What’s the recipe for a great OKR?

by Roger Longden | Aug 14, 2020

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So, you know what OKRs are and you’re ready to start your first set for your business. Fantastic news! But, how do you know if you’re writing good objectives and measuring worthwhile key results? How do you know if you have struck the right balance when it comes to challenging your teams? Are you risking burnout with the level of stretch you have applied?

We get asked about this a lot when working with clients, especially when they are at the start of their OKR journey. Today, we’ll share our thoughts and offer tips to help you create great OKRs.

First and maybe foremost, your key results (KR) should be quantifiable. If you don’t have a measure in place then you should set your first key results around creating this measure. This is the only way you can create a baseline and therefore measure your development. If you don’t create this baseline measure, how do you know what you’ve achieved, and how do you motivate your teams to do more, if they can’t see the impact.

We’ve spoken about the ‘KR’ of OKRs, now I want to talk the ‘O’. When it comes to objectives we always encourage clients to set objectives that focus on growth. This can be growth for an individual employee, one of your teams or the business as a whole.

There Be Giants Founder Roger Longden states “If your objective isn’t focused on growth, then why is it in your focus? Ok, I agree there are some key “health” metrics you should track, such as those around cashflow. However, if your average aged debtor days are pretty low, then just keep this on your key metrics dashboard to make sure it doesn’t creep up. If it does, then sure, build an OKR to get it back down.”

Want your OKR to be focused on growth? Here’s a couple of checks for you:

  • To do something new
  • To do something differently
  • To do significantly more than has been done before

To do something new is to drive your business in a new direction, to innovate and work in a way which is new to you and your business. To do something differently is very similar, but you may already be working on the project and you simply need a new plan of attack.

If you set your OKRs around the above checks we can confidently say that you’ll be heading in the right direction. OKRs are there to help you focus your limited and precious time and resources on what will really help your business grow.

Learn more about OKRs will our curated collection of guides and tools.