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Defining OKRs (Objectives & Key Results)

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a process that has gained momentum across international companies like Google and AirBnB, helping these powerhouse brands connect with and unite their teams through tangible objectives that guide the business in a unified direction. OKR research and creation has become an integral part in successful human resource management to such benefits as stronger communication, faster adaptation and even workforce scalability plans.

What is an OKR?

At its core, OKR is a system of setting objectives and tracking the outcomes. While this isn’t a new concept, it was popularized by Google co-founders John Doerr and Larry Page when they implemented the process and credited it with the company’s incredible success. Google and its parent company, Alphabet, continue to use the system across all functions.

How it Works

OKR finds its best success through setting objectives, measurable results and grading the success of the efforts. To create an OKR,

  1. Start by defining key objectives for the business on a company, team and individual level.
  2. Under each of the objectives, outline a few measurable results to track and analyze progress. Avoid setting too many objectives, as this will fragment your workforce and keep the process from doing what it is designed to do, focus the organization’s efforts.
  3. There are multiple systems to use when measuring the success of OKRs, each with its own benefits and reporting systems. Once the objectives have been established, work backwards to uncover the best ways to grade success.

Remember, OKRs are not a one-time process — they should become an integral facet of the company culture and revisited on a consistent basis.

Benefits

A well-executed OKR program can result in a more coordinated and focused company. It creates clear objectives and expectations of employees, so they know where they should focus their efforts to complete the goals set for themselves, their team and the company as a whole. OKR also aligns employee and company goals, which allows an individual’s effort to forward the progress of a team, effectively moving the business towards its goal in a larger coordinated endeavor.

Growing a long-lasting company with sound internal structures and a strong culture is difficult. In addition to the many challenges innate with building a business from scratch, coordinating the workforce to accomplish the company’s goals adds another layer of difficulty. Implementing and executing an OKR process will ease the growing pains of the business and set it on the path towards success.

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