OKRs are now being used by companies both big and small precisely because of how effective they are in motivating teams and allowing them to achieve reasonable and realistic goals. Hence, here’s how to set OKRs to keep your goals and track.
What Are OKRs?
OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. Originally, the concept of OKRs was created by Andy Grove back in the 1970s while he was working for Intel. More and more companies now are using OKRs to follow their own strategies (e.g. Google and Netflix both use OKRs). One of the best things about OKRs is that they are a collaborative tool meaning that nobody is left out and they can be used very effectively by teams of all kinds just like by individuals.
One thing OKRs are known for is allowing teams to have realistic and achievable goals while also making these goals ambitious. This means that outstanding results can still be achieved even though the goals you set for your team with the help of OKRs will still be very realistic and will correspond to the strengths and weaknesses of the said team. OKRs are broken down into two parts which work together and separately:
- Objectives: This is the outcome you want to achieve which is a qualitative statement that gives you an idea of what you are reaching for.
- Key Results: This is the way you will be measuring the outcome which means you will be using quantitative tools for it.
Why Are OKRs Useful?
So, why exactly are OKRs so useful? Why can’t you just use the good old method of setting goals and aims and working towards them? Well, there are several reasons why OKRs are highly preferred in some of the biggest companies worldwide just as much as they are becoming common among smaller businesses:
- They allow teams to be more effective when setting goals as well as helping them be clear about what they want and how they will measure what they want.
- They can empower teams and encourage team members to be more engaged in the process of goal setting and then goal achievement.
- They help teams measure performance more accurately by using clear objectives and how closely these goals are met.
- They allow team managers and team members to find a better understanding and have more trust between them because of the transparency that they create.
#1 Define Your Objectives
First and foremost, you will need to focus on the first part of OKRs – the objectives. Defining your objectives can be challenging if you are used to setting goals a certain way and aren’t used to approaching the matter from a slightly different perspective. But once you have some practice and get the hang of it, you will be able to define your objectives within OKRs much faster and easier.
The most important thing to remember about objectives is that you shouldn’t jump to quantitative methods just yet. This is kind of the image you have in your head for what you want to achieve – you aren’t obliged to know the details of what it will be like just yet because that happens at the next stage of OKRs. Your main goal while setting objectives should be to make them as clear as possible. Don’t use obscure terms and instead focus on transparency and clarity so that all of your team members understand the objectives you set.
#2 Set Your Key Results
Second of all, you will need to set your key results which are the second part of OKRs. Setting your key results can be even harder than defining your objectives, but once again, with a little practice and a little patience, you will be able to get the hang of the way you should be setting your key results. In the beginning, you can hire a professional from one of the top paper writing services to write out your objectives and key results for you or you can opt to do it yourself if you feel confident in your abilities.
One crucial thing to remember when setting your key results is that this is the stage when you switch from qualitative tools to quantitative ones, so you need to be more precise and concrete when setting your key results. This is not just the outcome you want – this is also the way you will be measuring it. So, in other words, key results are the precise measurements you want to see at the end of the journey as you reach the objectives you have defined beforehand.
#3 Determine Your Budget
After you have defined your objectives and set your key results, you have pretty much finished the foundation of your OKRs, but not everything is done just yet. In fact, this is only the beginning because now you will have to focus on more complicated matters that come along with your OKRs. One of these is your budget which you need to determine right after working with your OKRs because it is directly related to them.
If you have a limited budget, you will need to work your way around and find new approaches to reach the exact objectives and key results you have set for your team. But if you have a bigger budget, you will probably be able to be more generous with it. Still, you need to be careful with the way you spend it. Saving where you can will allow you to invest in problematic parts of your processes later on. If you encounter an issue, those savings can help you get out of the difficult situation.
#4 Create A Workable Plan
Even after you have your OKRs ready and your budget is all planned out, there is still one more thing you need to think about before getting into action – your strategy. Creating a workable plan will allow you to have a better idea of what you are setting out to do, how you will be doing it, how much it will take approximately, and so on. If you don’t have a good strategy, you might fail at the very fast task you start doing just because you will have no idea about what you should actually do.
The problem with having a plan, however, is that you will sometimes need to disregard it. You shouldn’t just stick to it all the time because that will prevent you from taking the opportunities that come up on your way. Moreover, there will be many unexpected situations that you will find yourself in, so you and your team will need to be flexible to be able to solve those issues successfully.
#5 Take One Step at A Time
Once you are all set and ready, you can start pursuing your OKRs by using the budget you have planned and following the strategy you created for yourself and your team. However, you still need to remember that you should be taking one step at a time instead of trying to leap over your head and do everything all at once. It’s simply impossible to achieve all of your goals immediately.
For example, one of your OKRs might be to increase your customer trust. In your plan, you decided to do this by using more testimonials and customer reviews in your marketing. You can now create a reviews page on your website where you place the testimonials you find. Later on, you can start using testimonials on social media as well as placing them on landing pages. You shouldn’t do all of this at once because it will be difficult to manage, but you should definitely start with something small and move on to more complicated things later.
#6 Meet Your OKRs and Set New Ones
If you have done everything the way you wanted to and dealt with unexpected situations appropriately, you will probably meet your OKRs and achieve all the goals you set. Use the key results to measure how precisely you have achieved the outcome you wanted to have and assess whether or not your overall strategy was successful.
Take note of all the mistakes you made and learn from them to avoid them in the future. If you had unexpected expenses, take them into account the next time you determine your budget and plan it out. In other words, make sure that everything you have done serves some kind of purpose for your future strategies.
After you are ready, start setting new OKRs for yourself and your team. With the knowledge about OKRs you now have, it will be easier for you and your team to work with them which means OKRs might become even more helpful and effective for your company. OKR software can help your team track and measure their goals.
To sum up, OKRs can definitely be very helpful when they are used correctly. Make sure to use this guide to create your own strategy by setting OKRs for your team and teaching others how to stick to the path they have defined for themselves or that you have defined for them.