A Guide to OKRs: Definition, Tips and Examples

“OKR” stands for “Objectives and Key Results.” OKRs are an effective goal-setting and leadership tool for communicating what you want to accomplish and what milestones you’ll need to meet in order to accomplish it. OKRs are used by some of the world’s leading organizations to set and enact their strategies. In this article we’ll define an OKR, look at how they’re used and provide some examples of OKRs.

What are OKRs? Easy Explanation And Practical Examples Of Objectives And Key Results

What to include in OKRs

OKRs should include the following elements:

What are OKRs?

OKRs, an abbreviation for objectives and key results, are tools used by companies to set goals and create steps to reach those goals. Owners or managers choose several main objectives to focus on, generally per month or per quarter, and identify the key steps in achieving each objective. Therefore, in order to reach an objective, the company needs to succeed in meeting the key results defined as necessary for that objective.

For instance, a marketing company may set an objective as increasing web traffic by 25%. The key results necessary to reach this goal could be 30% more social media mentions of the company by influencers, 40% more posts on company social media accounts and updating three banner ads.

OKRs help businesses evaluate their performance and strategies over a set period of time. This data provides a snapshot of how successfully an organization meets expectations and allows them to adjust as needed.

Examples of OKRs

Here are a few examples of using OKRs:

Example 1

Howard Flooring sells and installs flooring, including carpet, tile and hardwood. In quarter one, the company sets the following objective: boost sales of all flooring types.

To meet this objective, the company sets the following key results:

Each flooring department creates initiatives to reach these key results. They include:

After the first quarter, the company compares its sales figures and determines carpet sales increased by 8%, tile sales by 6% and hardwood sales by 11%. After analysis, the company maintains its objective and key results for quarter two.

Example 2

Mias Boutique is a specialty clothing and gifts store in a busy downtown neighborhood. The company sets the following objective for the month: increase foot traffic by 20%.

To meet this goal, the company outlines the following key results:

After one month, the company evaluates its key results and determines foot traffic increased by 8%. The company adjusts its objective for the following month to increase foot traffic by 15%.

Tips for using OKRs

Here are several tips for using OKRs in your business:

Spend time developing your objectives

The objectives you choose for OKRs reveal the companys priorities and what the entire organization is focusing on. Take time to research what goals could have the greatest impact.

Get feedback from employees at all levels

Managers and business owners benefit from the honest feedback of those tasked with completing the work to reach a companys objectives. Employees can explain the feasibility of certain initiatives or suggest other ways to reach key results from their firsthand experience.

Adjust quickly and appropriately

Using OKRs allows businesses to evaluate their performance and adjust their methods quickly, often on a monthly or quarterly basis. With the simple nature of OKRs, companies can easily create new objectives or modify key results in a short amount of time.

Develop company-wide support

Encourage everyone in your organization to support the OKR model. Discuss how important it is for everyone to become invested and engaged in meeting their goals in order to experience company-wide success.

Implement OKRs in the best way for your business

Some businesses use OKRs annually, and others use them for each quarter. OKRs are meant to be flexible and adaptable to your needs. Your team may thrive on the regular motivation of monthly OKRs, or you may have processes that align better with quarterly or yearly OKRs. Experiment with what works best for your organization.

Frequently asked questions about OKRs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about OKRs:

What if a company doesnt reach its OKRs?

OKRs are meant to be challenging goals, so its okay if your team doesnt reach its OKRs for a month or quarter. Reaching 80% or more of your goal is successful. If your company reaches 50% or less of the key results, reevaluate your objectives and key results to create some that are more attainable.

What if a company surpasses its OKRs by a significant amount?

If the company surpasses its OKRs by a great deal, celebrate the success. Your next set of OKRs, though, should be more challenging. OKRs should be possible, but ambitious.

Are OKRs only for upper-level management?

No, OKRs are for all employees. Part of the purpose of OKRs is to have simple, clearly defined goals that can be shared company-wide. OKRs provide all team members with the same objectives, creating a cohesive, goal-oriented environment.

FAQ

What are examples of OKRs?

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a powerful goal-setting methodology that drives alignment, performance, and results in growing and high-performing companies. At the most basic level, an OKR is a simple tool to align and engage everyone at the company around measurable goals.

What are OKRs stand for?

The OKR process helps turn good ideas into great execution. They tighten employee engagement and drive high performing teams. Those who have adopted OKRs include companies like Allbirds, Google, Netflix, and more.

What is the difference between OKRs and KPIs?

OKR Grading

To calculate a score, you have to divide the target set by the final result. Using the example above, if your team’s KR was to “get 100 customers” but they only got 50, their final score would be 0.5, but if they got 20, the score would be 0.2. Having this score we can assign a grade to the Key Result.

What are OKRs designed to do?

There are two types of OKRs goal: committed OKRs and aspirational OKRs. Both committed and aspirational OKRs define different purposes and have separate methods to achieve them. If you are someone new to OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), this information can be overwhelming.

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