OKRs are important for a business to achieve the objectives they desire to achieve within a particular time-frame. OKR is a robust methodology that enables the business to gauge its performance periodically and stay in line with its overall business objectives.
This article deals with frequently asked questions related to the following broader features of OKR:
Businesses need to set up aspirational Objectives for what they strive to achieve on a yearly basis as it helps them form a clear picture of what they want to accomplish in the long term and define actionable quarterly Key Results/Goals to emphatically achieve them. For instance – an e-commerce company wants to increase its sales by 40% this Diwali as compared to the previous year or an educational YouTube channel wants to grow its subscriber base by 20% by the next quarter. Keeping organizational objectives in place aids the business to formulate necessary action steps for its employees in order to achieve those objectives.
OKR or Objective and Key Results is a popular leadership technique that helps organizations set, communicate, and track their goals.
It is a holistic approach towards the management of goals and performance levels of employees at every level of the enterprise. It helps in creating better alignment and engagement around measurable goals, which is usually set every quarter.
Basically, OKR is composed of two components:
Objective; which is qualitative and defines what one wants to achieve
Key results; which are quantitative and define how you will measure progress towards the objective
OKRs provides useful insights about what needs to be achieved and what’s happening within the organization towards those outcomes. It helps to track employee performance on a consistent basis and ultimately helps them stay aligned with the business goals. In other words, OKRs facilitate increased visibility of business goals.
With OKRs each employee is aware of what needs to be accomplished every week/month/quarter. Keeping the final objective in mind, each employee is inspired to work towards it and plan the work accordingly.
With clear priorities set-up, each employee aligns well to the company purpose and is more engaged and feels that their contribution matters thus resulting in proactive action and productive employees.
OKR allows you to make data-driven and informed decisions as the results are measurable and can be tracked frequently. Such progress also triggers on-going conversations facilitating timely course corrections and realignment.
OKR helps the team to line-up their objectives in sync with the organizational objectives thus eventually helping them to be more focused, aligned, and organized to drive the organization forward.
As you begin setting up OKRs, start by defining 3-5 key business objectives that you want to achieve during a specified time period. The objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound. These objectives help in designing actionable SMART Goals that help the business achieve desired outcomes.
Specify 3-4 key results under each objective. Remember key results are the primary activities that need to be accomplished to attain an objective.
OKR framework allows identification and documentation of activities that employees need to take to accomplish on a weekly and monthly basis to stay in-line with the overall business objectives.
It’s best to view Key Results at the end of the month or a quarter, you can review the OKRs to see for yourself how much have you accomplished and what you can improve on.
Objectives are ideally set for a year and should be reviewed on a yearly basis. Key Results being monthly/quarterly in nature should be reviewed and updated appropriately. The advantage of setting shorter Key Results enable businesses to adjust quickly in line with business requirement.
You should strive to set-up the OKR which isn’t overwhelming that burns-out the employees or shouldn’t be so simple that it doesn’t take much effort to achieve it.
Make sure you skim through the progress of OKR every week, so you do not forget an OKR that was setup. Creating a weekly ritual can help your team ensure you are on track.
Having too many OKR can cause chaos within the teams because the focus is diverted towards many different activities. So, it is mandatory to prioritize 3-4 primary OKR that needs to be accomplished within a quarter or a year.
Failing to keep the bigger picture in mind leads to improper utilization of the resources. It is essential to have clear communication with the team leads to the role they play in a larger scheme of things and eventually the employees will understand how their tasks help achieve the team goals.
OKRs are meant to set an organization in the right direction towards the attainment of their goals. If the OKRs are set effectively, it is easier to measure the performance of the organization along with that of its employees.