ADAPT Methodology® Blog

How OKR Works: A Beginner’s Guide

One of the most important skills that a modern leader can possess is the ability to align their entire workforce to the big vision of the company, that's why talking about how OKR works is very important!

Remember that aligning your entire organisation is just a small skill set that you must possess in order to ADAPT your company to the digital era! If you are an executive leader looking to ADAPT your company to the digital era, check more about our approach by clicking the link: ADAPT Methodology™.

In this article, we will explain how OKR works. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a phenomenal goal setting framework that many organisations utilise. It’s a simple, easy, straightforward and results-driven system.

Companies like Intel, Google, Amazon, Spotify and many others have been using OKRs for years. It has been described as an effective tool that promotes accountability, transparency, productivity and engagement among employees from to bottom. This framework helps leaders to keep everyone on the same page.

OKRs will work for your company if properly implemented. However, one of the biggest challenges in adopting this framework is getting started. In order to start the right way, there are some vital steps that will allow you to successfully implement OKRs.

This article contains a checklist which you can use as a quick accessible reference to write your own Objectives and Key Results. The way you write your OKRs really matters. This is because they are not just about goals. They also provide a framework for strategy and execution.

Putting more effort in writing OKRs as a team can give room for innovative goals. The framework also serves as a communication tool for conveying strategy to your entire team.

You need to familiarise yourself with the framework’s two major components. The first component is focused on your goals, while the other talks about key results.

Tips on Writing an Objective

In understanding how OKR works, you need to know the qualities of a good objective. One quality should be qualitative goals. The goals should be clear and unambiguous. Another quality is that the objective should align with your corporate strategy as well as the company’s goals.

Setting objectives can be a difficult task. Companies that have adopted OKRs know how tempting it can be to organise a great number of objectives at every possible level. Below are the key questions that you should be able to answer when setting relevant effective objectives.

  1. Is the objective inspiring?
  2. Does it aid you in achieving the goals of your organisation?
  3. Is the objective absolutely necessary?
  4. Can it be achieved in a fixed period of time?

If you want we prepared a Cheatsheet on how to write good objectives, download it below.

Tips on Writing Key Results

Key results are the backbone of any OKRs. Without specific, measurable KRs, it will not be an easy task for anyone in your company to realise their objectives. Therefore, understanding how OKR works entails knowing how to write key results.

Simply put, KRs are quantitative indicators of whether the objectives have been achieved. They are not KPIs. Key results are the specific steps you should take in order reach your objectives. Generally, KRs should adhere to the SMART guideline.

Below are the questions that you should be able to answer when writing KRs.

  1. Is your KR a result, not just an activity or task?
  2. Does it help you attain a specific objective?
  3. Can it be achieved in a fixed period of time?
  4. Does it belong to either an operational or stretch type of goal?
  5. Is it important enough to appear in the top 5 KRs for the objective?

OKRs Examples and Templates

Before proceeding with the following examples and templates, be mindful that there is no universal approach for all possible uses and cases. The sample below is only a guideline for wording your OKRs. You can change this anytime.

Sample Template:

We plan to succeed in ___(OBJECTIVE)_____, as measured:

by _____KR_____,

by _____KR_____,

by ____KR______.

We plan to achieve this by __DATE__.

Check out the following examples of OKRs:

Example #1

Objective: Increase employee engagement.

Key Results:

  1. Execute at least three engagement activities per department.
  2. Decrease the attrition rate from 15% to 10%.
  3. Increase eNPS from 70% to 90%.

Example #2

Increase production by 40%.

Key Results:

  1. Hire 10 more staff.
  2. Provide incentives to most productive employees.
  3. Rearrange staffing schedule.

Example #3

Objective: Improve the new marketing process

Key Results:

  1. Develop personal relationships with 10 potential customers.
  2. Increase lead generation by 15%.
  3. Launch 4 webinars in three months.

More Tips on Proper Writing of OKRs

  1. Keep your OKRs specific and simple. Make sure to prioritise your objectives according to what your business needs.
  2. Share your objectives. It is important to let your team members and the rest of the company know about your objectives. This will enable them to have a clear idea about what your goals are and how they can contribute to the realisation of these goals.
  3. Have measurable KRs. Make sure that your key results are measurable so that you can know if they have been achieved or not.
  4. Do not worry about stretch goals. The best objectives are not easy to attain. Encourage your team members so that they can reach great milestones. With continuous feedback and coaching, they will be able to reach their goals.

The success of your OKRs process greatly depends on how you write them. The guidelines, examples and tips in this post will surely go a long way in improving your OKRs writing skills.

Did you like this article?

We enable leaders to become highly valued and recognized to make an impact on the World by helping them to design Digital Product Companies that will thrive and nourish in the Digital Age, we do this by applying our own ADAPT Methodology®.

If you want to know how we can help you to start your transformation please check out our: Training.

If you are interested in doing a transformation in your company please check out our: Consulting.