No matter how big or small your corporation is, or how big or small your goals are for the coming year, there is no doubt that you and your employees will benefit from your decision to depend on OKRs – otherwise known was objectives and key results – to achieve those goals.
OKRs have been utilized by some of the most successful and impactful companies in the world. In fact, arguably the most famous story about OKRs is that of John Doerr introducing the professional and personal philosophy to Google’s founders back in 1999.
From there, the fledgling company was able to set lofty, yet achievable goals while also establishing clear key results in order to guide themselves on that path.
There are countless incredible stories of how OKRs helped companies achieve newfound heights, but we’re not here for story time. Instead, we are here to break down why and how OKRs can help your company get to the next level. Visit profit.co to learn more about OKR.
Admittedly, this does not mean that you are bound to become the next Google or Apple, but you will surely benefit from this fascinating philosophy.
What is an OKR
Before we go into how OKRs can help your company, let’s quickly take some time to just clarify what OKRs truly are. The entire philosophy is made up of two parts that interact and depend on one another.
The Objectives and the Key Results.
An Objective is simply what you want to achieve. It’s that simply. These objectives are significant, concrete and action oriented. They are ideally inspirational and are meant to help you and everyone you are working with remember what the ultimate goal is for the moment. It can be as big or as small as you want it to be.
The Key Results are the benchmarks that allow you to monitor and analyze who you will get to that ultimate objective. The most effective Key Results will be highly specific, time-bound, aggressive but also realistic. Most importantly, every Key Result has to be measurable and verifiable. It should be an objective fact, not subjective to you or anyone else working on the project. Your ability to verify whether or not you have either met a Key Result or not will help you precisely monitor how close – or how far – you are to reaching your ultimate objective.
How OKRs can help you set your company on the right track
Now that we have a basic understanding of what ORKs actually are, let’s get right into how exactly they help companies of all shapes and sizes meet their goals. The truth is that the reason why ORKs work is just as simple as OKRs themselves.
They help you articulate your goals
The very first step of utilizing OKRs is to define your company-wide objections. The truth here is that the more audacious, the better. Of course, you don’t want to choose something altogether unrealistic, but reaching for the stars here is the goal.
An Objective is simply what is to be accomplished by you and your team. It should be a one-line statement that is meaningful and easy to understand. Moreover, it should be able to inspire and get people excited about the future.
One you have defined your objective, you are going to want to think of 3-5 Key Results that will allow you to best chart your path to accomplishing that overall objective.
For example, if your Objective is to “Improve traffic to our website by 20 percent by the next quarter,” then a perfect Key Result for that Objective would be to “increase activity on social media posts each week over the next four weeks.”
Now, you will be able to work your way towards that bold objective through trackable key results. You and your team can get to work almost immediately.
They help you track and measure progress
Sometimes, the hardest part about running a company is being able to actually tell how far along you and your team are to accomplish meaningful goals that actually make the company improve overtime. Getting slogged down by the day-to-day can be one of the biggest killers of upward momentum.
That is why the simplicity or OKRs is so important. It doesn’t make you work hard to figure out how far along you are to accomplish your goals. Record how you are doing towards your Key Results. There are a lot of tools that can help you do this and there are even some programs that you can utilize online specifically geared towards those utilizing OKRs.
With that being said, some of the most common techniques people depend on is to hold weekly or monthly all-office WINS meetings, where people can discuss where they are along the OKRs and give props to fellow team members who they see as playing a valuable role in getting to that ultimate objective.
One of the best side benefits of OKRs is that it can go a long way in helping your employees feel like they are truly part of a team. This can have major positive impacts on company culture and morale overall.
They help you reassess and reevaluate
One of the worst aspects of getting bogged down in the day-to-day slog is that you can often lose sight of what really matters for you and your company. You can spend so much time trying to accomplish a certain goal that you don’t take the time necessary to make sure that the goal is really worth achieving in the first place!
Utilizing OKRs allows you to look at your company and the direction of your company with a fresh set of eyes. This is only going to help you feel better about the path you are currently on, or better about making the brave, but sometimes necessary to change paths completely. Beyond that, having everyone on board with that new shift will make implementation and ultimate success that much easier to achieve!