Productivity

OKR method: How to define the objectives of your company?

In project management as in the company in general, it is essential to set goals so that all employees can move forward in the same direction, and constantly. To help you, there are different methods.

The OKR method, used by Google in particular, makes it possible to define precise and measurable objectives, which are in alignment with the company’s mission, and to engage employees.

Definition

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. This is a management method that allows you to  define and measure your objectives better.

The OKR method consists of setting a course, a direction to follow with the help of objectives, and measuring the progress and success of these objectives using specific indicators, the key results. In summary, goals tell you where to go, and key results tell you how to get there.

An example of OKR:

Objective:

  • Improve our brand awareness

Key results:

  • Obtain 10 articles in leading media.
  • Collaborate with 5 influencers from our industry.
  • Increase the number of our followers on social networks by 100%.

The OKR method helps the company to develop a strategy and to concentrate all its efforts into achieve its vision and its missions by uniting all the employees around a common goal. It is used as a way to motivate and inspire employees to achieve goals they never imagined they could achieve.

This method has become known due to American multinational companies such as Google, Disney, LinkedIn, Uber and Netflix. However, it can be used by companies of all sizes (including SMEs and start-ups) and from all industries.

Origin of the method

The method was invented in the 1950s by Peter Drucker, he was also nicknamed the pope of management, the OKR method was then called “Management by Objectives” or MBO. It was then adopted by Andy Grove, co-founder and CEO of Intel, in the 1970s to accompany a strategic change of the company.

In 1975, John Doerr, one of Google’s major investors, attended a talk given by Andy Grove at Intel, during which the OKR theory was presented. Intrigued by the method, John Doerr then presented it to Larry Page and Sergey Brin who decided to apply it to Google from 1999. Today, Google still operates using the OKR method, and many other big companies have followed this method.

How does it work?

Follow these four steps to implement the OKR method in your business.

1. Set an ambitious goal

To begin with, you need to define the mission of your business, department or project. Why does your business exist? What is its objective, its role? What does it bring to consumers / users?

The idea of the OKR method is to set a major goal pursued by all employees. This goal should describe precisely what you want to accomplish. It should be ambitious, memorable, short, motivating and engaging. It must be a real challenge that pushes you to surpass yourself in order to succeed.

Moreover, this may surprise and seem paradoxical, but the purpose of the method is not to achieve its objectives. A goal is considered accomplished when it is 60-70% achieved. If you reach 100%, your goal was too realistic and not ambitious enough.

The philosophy of the OKR method can be summed up by the quote from Oscar Wilde: “You always have to aim for the moon because even if you fail, you land in the stars. ”

2. Develop a strategy to achieve your goal

Next, you need to establish a strategy to achieve your goal. This strategy is broken down into intermediate objectives, key stages that must be validated as progress is made. These are called the key results. These are indicators that allow you to assess your progress against the goal. For each objective, count between two and five key results. Beyond five, it becomes difficult to remember.

These key results should be:

  • quantifiable and measurable to see the progress made;
  • achievable to motivate teams;
  • difficult to surpass themselves.

Regularly (ideally every quarter), new objectives are set based on progress, changes to be made or market developments. Keep in mind that these intermediate objectives must be aligned with the overall mission of the company defined upstream.

3. Check the progress

Once the objectives and key results have been set, it is important to regularly monitor their progress. All goals are made public so that all company employees or team members know their goals and those of their colleagues.

Please note that this system must not be used to sanction employees when the objectives are not achieved. On the other hand, it is essential to celebrate successes or when considerable progress has been made. This makes it possible to recognize the efforts that have been made and to unite the teams who will then be more motivated to continue their momentum.

4. Recognize the possibility of failure

By setting ambitious goals, you are likely to fail to achieve them. Failure is part of the process, and it should not be sanctioned under any circumstances, as mentioned earlier.

Rather, you need to analyse the reasons for the goal failure in order to understand what went wrong, and thus learn from your mistakes to be more successful next time.

Conclusion

The OKR method is simple and keeps the company’s vision and goals in mind at all times. Thus, each employee knows what is expected of them and how their work contributes to the achievement of the overall mission of the company.

In order to guarantee the success of this method, there must be a favorable climate within the company that promotes trust between the manager and his team, the autonomy of employees and communication.

To simplify your work, monitor the progress of your goals and tasks, and communicate easily with your team, you can use a suitable tool such as Wimi.