Wondering if your company is OKR ready?
Key Results – What Matters And What Doesn’t?
It’s a story at many businesses. The management led by the C-suite decides goals for a year and forgets them until the next annual business meeting.
The problem here is that in the meantime, employees and managers are expected to link their work with the set business goals and measure performance by themselves.
What happens after a year? No one knows clearly what went wrong when business outcomes are not achieved.
The OKR framework, on the other hand, is all about focus, clarity, and tracking of what matters for the business. This framework is simple but challenging to master, especially in a large team.
Let’s look at how to set the right KRs and what you need to remember while creating them.
What are the Key Results?
KRs are incomplete without their Objectives. KRs are directly related to their objectives.
OKRs are a management framework that brings everyone participating on the same page through focus and tracking mechanisms.
In OKRs, Objectives are clearly defined, and specific statements represent what you want to achieve. KRs are measurable benchmarks and outcomes that complete their objective.
Some facts about KRs:
- They are specific. You cannot write vague statements such as getting more landing page conversions.
- They are time-bound. KRs always have deadlines. Usually, the deadlines are for a quarter.
- They must be ambitious yet realistic. Realistic and aggressive goals can boost people’s performance.
- They can be changed mid-cycle. Wrong OKRs are a waste of time and money for an organization.
- Objectives are achieved only when all the associated KRs are fulfilled.
- There can be only 5 or fewer KRs for one objective.
- They are public and transparent in an organization.
- KRs are not related to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
- OKRs don’t guarantee success.
Example of a Marketing OKR (Source: whatmatters.com)
Objective: Grow the number of monthly blog subscribers by 100%
KR1 – Start 2 new campaigns that reward new subscribers
KR2 – Expand reach by distributing the blog to 3 major RSS news aggregators
KR3 – Put CTA on the landing page for uncookied users.
What matters when you create and execute KRs?
OKRs only make sense when they are attached to the business strategic planning and execution plan. You make real progress when you connect OKRs with what matters for the business. Employees refer to OKRs when they need guidance, and their daily actions are the starting points for the right efforts in the right direction. Here are some things you need to remember while creating and implementing KRs:
Outline the right set of objectives
Creating meaningful goals takes much work. You have to give enough thought and discussion to it. If you decide on objectives that are not business-focused, you risk a lot of time, money, and human resources because the associated KRs would not be relevant either.
Organizational OKRs are transparent, and people refer to them to align their work and KRs with them. Developing relevant and business-aligned objectives is the first step toward creating meaningful KRs.
Ensure KRs are measurable
The OKR framework was designed to be very simple. You either achieve a KR or don’t. There is no use of a KR that is partly achieved.
When employees can measure their progress, they are more likely to improve and enhance their productivity.
Common cloud-based platform for OKR management
Small teams may be able to manage OKRs effectively with spreadsheets, but as the individuals grow, it becomes impossible to carry out operations smoothly.
OKR management software is a great tool for managing KRs and doing much more on a single cloud-based platform. You can also manage remote teams better this way.
Making OKRs transparent and public
Organization-wide alignment cannot happen without a transparent platform that displays everyone’s KRs. A junior employee must be able to see the CEO’s OKRs. This visibility facilitates cross-team collaboration, helps break silos, better employee accountability and engagement.
Moreover, transparency allows people to identify any irrelevant KRs.
When a company is new to OKRs, they make mistakes aligning their strategy with them and developing meaningful KRs. Ensure you correct the KRs when you spot the mistakes as soon as possible.
Getting into regular check-ins and discussions
You can only succeed as a team when you monitor your progress on OKRs and implement the changes to improve your situation. Check-ins are regular team meetings that aim to discuss the progress on OKRs and
What doesn’t matter while working with KRs?
People need to be clear on their priorities and how they conduct themselves while working with the OKR framework.
The OKR framework works well with all team sizes. Google is an excellent example of it.
Type of business
Everybody needs goals to operate. Any business can adopt this framework. Even individuals can create OKRs for their personal growth.
Stage of your business
It’s all about aligning your business with OKRs wherever you are in the business journey.
When new to OKRs, it is difficult to align business strategy with them and develop an effective execution plan. You also need to train and prepare OKR champions internally that streamline OKR adoption and ensure successful implementation.
If you need help with the above, you can reach out to us and discuss the process in detail.
1. What are some don’ts while using KRs?
- Create too many OKRs
- Cascade all OKRs from top to bottom.
- Setting too ambitious or unrealistic KRs
- Ignore the wrong KRs.
- Mix BAU with OKRs.
- Make all OKRs committed.
- Assigning KRs to everyone.
2. How to grade OKRs?
You should use a simple method to grade KRs. Use these methods:
- Traffic light – Red for failed, Yellow for partial achievement, and Green for success.
- Binary – 0 for failed and 1 for successful KR.
- Number scale – 0.0 – 1.0. For example, half-achieved KR would be graded 0.5.