When getting started with a new project, there is always a question that we seem to hear A LOT.
“What would be our objective?”
“How are we going to achieve it?”
“Do we have all the resources?”
Pondering on these questions can be pretty challenging particularly if you’re unsure if your well-thought objectives are feasible or still on a hanging trail. Ultimately, you’ll need something that will bail you out of overthinking and help you come up with a clear and actionable plan.
Now, let’s cut the chase and get down to the basics.
What is OKR?
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a goal-setting framework used to determine your target goals and set of parameters on how to achieve them. It is used to track your progress either regularly, weekly, or on a monthly basis. As time passes, OKRs will serve as your determiner of whether your objectives are met or not.
As the name suggests, OKRs consist of two (2) important variables: the objectives and the key results.
Putting it simply, objectives are your what (what are the goals you need to achieve) while key results are your how (how you will achieve that).
To get a better understanding, let’s look at this example:
Improve promotional channels to generate more Marketing Qualified Leads
KR1: Increase email marketing MQLs from 100 to 150
KR2: Increase AdWords MQLs from 70 to 100
KR3: Increase organic search MQLs from 45 to 50
(Example from weekdone.com)
OKRs formula can be outlined as: I will ___________ as measured by ____________.
objective key results
There are several ways to set your OKRs in an objective setting, but right now I’ll be sharing with you a secret, so hop on!
Benefits of OKR and why is it a business must-have
Nowadays, in the midst of a pandemic, there is no denying that many businesses’ expected-to-be successful ventures have turned upside down. All sectors of the economy have suffered detrimental effects brought by the increasing concerns on financial fragility, disruptions in the supply chain, and at the same time, government-mandated closures.
However, prior to the onset of this pandemic, there are already reports of business failures mainly due to poor strategic planning. In fact, it is revealed that “on average, 95% of a company’s employees don’t understand its strategy.” This is based on the research conducted by Harvard Business Review, The Office of Strategy Management.
This clearly implies how crucial the planning phase is. Aside from connecting your employees and ensuring that everyone is on the same page, your OKRs will help you promote transparency, collaboration, and productivity across the organization. Since your OKRs are easily accessible, everyone is aware of who is working with what and you can also track their progress.
This will increase communication between the team and ultimately, will result in better collaboration and higher productivity.
Now that you already have an idea, let’s dig further into the how’s of OKR.
How to build OKRs
Maintain Team Autonomy
First off, the thing about setting OKRs is it entails a great value of collaboration and team autonomy. You need to promote group engagement and allow each member to present themselves empowered and goal-driven so you’ll know that everyone is in sync with what you are trying to do. This will enable them to achieve their individual objectives for which they shall be held accountable if not met.
However, it is also important to take note that looking at a bigger picture is sometimes overwhelming. For some employees, getting into the small details may get them worn out so you might need to try energizing them to fuel a higher level of performance. Devise a regular conversation with them and monitor their progress so they will be invested in their performance.
As research has shown, only 26% of employees have a full understanding of how their individual work contributes towards company goals. Hence, overseeing and letting them know the importance of their work would eventually motivate them to continue.
Keep it short but accurate
When brainstorming, it is crucial to know how specific your product OKR needs to be. Keeping it precise and accurate means you’ll know exactly what your expectations will be.
It would be much better rather than creating a lengthy list packed with too many details and information. In time, that will just be an additional reason for the team getting skeptical about doing their duties. Keep it simple that drives impact.
In fact, in research conducted by writing guru Ann Wylie, it was found out that when the sentence is just around 14 words, readers understand 90% of what they’re reading.
Therefore, keeping your objectives as short as possible will more likely lead to a better understanding and ultimately, a better result.
Prioritize what’s important
Ideating an objective built by considering only the key important points helps you get a clearer view of what your team and company should focus on and will let others know what exactly your priorities are.
In any organization, there are a lot of goals that the team needs to achieve, however, not all of that will make it to the top. Eventually, time will require you to arrange them in order and attend to what comes first.
According to Gannon Hall of Blackstar, apparently, a team that spends 70% of their time doing planned work during a cycle is operating well.
Prioritizing usually happens during the planning stage. However, if during that phase you cannot decide what your main priorities are, results might be compromised.
Don’t create too many OKRs at once
Usually, when organizations are starting off with their OKRs, some of the questions that we generally hear are:
“How many OKRs should be set?”
Although being ambitious, especially in a very competitive market, is not far from achieving your goals, sometimes doing it for the sake of “aiming for more” can put you and the team’s plans at risk. Even high-functioning teams, when served with too many dishes on their plate, can throw up.
To eliminate that risk, aim for simple but accurate OKRs. At most, you may consider setting just five (5) objectives with at least three (3) key results each.
With those minimum numbers, your employees would be able to regain their focus and avoid being disoriented on what to do first.
Going far beyond your team’s capability and being unsure if the delivery would be feasible is a threat that any organization would not want to encounter. Don’t go beyond boundaries. Plot a brief but accurate objective.
Keep track of your status
It is important that in the middle of implementation, you still keep track of what you already accomplished and what you still need to accomplish. You need to break everything down into smaller, easier tasks.
Ideally, it can be in the form of a daily checklist you need to, of course, diligently attend to. In that way, you’ll be more likely to be aware of where you are standing in your objectives despite your busy schedules.
Now that we have already identified everything, put these together and you’ll have your OKRs.
Regardless of what your objectives are, it is guaranteed that translating them into reality can be tough and challenging. However, it is always advisable to strike it one at a time, little by little. By taking smaller steps, you’ll get to think more clearly about what your next plans would be and therefore lead you to an effective and flattering outcome.