OKR simply stands for, ‘Objectives and Key Results’, and is a collaborative goal setting tool. When you Google OKR you may find a long list of various charts and bubble graphs that try to simplify the complexities of this framework. No need for that- we are here to break it down for you! Read on to learn more and find some OKR examples and metrics to track its success.
What is OKR? OKR is an acronym for the OKR metric, which stands for Objective and Key Results. This metric outlines results one would take an aggressive approach to achieve, as well as the steps you would benchmark and check off as you go. The best way to understand this acronym is to break it down into its components.
Objective: The objective is simple- what are you trying to achieve or accomplish? For example, in a corporate environment, you may be seeking to elevate your position and get a promotion. This would be a good concrete objective that you can work towards and someday obtain. However, it is important to be realistic about your objective. If you are looking to move from an entry level position to the CEO in a year's time, it may be smarter to think a little smaller, and reach for a more attainable goal.
Key Results: This is how we benchmark and monitor the progress to get to your objective. The best way to achieve this is by setting realistic results. You want these results to be measurable, so you can easily know if you have achieved them. Eliminate the possibility of questioning if these results have been met. There should not be room for a ‘maybe’ or an ‘I’m not sure’. The answer needs to be either yes or no. These key results are the puzzle pieces to achieving your main objective. Once all the pieces are fit into the puzzle, you essentially have reached your goal and completed your objective.
What is the difference between OKR vs KPI?
If you are trying to understand the difference between choosing to follow a KPI or an OKR it is important to define the intention behind the goal you are setting out to achieve. For a KPI, the goal is usually easily obtainable and the project is already in place and you are tracking its progress. For OKR, the approach is more aggressive and ambitious. It can still be obtained, but the journey may be a little bit more difficult.
The best way to understand OKRs is to truly see it at work. It may be a little daunting to start thinking how to write an OKR, but the best way to start is by creating an objective and the subsequent key results. You want to take the process slowly and be sure you are setting goals you know you can one day reach. As a team, you are going to be tracking your progress, so have a space where everyone can collaborate to track the success, or possible stagnant growth, of your objective.
For example, you are a CEO of a major company that sells canned energy drinks. This brand of drinks has slowly gained a lot of traction via celebrities, influencers and general consumers. You want the brand to become worldwide, so, the first step is to set your main goal, or objective.
Objective: Create a worldwide brand
As you can see, the objective isn’t 100% concrete. You will be able to reach it, but it is going to need to be followed up by an aggressive and ambitious approach. Now that you have your objective in place, think of a few measurable key results you can track as this process goes along.
1. Obtain license to manufacture and sell product outside of the USA
2. Onboard 30 influencers around the world to promote the drink via Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, etc.
3. Have over 5 million cans sold at the end of 2021
These three key results are easily obtainable. They most likely will not be checked off overnight, as they are a work in progress and meant to be steadily tracked and adjusted. Let’s say you end up onboarding 20 influencers, but their follower count and virality is astronomical. If this better fits your main goal and will get you to completing your objective quicker, go for it!
Once you are able to check off the boxes alongside your key results, take a step back and look at your objective. “Is this complete?” If the answer is yes, you have successfully conquered your proposed OKR. If not, it may be essential to draft a new OKR and take a different approach when listing out your key results. Maybe some weren’t obtainable or were outright the wrong motive. Be sure to set realistic expectations for your company, but also put pressure on the process to get there, so you can check off the OKR as a whole success.
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