How to set OKRs that will make a positive impact

by Jenny Bowes | Jan 18, 2021

time icon 3 mins

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are changing how companies define their priorities. They are building a relentless focus on business growth and innovation within companies of all shapes and sizes. OKRs can have a fantastic impact, but it takes hard work and dedication to ensure OKRs are embedded and creating a positive impact. 

One of the greatest strengths of adopting the OKR methodology, is that it requires you to take a long, hard look at how you execute your business strategy and plan – but then helps you motivate and align your people behind it. Done right, OKRs can really help you to make sure your people are happy, motivated and pulling in the same direction. 


Benefits of setting OKRs

If implemented correctly, objectives and key results can help to drive business success. Some of the biggest benefits to setting OKRs are:

  • OKRs can be interpreted and adapted to your business
  • Better alignment for your internal teams
  • Clearer end-goal for your business
  • Increases productivity 
  • Progress is much easier to track
  • More transparency, accountability for projects and better measurement of goals

A major strength of OKRs is that you can interpret and adapt them to fit your business. However, with no model to guide you, the risk is that you can struggle to work out where to start and the steps to follow, meaning your OKRs can end up diluted past the point of benefit.

In order for OKRs to be implemented successfully, you need to be very clear on your priorities and the end state you are aiming for. Are you clear on the end goal? If this isn’t clear, it is likely that your OKRs will miss the mark.


Striking the right balance 

You may feel like you’re ready to get those OKRs implemented across your business and spread the happy brain feelings. However, hang on because we’ve got some crucial advice for you. In order to make sure that your OKRs are successful and driving a positive impact, you need to ensure that you are striking the right balance.

  • Successful OKRs balance ambition with realism. Get confident with using them before you start reaching for the stars.
  • They march to the unique drumbeat of your organisation.
  • Most of all, they hit organisational priorities right in the sweet spot. 


Vital things to keep in mind when setting OKRs

The beauty of the There Be Giants OKR methodology is that it is straight-forward. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll hit that exact trajectory on your very first attempt. As with most new processes, it takes some time and practice to get into the swing of things.

To help you get started here are some vital points to consider. These points will help to make sure that you don’t give up at the first hurdle when setting OKRs that will make a positive impact. 

  1. Don’t expect to get your ambition targets correct in your first set of OKRs. It can take some bedding-in time before you and your business understand what the right level of stretch is for your cycle.
  2. Build up to the levels of ambition you want to be achieved in the long run. Try to calibrate your early OKRs so that they can be 100% achieved, as this will help to motivate your people further when it comes time to take on the bigger challenges.
  3. Have your employees and teams work with you on generating the stretch – after all, they’re going to know how far they can go and where they want to be. Your role in this process is to challenge people to go further but inclusion, confidence and trust are key components to enable people to then push beyond those boundaries.

A final thought to keep with you when setting goals with OKRs – successful OKRs balance ambition with realism. 

Want to learn more about how to use OKRs to your advantage? Check out our collection of OKR guides and tools, or get in touch with one of our Giants today!

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