OKRs – The Ultimate Guide for Team Planning

Proper goal setting can set your team up for success. However, goal setting that inspires your team is easier said than done. Adopting the Objective and Key Results (OKRs) methodology is a tried-and-tested way to achieve your overall objectives. However, your success in implementing this method relies heavily on the execution and ensuring that every team in your organization (at all levels) are in proper alignment with each other.

Example of OKR’s

Below are some examples of OKRs that you can use to help you establish your own.

Online Marketing Goals

Your Objective is to bring more traffic to your website and boost conversion. The Key Results are the following: gain 7% increase in website traffic per month in the next 12 months and boost conversion by 10% by Q4 of the calendar year.

Content Marketing Goals

Your Objective is to increase blog readership on your website. The Key Results are to publish at least 5 blogs per month and get 10,000 subscribers to your blog by Q2. 

Sales Goals

Your Objective is to get new bookings. The Key Result would be to increase your pipeline by 20% above your quota to ensure sales from bookings.

Management Goals

Your Objective is to reduce employee turnover rate. The Key Results are to maintain a score of 8 or more in employee satisfaction and roll out weekly surveys to obtain employee feedback. 

benefits of implementing the OKR

Why OKR’s

There are several methodologies out there – so why choose OKRs? It’s simple: companies all over the globe have used this same method to boost engagement and efficacy. And while each organization is unique, OKRs have proven to be a reliable approach to increase accountability in individual team members and to develop high-performing teams.

Here are some of the benefits of implementing the OKR method in your organization:

1. Ensure Alignment of Goals

The OKR method is based on two key principles: SMART goal-setting and Management by Objectives (MBO). 

This approach in goal-setting guarantees that individual priorities and goals won’t overlap. It employs a cascading alignment approach to ensure that individual goals of team members are not compromised with the setting and accomplishment of team goals. 

It encourages company-wide collaboration, not just team-based. All members of the organization–from top to bottom–are involved. In fact, everyone has access to the OKRs of their fellow team members and can provide assistance if needed. 

This goal-setting methodology also promotes communication across all levels. And any organization or team leader knows the value of honest and open communication.

2. Make Goals Attainable

You can use OKRs as a tool to achieve your goals faster and in a more efficient manner. The Key Results’ aspect of the OKR is responsible for why it works so well. Instead of tackling your overall goals, it breaks them down into smaller, achievable steps. Each step of the process is specific, measurable, and attainable. It is consistent with the SMART goal setting principle. 

3. More Benefits of OKRs

Below are some other reasons to implement OKRs in your organization:

  • Boost individual engagement
  • Improve cross-functional dependencies
  • Track regular progress with ease
  • Clearer team and individual direction
  • Higher accountability and transparency
  • Improved allocation and management of resources

How to create OKR’s

There are several major organizations that employ the OKR method, such as Google, Facebook, Intel, LinkedIn, and Oracle. In fact, Google cites the implementation of OKR as the reason behind its progress since its startup days. 

Follow these strategies on how to create OKRs that will unlock your potential to level up.

1. Keep it Simple

The success of goal setting depends on setting realistic and achievable goals. When you set goals, keep it simple and attainable. Make sure you define a specific timeframe for that goal. This will provide additional drive and motivation to succeed.

A common reason why organizations and teams fail at their objectives is the tendency for certain individuals to spread themselves too thin. Avoid this urge. Focus on one objective at a time to increase the chances of accomplishing them so you can move on to your next goal.

2. Identify Objectives Type

There are three types of objectives that you can formulate when brainstorming and goal-setting with your team: Build, Improve, and Innovate.

The Build objective refers to your desire to create something that does not exist yet. The Improve objective is when you set out to improve  something that is already in existence. The Innovate objective is when you reinvent something to make it better or to add value.

To understand the above objective types better, your focus should be to elevate your current status quo. It is through these objectives that you can attract new customers and improve the customers’ journey. Whichever it is, you need to start by choosing from one of three objective types.

3. Examine Your KPIs

KPIs or key performance indicators are the lifeblood of any organization. KPIs tell you where your organization stands in the market and it provides a means to track and measure to your goals. Successful organizations consistently evaluate their KPIs to identify problem areas and to find solutions. 

It is worth noting that OKRs alone are not enough; they should be evaluated against the KPIs to ensure that your goals are truly driving your organization forward. 

4. Cascade Your Objectives

As mentioned earlier, OKRs encourage company-wide collaboration. This is why a crucial part of writing OKR objectives is to cascade them. It is important for employees to see and know how they can contribute to the overall goal of the organization. By cascading your objectives, you can achieve that.

The objectives must be communicated from the top level, and then to the department level. From the department level, the duties and responsibilities of every team member are specified. The cascade method helps to ensure that nothing is lost in translation as the objectives are communicated from top to bottom. 

How to create OKR’s

When to use OKR’s

Timing is crucial when setting goals and determining when to use OKRs is vital to the success of your organization. When you set objectives, it is important to know that these objectives are most relevant to your business within that time frame. 

A good example for this is to identify this as your goal: launch a new product successfully. In order for you to achieve that objective, you must first address some vital issues that would ensure a seamless product launch. For example, you need to assess and evaluate the technical product specs first, or you need to finalize product data sheets. 

Experts also agree that OKRs must be evaluated on a periodic basis, depending on what is most needed for your business to progress. It could be quarterly for some companies, while bi-annual planning would be adequate for most organizations.