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How to Implement OKRs Into Your Goal Setting Strategy

Your organization’s vision is important, but it can be difficult to fulfill when the world is always pulling you away from that higher purpose. The management team has to do everything it can to intentionally move towards that higher purpose by facilitating and inspiring conversations and dialogue. The last thing you want is for you to establish a philosophy and vision, only for it to be ignored.

That’s why goal setting is something that you should never fail to implement in your organization. Goal setting through the use of questions is a great way of generating actionable insights that can help you achieve your organization’s vision. These questions can hone in on the different values and goals that your company and, by extension, your employees want to achieve.

Why Questions Are Useful

Objective-based management was born because of the effectiveness that questions provide. A management process called Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs, was created in the 1970s by a man called Andy Grove, who worked at Intel. This was done in response to three questions that he had: Where do I want to go? Am I making progress?And how will I know if I’m making progress?

The point of these questions is to ask how people focus their time while they work. OKRs effectively break down yearly and quarterly objectives for teams and employees. These objectives and goals are made to reflect not only the company’s mission, vision and values, but those of the employees as well.

The OKR Process

To effectively generate objectives, achieve results and pull insights from the OKR process, here are six easy steps to kick things off:

  1. The company first designates two to five objectives for the year and each quarter.
  2. Each team sets three to five objectives that are in line with the objectives that the leadership assigned for the company.
  3. Employees and managers come together to set up three to five objectives and key results that are aligned with what the team and company’s objectives are.
  4. Both the managers and employees mutually agree that the OKRs are stretch goals that are not easily achievable. Thus, they shouldn’t be tied to annual employee performance reviews.
  5. OKRs are made transparent throughout the company, so that everyone can hold each other accountable. This also gives everyone a sense of the bigger picture.
  6. Employees evaluate their key results at the end of every quarter.

By using OKRs to set goals and objectives for your organization, you can push forward your company’s productivity and sync up your vision, mission and values so that they’re more than just buzzwords. It’s already a popular method among some of the world’s biggest brands, so clearly it’s a strategy that can work for you, too.

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There’s also available OKR software to assist with implementing your goals and objectives. By using OKR software or technology, you can drastically improve your goal setting, tracking and performance. As you look for a program, consider what features it’ll need in order to best integrate into your company and boost your OKR strategy.

Scenario of Implementation: Hardware Chain Franchise

Imagine you’re the CEO of a hardware chain franchise, and you have a few stores that are located throughout the West Coast. As the CEO, you set the following two objectives:

  1. Increase profit by 10%
  2. Increase the amount of franchises by 15%

From this point, set your key results. To define this, you have to answer this question, “How will I know if I’m getting there?” Your key results should determine the progress of the actions that will lead to your objectives.

For your first objective, which is to increase your profits by 10%, your key results should include methods or actionable items that you can keep track of, such as outsourcing your distribution fleets to reduce costs or launching specific campaigns during seasonal holidays to boost revenue.

For your second objective of increasing the amount of franchises by 15%, you can implement key results, such as selecting a specific amount of franchise candidates by February or signing contracts with them by August.

The great thing about OKRs is that you can work down from the higher level objectives so that the entire company can move towards the same goals. Using the key results derived from the original two objectives, you can distribute these down into the lower hierarchical levels to use as objectives.

For example, for the original first objective to increase profits by 10%, one of the key results was outsourcing your distribution fleets to reduce costs. You can revamp this key result into an objective for your sales team. From this, you can break down further key results for this new objective, such as selling your existing distribution fleet before April, or seeking out 5 different outsourced distribution fleets to get quotes from.

Reaching Your Goals Faster

This funnel will help your team become more efficient and productive towards your company’s goals. The strength of OKRs is that they’re transparent and easy to implement, ensuring everyone on the team is fully aware of the expectations on their progress. It’s also easy to track these objectives and key results to fully understand where teams are most effective, and how the company as a whole is progressing.

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.

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Rae SteinbachHow to Implement OKRs Into Your Goal Setting Strategy

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