The power of OKRs

Written by Jonathan Ross
27 Feb 2023

If you manage a team, it’s important to ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives. One way to do this is by setting up OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).

OKRs can help to align your team’s objectives and drive results. In this short post we look at how to set up OKRs and what benefits they can bring.

OKRs are a framework for business to set ambitious, measurable goals with clear scope and accountability. This powerful method of goal setting is an effective tool for aligning individual tasks with organisational objectives and measuring progress to ensure that all stakeholders in the business are working towards a common unified mission. Through regular monitoring of key performance indicators related to each objective, businesses can recognise when they’re on target, or if they need to adjust their strategy. When used optimally, OKRs can help businesses achieve quantifiable success while driving sustained long-term growth.

OKRs are a powerful system that provide structure to set team or company goals and track progress. The process of setting up OKRs starts with aligning clearly defined corporate objectives with team and individual goals and the assessing how they affect the whole organisation before breaking them down into milestones. Once the overall framework is established, the key performance indicators can be determined and tracked. Each quarter those measurements should be revisited to ensure that the objectives are still pertinent and achievable, whilst continuously reassessing if any new objectives should be established and if existing ones need to be revised. OKRs leave teams and companies better equipped to measure their successes against targets, providing an effective way for organisations to focus on what matters for success in the long term.

OKRs leave teams and companies better equipped to measure their successes against targets.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are both commonly used tools for measuring and tracking performance in a company. While they share some similarities, they are also quite different in terms of their purpose, scope, and application.

KPIs are quantitative measures of specific aspects of performance such as revenue, customer satisfaction, or employee turnover. They are used to track progress against specific targets and to identify areas of improvement. For example, a company might set a KPI for revenue growth of 10% a year. KPIs are typically used to measure performance at the individual, departmental or organisational level.

OKRs on the other hand are used to set and track progress against broader, strategic goals. They are a method of aligning individual, departmental and organisational goals with the overall mission and vision of the company. OKRs consist of an objective, which is a clear and specific statement of what the company wants to achieve, and one or more key results, which are specific and measurable outcomes that will indicate progress towards the objective. For example a company might set the objective to ‘increase market share in our core business by 20% next year’ and key results might include ‘increase customer acquisition by 15%’, ‘launch three new products in the next 12 months’, and ‘reduce customer churn by 10%’.

In summary, while both KPIs and OKRs are useful tools for tracking and measuring performance, they serve different purposes. KPIs are focused on specific aspects of performance, while OKRs are focused on broader, strategic goals. It is important to use both tools in combination to achieve a well-rounded performance management system.

OKRs can be an extremely helpful tool for businesses, teams, and individuals when it comes to setting and achieving goals. By providing a framework for goal setting and progress tracking, OKRs can help maintain alignment within companies and keep everybody on the same page. If you are looking to get started with OKRs or want some tips on how to make them work best for your business check out the following books:

Measure what Matters by John Doerr

Objectives and Key Results by Paul R. Niven and Ben Lamorte

The OKRs Field Book by Ben Lamorte