Guide: Set goals with OKRs

Bring OKRs to your organization

An important part about OKRs is their transparency. When bringing OKRs to an organization, it can be helpful to be clear about what they are, why they can be helpful, and how they will be used. Research shows that performance is higher when people are committed to their goals, so it can be important to get everyone onboard.

Tips for introducing OKRs:

  • What are OKRs? Cover the basics of what OKRs are and how they work.
  • Why use OKRs? Review of how the organization currently approaches setting goals, and any limits or issues with that approach.
  • How OKRs work? Explain the timeline, what is expected of each person, what the major milestones are, and how people will be accountable.
  • Still skeptical about OKRs? Leave time for questions, with a particular emphasis on drawing out any skepticism.

Alignment. Once the organization knows what it’s focused on and how it will measure success, it can become easier for individuals to connect their projects with the organizational objectives.

Discipline & prioritization. It can be hard for any one team in a company to say no to a good idea, a worthwhile project, or a needed improvement. Once everyone agrees what the most important objectives are, it can be easier to say no to the less important ideas. Saying no isn’t a political or emotional debate, it becomes a rational response to a commitment that the entire organization has already made.

Communication. OKRs should be public within an organization so that every employee knows the organizational objectives and metrics for success. In an interview, Dick Costolo, former Googler and former CEO of Twitter, was asked “What did you learn from Google that you applied to Twitter?” and shared:

“The thing that I saw at Google that I definitely have applied at Twitter are OKRs - Objectives and Key Results. Those are a great way to help everyone in the company understand what’s important and how you’re going to measure what’s important. It’s essentially a great way to communicate strategy and how you’re going to measure strategy. And that’s how we try to use them. As you grow a company, the single hardest thing to scale is communication. It’s remarkably difficult. OKRs are a great way to make sure everyone understands how you’re going to measure success and strategy.”

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