However, organizations do end up implementing it in a wrong manner and hence, don’t enjoy the benefits of OKRs.The most important part is that most people often make similar mistakes. Avoiding these mistakes will save a lot of time and effort plus enable the company to enjoy the incredible benefits of OKR. Now, you must be wondering what are these benefits? So, let us take a glance at the benefits of OKR. 

• Commitment and Focus: 

Successful and high-performing companies have a clear understanding of what work matters the most for them and what doesn’t. OKR eliminates any room for confusion and provides the focus needed to achieve organizational goals effectively. 

• Aligning and Connecting:

OKR adds transparency and meaning to the efforts of the whole organization. It provides a medium for the individual to link their goals to the game plan of the company and coordinate with the other teams as well. 

• Tracking Accountability: 

OKRs are data-driven. They include regular check-ins, classifying objectives, and consistent reassessment – all of it is the essence of no-judgment accountability.

• Better Performance: 

OKRs result in motivating the individual and teams to excel by performing better than they thought was possible. By providing a medium to test the limits and freedom to fail, it increases the ambition and creativity of the individuals. 

Sounds great, isn’t it? Well, many companies remain on the backfoot when it comes to planning and moving ahead with OKRs. 

Let’s go through the top five mistakes that are crucial to avoid while working with the OKRs. Following these steps will save you and your team a lot of time while implementing the OKRs. This will also allow you to create a suitable environment that operates on achieving realistic goals. 

5 mistakes to avoid while working with OKRs:

#1 Setting too simple or too ambitious OKRs

This has turned out to be one of the biggest and most common mistakes. The objectives set by the companies should never be either too simple or too complex. Setting very ambitious objectives is recommended only when one has appropriate resources to achieve those objectives. 

Being the head, you might be thinking that your team nailing 100% of their goals is great. However, if these goals are extremely easy, achieving 100% might not reflect the expected results. The goals should always be ambitious but realistic. Setting the correct OKRs is a skill that is enhanced step by step from quarter to quarter. Achieving 70 to 80% of an objective in the given quarter is considered to be the standard. 

#2 Creating too many OKRs per quarter 

Another very common OKR mistake is creating way too many key results and objectives. Consequently, your team members may end up losing their focus by the framework that was rather formed to keep them focused. 

Now, a question might have popped up in your mind – How many OKRs is optimal? In his book ‘Measure What Matters,’ John Doerr recommends having around 3 to 5 key results per objective. Try to use three key results if possible or stretch to 5 results only when there’s no other way. OKRs should always reflect your top priorities. They are in no way meant to replace the to-do lists of your organization. 

#3 Not tracking for progress consistently 

OKRs are a continuous process and not a set-and-forget approach. It is driven by data and is monitored by frequent check-ins, grading of objectives, and regular reassessment. This also makes sure that everyone stays focused. In OKRi, check-ins should be done frequently, that is at least once each week. 

However, weekly updates are known to have worked much better in numerous scenarios. This enables you to fulfill one of the primary purposes of OKR – coordination of your organization and linking of strategy with tactics. As it is said, there is always the need for someone to steer the ship, no matter if it is the crew who is responsible for getting it safely to the harbor. 

#4 Setting top-down OKRs only 

This mistake is mostly committed by the leaders who mistake OKR to be the same as the KPI. OKR was never meant to be an autocratic, top-down framework. OKR should not be used as a system of setting goals behind closed doors. It’s all about people taking part in the process. 

You should always give your teams the freedom of thinking about their OKRs. They should be able to set a minimum of 50% of their OKRs on their own. This allows each individual and team of the organization to notice the real value of their contribution and work. People will get a clear understanding of the goals of the company and how their contribution counts in achieving them. This type of autonomy is proven to be highly fruitful as it increases both motivations as well as accountability. Moreover, it has turned out to be a game-changer for employee engagement

#5 Having unrealistic expectations

As they say, Rome was not built in a day. All good and effective things take time, so do OKRs. The biggest blunder the head of the organization or HR team can commit is to expect instant miracles within a few days or weeks of setting the OKRs. Seeking instant improvements without giving your team members room to work should be avoided at all costs. 

Be patient and give the OKRs the needed time to show their effects. Just with any new process, teams take time to get used to OKRs and implement them. It is said that the results are likely to be visible during the third or the fourth cycle at least. Numerous companies belonging to numerous industries have benefited vastly from OKRs. They all had one thing in common – patience. 

Conclusion 

By avoiding the above-listed mistakes, you can very easily implement OKRs effectively in the long run. These will help in educating you about how to set the right OKRs to take your team and organization to the next level. Always remember that the primary mission of OKRs is to make your organization progress as a unit while giving attention to main priorities and transparent culture. 

For assistance, it is recommended to schedule a demo with the industry stalwarts to provide your organization with the right tactics to avoid such mistakes and implement OKRs in the best possible manner.