How to write effective OKRs for your business

by Roger Longden | Sep 02, 2018

time icon 2 mins

Getting started with a management strategy is always a major challenge. Coming up with a set of objectives and key results (OKRs) is no exception to this. In fact, if you think OKRs will be a piece of cake, you’re likely to fall at the first hurdle.

However, OKRs are no waste of time. If you write effective OKRs, the sky really is the limit to where your business could go.

Getting it right

Your OKRs are only as effective as your commitment to instilling them in your company. Half-hearted OKRs are not really going to change anything.

Good OKRS are the perfect link between team goals and individual action.

Team members should be involved in setting their own OKRs. If they aren’t, this can lead to resistance when they are introduced. Effective OKRs inspire growth and innovation; they should never be a burden on your business.

Ideally, OKRs shouldn’t be mandated from the top down, but should be a collaborative effort between team members at all levels. If team members are involved in the creation of their OKRs, they are likely to feel invested in their goals.

With OKRs, at the end of a work period you can use them as a reference to evaluate how well you did.

OKRs are our favourite way to set goals for team members that stretch their abilities and create strong working relationships. So, here is the low down on writing them.

Writing objectives

To state the blindingly obvious, OKRs are written in two parts: objectives and key results. Objectives refer to qualitative goals that are broad in their perspective and innovative in their nature.

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.

Think of your OKRs as condensed mission statements. Use phrases like ‘… which will…’ so that your team knows what the goal aims to achieve. This allows your team to visualize why they need to push themselves to fulfil (or surpass!) their OKRs.

Don’t confuse your team. Set your team too many OKRs and they will struggle to get their priorities in line. Your team can get bogged down trying to do too many things at once. If the challenge is right, 3 should be enough. Laser-like focus is paramount.

Writing a key result

Key results are the hard measures against which you can judge the success of the relatable objective. Well defined key results should help you to understand how much of the objective is achieved.

A good key result needs to be measurable. From my experience, metric key results always work best. This is because they provide a tangible measure your team can keep an eye on. Chances are your team will feel committed to inching ever closer to this figure.

Hopefully, this blog should be a good starting point to coming up with OKRs. The thing is, implementing the best OKRs possible is no mean feat, so we’d love to talk to you if you need some help.