Wondering if your company is OKR ready?

Wondering if your company is OKR ready?

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OKR vs KPI: Understanding the Key Differences

6 April, 2023
5 mins


When it comes to tracking progress and measuring success, two terms that are often used interchangeably in the business world are OKRs and KPIs. Yes, you also might be familiar with the names of these approaches by now. The comparison of OKR vs KPI is a common debate among business leaders. 

When it comes to OKR vs KPIs important to note that while they serve different purposes, they are not mutually exclusive. Down the line, there have been a lot of discussions on OKR vs KPI, and both of the frameworks somewhat differ in their approach, purpose, and scope. How? Let’s find out below! 

Whether you are a startup or a well-established company, this blog on “OKR vs KPI: Understanding the Difference” will help you gain a better understanding of these important terms. You will also understand how OKR vs KPI plays a distinct role in helping organizations achieve their business objectives.

OKR vs KPI – The meanings

Let us first understand the basics of the OKR vs KPI frameworks for goal-setting and measuring performance in your organization.

OKRs are a goal-setting framework that helps organizations align their goals and objectives with overall business strategy. They consist of two parts: Objectives and Key Results. 

Objectives are specific goals an organization wants to achieve, while Key Results are measurable outcomes indicating progress toward those goals. OKRs are typically set on a quarterly or annual basis, and they help to prioritize and focus efforts across an organization.

For example, an objective could be to increase sales by 20% in the next quarter, and the key results could be to generate 1,000 leads, close 200 deals, and increase the average deal size by 10%.

KPIs are metrics that organizations use to measure the performance of a specific business process or activity. They are often used to track progress toward specific business goals and objectives and can be used to identify areas for improvement. 

KPIs can be quantitative or qualitative, and they are usually set on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. They provide a clear and objective measurement of performance and help businesses identify trends and patterns.

For example, a KPI for a sales team could be the number of deals closed in a given period, the conversion rate of leads to deals, or the average deal size.

OKRs vs KPI – The distinction 

As OKR vs KPI has been a huge discussion in the business world, let us look at how they are distinct from one another. 

  • Focus

The primary focus of OKRs is to set and achieve ambitious goals that drive the organization forward. OKRs are designed to inspire and motivate employees to strive for excellence and achieve their full potential.

The primary focus of KPIs is to measure and track specific operational metrics and evaluate performance against established benchmarks. KPIs are designed to identify areas of improvement and measure progress toward achieving specific outcomes.

  • Scope

OKRs are broad in scope and focus on achieving long-term goals that align with the organization’s overall strategy. OKRs are often set at the company level but can also be set at the department or team level.

KPIs are narrower in scope and focus on specific operational metrics that are critical for driving business success. KPIs are often set at the department or team level but can also be set at the company level.

  • Timeframe

OKRs are set for a specific time period, usually a quarter or a year. They are designed to be ambitious and challenging, pushing employees to go beyond their comfort zones.

KPIs are often tracked continuously and evaluated regularly to ensure the organization is on track to achieve its objectives.

  • Alignment with Company Goals

KPIs are typically used to measure performance concerning company goals, while OKRs align individual and team goals with overall business objectives. 

OKRs ensure that everyone in the organization works towards the same strategic objectives, creating a sense of unity and shared purpose.

  • Flexibility and Adaptability

This difference is very important in the debate of OKR vs KPI. While KPIs tend to be more static and set in stone, OKRs are designed to be flexible and adaptable. 

As businesses grow and evolve, objectives and key results may need to be adjusted to reflect changing circumstances. The flexibility of OKRs allows organizations to pivot and adjust goals as necessary, keeping everyone aligned and on track. 

  • Collaboration and Transparency

OKRs emphasize collaboration and transparency, as individuals and teams share their objectives and key results with others in the organization. 

This encourages communication and teamwork, as everyone works towards common goals. On the other hand, KPIs can sometimes create silos and a sense of competition between departments.

OKR vs KPI – The use 

Now that you have understood the difference between OKR vs KPI, let us understand how these are used: 

OKRs are most effective when an organization needs to align its goals and objectives with its overall business strategy. 

They are particularly useful for organizations that are experiencing rapid growth or significant changes, as they help to prioritize and focus efforts across the organization. OKRs also foster a culture of transparency and accountability, as progress toward goals is openly tracked and shared.

KPIs are most effective when an organization needs to track progress toward specific business goals and objectives. 

They are particularly useful for measuring the performance of individual processes or activities and identifying improvement areas. 

KPIs can also be used to track progress towards overall business objectives, but they are not as effective as OKRs in aligning goals and objectives with overall business strategy.

OKR vs KPI – The examples 

Let’s look at some examples to understand the differences between OKR vs KPI better.

Example of OKRs:

Objective: Increase revenue by 20% over the next year

Key Results:

  • Launch two new products
  • Increase customer retention rate by 10%
  • Expand the sales team by hiring five new sales representatives
  • Example of KPIs:

Example of KPIs:

Objective: Improve customer satisfaction


  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer satisfaction rating
  • Customer retention rate

In this example, the Objective is the same for both OKR vs KPI, but the Key Results and KPIs are different. The OKR focus on specific outcomes that will help to achieve the overall objective, while the KPIs measure progress toward the objective.

To get more insights into this and seek proficient guidance about OKR vs KPI, book a free consultation call with the experts today!