How to write a good objective for your OKRs

by Alessia Ghiandoni | May 23, 2022

time icon 4 mins

When it comes to knowing how to write a good OKR objective, it’s wise to acknowledge that it’s not as easy as it sounds, a common mistake is that people assume the process is a “piece of cake” and this common misconception causes many to fall at the first hurdle. However, if you grasp the concept of how to write a good OKR objective,  you’ll soon see that the sky really is the limit and that there is no end to where your business could go. 

We always echo the same sentiment in our blogs, which is; that, OKRs remain a powerful and resourceful tool that drives clarity and focus, enabling teams to be aligned and to plan their objectives strategically. Once you know how to write a good OKR objective, successfully, you can begin implementing them within your business. Focusing on core,  priority projects which will help to fuel your business growth and meet your goals, can only happen once you establish how to write a good OKR objective.

How do you make sure you’re writing effective OKRs?

Not wanting to state the blindingly obvious, it’s clear that OKRs are written in two parts: objectives and key results. Realising this is the first step in learning how to write a good OKR objective.

The “KR” (key result) should be quantifiable. If there is no measure in place yet, then perhaps your first KR should be to create one. Doing so will establish a baseline from which you can measure progress. Objectives, on the other hand, refer to qualitative goals that are broad in their perspective and innovative in their nature.

 

So, here is the answer to the million-dollar question we often receive… “How do you write a good OKR objective?”

How to write a good OKR objective and know it’s effective

Think of your objectives as condensed mission statements about something you want to achieve in the future. Keep in mind that a compelling objective doesn’t just state what you want to achieve, but also why it’s so important to you. Use phrases like “which will” so that your team knows what the goal aims to achieve. Having real and well-aligned expectations will help you understand how to write a good OKR objective.

Give your team members an insight into the reasoning behind their goals and what’s in it for them. Your objectives should inspire your team members to smash their goals, keeping them motivated throughout the cycle. This allows your team to visualise why they need to push themselves to fulfil (or surpass!) their OKRs. To make it even more compelling, try to write it as if you have already achieved it, using phrases like “we now are…”, and “we smashed it”.

When figuring out how to write a good OKR objective, don’t overwhelm, or confuse your team 

Set your team too many OKRs and they will struggle to stay organised, focused, motivated and get their priorities in line. Your team can get bogged down trying to do too many things at once which will severely impact team happiness and productivity. 

If the challenge is right, three should be enough (so three objectives to set initially). In addition to that, avoid using metrics at all costs; objectives are 100% qualitative, so it’s best to leave the metrics to the key results.

We’ve shared an example below to guide you in the right direction when it comes to how to write a good OKR objective:

“We’ve increased revenue so that we are now able to invest in developing new products”.

If you’re still not 100% sure how to write a good OKR objective, if you’re struggling to establish whether it’s an inspirational objective for your team,  our team at There Be Giants are happy to help. We can suggest all kinds of measures such as that you do an “Alien Test”. 

Our head Giant, coined this idiom to explain how simple an objective should be written, so that if an alien reads it, they should be able to understand. Don’t get lost in using big and sophisticated words, if then your team can’t catch the deeper meaning of the objective. 

Here there are some questions you might find useful if you don’t know where to start:

  • Why knowing how to write a good OKR objective so important?
  • What are the benefits of knowing how to write a good OKR objective?
  • How can you emphasise the why in its description?
  • Is your wording jargon-free and easy to understand?

Remember…Once you know how to write a good OKR objective and before you dive straight in, make sure you have a crystal clear strategy. Working on your business strategy will help you extract your key priorities and ultimately help you decide which ones you can and want to start work on. 

However, there is another vital element to consider, before asking your teams to go above and beyond with setting OKRs, to avoid a wrong implementation of the latter.

Collaborative, positive work culture is essential for OKRs’ success. Without it, your team will not feel confident enough to venture outside their comfort zone and strive for growth. Carefully analyse your internal culture to find out whether your teams are ready to learn how to write a good OKR objective and implement them successfully.

How TBG can help

Our OKR expertise has the know-how, especially when it comes to knowing how to write a good OKR objective.

There Be Giants can help you understand OKRs even further and create powerful impactful OKRs that can supercharge your business growth. So if you want to discover how to write a good OKR objective and the infinite value it will bring to your business,  speak to our dynamic team today to find out more.