ADAPT Methodology® Blog

How To Set OKR: A Quick 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 to set OKR 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™.


Do you wish to implement Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) the way Google does it? Do you want to be successful in executing the processes and empowering your team?

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If yes, this article will guide you.


Google usually starts with their company OKRs whenever they want to set objectives. These are the high-level objectives and key results that give everyone else in the company a clear goal of what path Google wants to take. There are 3 to 5 KRs under each objective.


OKRs are not one-sided. This means that the framework produces less hierarchy.


Suggestions can come from up and down the organisational chart. This may mean that you have to move from your comfort zone by establishing an open line of communication. This also fosters collaboration among team members wherein everyone can express their opinions freely.


The best ways to achieve OKRs and the roles each person will play can be discussed.

Important Tips When Setting Objectives

  • Having too many objectives can cause diffusion of efforts and lack of focus. Limit your objectives to 3-5.
  • Use aspirational expressions. Positivity is good in management, so avoid expressions that don’t push for new achievements.
  • Don’t use vague terms for your objectives. Your OKRs should be easy to understand. Setting specific goals can lead to more chances of attaining success. 

Essential Tips for Creating Results

  • Set 3 to 5 key results per objective
  • The KRs should be measurable
  • KRs should describe outcomes, not tasks. They shouldn’t start with words like “analyse”, “consult” and the like. Each milestone should include some proof of completion

Objectives and Key Results that involve clear, measurable goals can help your organisation to achieve growth. Also, it can help you to focus on the most important things.


On the other hand, badly written OKRs can create confusion, poor strategies and prevent your team from progressing. It will also weaken the internal metrics and make organisational goals more difficult to attain.

Traps to Avoid When Using OKRs

In view of understanding how to set OKR, try to avoid these traps:

  • Poor Cascading Process of Stretched Goals

OKRs allow organisations to stretch goals. However, there is need for good communication to avoid any confusion between managers and teams, especially in cases where teams depend on the work delivered by other teams to attain their own OKRs.

  • Writing “Business as Usual” OKRs that Aren’t Effective

These types of OKRs are the ones you can attain without making changes to your system or challenging the status quo or existing state of affairs. A good way to know you are not falling into this trap is to rank your team’s current work and the new projects you wish to start.


If your OKRs require the exact amount of effort with present team initiatives, then you are doing it wrong. Drop low-priority efforts and change your OKRs.


Sometimes your objectives will remain the same every quarter. That’s nothing to worry about if it is always a high priority. However, your KRs should evolve, so they can motivate your teams to become more efficient and be innovative.

  • Sandbagging

When your company is attaining the overall score of the OKRs each time, then your team is deliberately underperforming to gain unfair advantage.


This means that you are not challenging your managers and teams, hoarding resources or not going beyond your comfort zones. Avoid low-value objectives. Even if you attain them, they won’t have a significant effect on your company.


Your OKRs should focus on the high-value objectives that set bar higher.

  • Insufficient KRs

The success of attaining the objectives of your organisation lies in the KRs. If the KRs of a given objective are insufficient to fully attain it, then it won’t work. This causes delay on both the allocation of resources and completion of objectives on time.


It can be helpful to make your team understand the company OKRs first and then help them align their OKRs.


Next, you have to decide how many team OKRs will work for your organisation. For instance, check if it’s necessary to set OKRs per department, function and sub-group.


On how to set OKR at the team level, take note that they should not always reflect the organisation’s OKRs. Nonetheless, they should be in line and reflective of the high-level goals or at least one/few of them.


The best way to set your team OKRs is to meet with all the team leaders in goal-setting in order to discuss short-term priorities. Make use of OKRs to assess the impact you want to see and let your team come up with ways to achieve these goals and measure their impact.


Understanding the process of setting OKRs should not be difficult. With this guideline, you should be able to effectively set your team OKRs in no time.


If you liked this article and you are looking for a way to align everyone in your organisation, we offer OKR consulting and OKR training inside of our ADAPT Methodology™ approach, contact us in case you are interested.

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