Well well, Googles’s 10X growth may strike us all with awe. Amazon, Apple, Intel, Linkedin, Huawei and many are blustering with humongous growth in a short period of time but let’s get behind the scenes of these corporate giants – the winning strategy of these companies lies big in the part of execution than just coming up with the great ideas. Ideas are great, but success is determined by how well the ideas are executed. Action is the key, not any action yields results, prioritizing the most pressing and eliminating the unwanted is pivotal.
For leaders and entrepreneurs, a framework that helps transform your approach from setting goals to creating a dedicated, inspiration-driven work environment, where you have the room to aim for the impossible would be life-changing. OKR is such one (or the one) – a simple goal-setting system but with a lot more meaning.
Okay! what does OKR do? Simply, it aligns the organization’s goals from top-level to individuals, motivates high performance, then measures its progress and allows feedback & improvement – all that with crystal clear transparency across the setting.
Objectives and Key results:
Objectives are “Where you want to go” and Key results are “How are you planning to go there?”. Key results are usually two or more and they are measurable – like you can tell whether you did it or not. Finally, completing all the key results means your Objective is done. If not, you missed the point. That cannot be an OKR.
And yet, Objectives cannot be two things: underplaying; when individuals did not set ambitious enough goals for themselves and bosses using objectives as a means of putting pressure on the team members. In the OKR game, there are no Bosses. Leaders and entrepreneurs turn into coaches, mentors, guides, and colleagues or friends, after all, they are all working towards one common goal.
Why is it any different?
- First, you set your own objectives, whether you are a CEO or L1 associate. You will know “what” and “How” unlike the old methods.
- Second, It is not a metric that is measured for your performance appraisal. Hmm – yes!
- Transparent and public (usually posted or displayed at your desk or on the board), promotes cross-functional and tracks monthly, quarterly or half-yearly.
- Last, but not least, OKR objectives are inspiration driven – which means who doesn’t want to be a part of something audaciously big and daring that makes history.
If you don’t know where you are going, you probably might not get there – Yogi Berra
- Focus: OKR impels leaders to find out what is most pressing that must be addressed immediately or the most important items that would make a real difference in changing our lives for better. Equally, checking off the unimportant, less-value items from the priority is crucial.
- Align goals: With transparency at its core, OKR aligns goals from CEO down or horizontal or somewhat bottom-up. Here you cannot let people put their efforts on wrong things or – on the same things (redundancy – killer of time and money). Goals are public and visible to all, promotes progress and collaboration.
- More importantly, as humans, we crave emotional validation and belongingness to put our fullest into action. Linking your goals with the leaders you believe in gives a sense of importance and inspiration.
- Track Progress: OKR demands a mindset shift from “Set them, Forget them” to “Set them, Track them” your goals and its progress. It facilitates frequent informal check-in meetings that champion attentive conversation, constructive feedback, and recognition. In OKR you will not wait till annual review to address if your goals are not coming through as expected. The check-in advocates any change of direction, modification or even re-writing the goal itself if required.
- Reach full potential: If your goals are set to improve by 10 percent, then you are probably doing the same thing. you might not fail, but grand success is far-off. OKR encourages setting high-risk goals and attaining one’s full potential. It understands what it means to motivate people and have them mission-inspired because pursuing high-risk goals demands high commitment from your employees.
All that said, OKR is powerful and healthy only if you can use common sense, the trait that only humans possess. Strong leadership, sound judgment, profound decision-making skills, work ethics, creative workplace culture and such are not replaceable by any tool, and success is majorly driven by the above mentioned.