Objectives and Key Results is a goal-based system and planning tool that helps companies and individuals to measure their achievements. It is thought that frequently setting, tracking, and evaluating OKRs can create alignment and engagement around measurable goals.
However, if you are new to the OKR framework it can be difficult to know how to use this system to define your goals in a way that makes them measurable. So, let us discover 3 easy steps that can help you to get started with OKRs.
3 Easy Steps to Get Started
Set Your Objectives
One of the most important things to remember about OKR structure is that it is remarkably simple and streamlined. So, in order to begin embracing an OKR framework in your workplace, start by setting your first objectives. Try to think of your objectives as a memorable, qualitative description of exactly what you want to achieve. Aim to define 3-5 objectives for your company, your team, or yourself that you hope to achieve in a given period of time. To ensure that they are taken on board, your objectives should be short and inspirational, while at the same time engaging, motivational, and challenging.
Not sure where to begin? It might be useful to take some time to consider the type of change that you want to see before attempting to put this into words. Moreover, action verbs like collect, implement, and orchestrate can be used to describe what you hope to achieve. Ideally, when writing your objectives, you should not need to stop for breath when reading them out loud. Your objectives should also fit the culture of your organization. So, if informal language or internal jokes are the norm in your workplace, these can be incorporated into your objectives. If you would like help and support establishing your objectives, then OKR tracking software and other OKR tools can be incredibly useful.
Define Measurable Key Results
Under each objective, set 3-4 key results. Put simply, key results are a set of metrics that can be used to measure progress towards an objective. Your key results should show the most important things that you will be doing within a set period of time, as opposed to smaller everyday tasks. A benefit of using key results is that using quantitative measures and numerical data allows you to keep track of progress by regularly reviewing how many of your results have been achieved. Used correctly, key results can make your workload seem clearer and easier to manage.
Key results should be based on growth, performance, revenue, and engagement. If it helps you to reach a state of clarity, objectives can be thought of as your overarching goals, whereas your key results are a measure of whether these goals have been achieved. In essence, goals should be reached by completing workplace tasks and initiatives. For instance, if your objective is to increase profits by 5 percent, some key results might include sourcing 5 new customers a week or launching a new campaign to increase profits from the previous quarter.
Update and Review Your OKRs
Although as a general rule your OKRs should be set for quarterly or annual periods, it is still crucial to go over your OKRs on a weekly basis. Checking in with your OKRs can help everyone to stay on track with their goals, while providing opportunities for feedback as and when necessary. At the end of the quarter or year, it is then time to look back to review which OKRs were accomplished and which are still a work in progress. After your first quarter and even up to your first year, it can be incredibly helpful to see what everyone did well and what can be improved.
From this point, everyone in your team can start to plan their next OKRs. Throughout the entire OKR process, communication is key. There needs to be an understanding at a company level that any tasks being carried out are to be completed with the purpose of achieving team goals. Employee engagement is a vital component if your OKR system is to be successful and so regular meetings and follow up sessions dedicated to discussing goals should be scheduled. Furthermore, OKRs can be integrated into any existing coaching or mentoring schemes in place to ensure that everyone understands the importance of their role and is committed to working towards common goals.
Ultimately, as with any workplace culture transformation, adopting to an OKR system is not going to happen overnight. However, by setting, reviewing, and accomplishing goals, you can ensure that everyone on your team is headed in the same overall direction.
Investing in an OKR system can help your business go from strength to strength. For more ways to help your company to succeed, check out this article for tips on handling company growth effectively.