“How to OKR” is a format taken from our monthly newsletter OKR Insider. To get OKR tips, hacks, and best practices delivered directly to your mailbox, join our mailing list.

 

1. Without a metric, it’s not a Key Result

Key Results can be seen as a feedback mechanism for achieving your Objective. Without a metric, deciding whether you achieved an Objective or not is only based on gut feelings. That’s why you should make every Key Result measurable.

 

2. Set OKRs so ambitious that they make you feel uncomfortable

When defining a target for your Key Result, there’s a good rule of thumb: the Key Result should make you feel uncomfortable and getting to 70% should already by impressive. The reason for this is that challenging OKRs unlock creative thinking, and stretch your capabilities.

 

3. Make everyone in your company use OKRs

OKR is a framework that can theoretically be used by only a few people in a company, e.g., top managers. However, involving every employee—from intern to CEO–will make you tap the full potential of OKR. After all, you want everyone’s work to be connected to the company’s strategy. You want transparency on all levels so that everyone is aware of the company’s top priorities, and how they contribute to them.

 

4. Make OKRs part of your day-to-day business

OKRs are often misinterpreted as something you set in the beginning of a quarter and don’t touch until the middle or even the end of the same quarter. Instead, you should keep your OKRs top of mind and make them part of your daily processes. Frequently checking in with your goals and updating progress increases transparency, happiness, and your success rate. If you have weekly team meetings for discussing to-dos and evaluating progress, base them on your OKRs. This is how you become a truly goal-driven company.

 

5. Focus on the Key Results that are actually key

When setting Key Results, it’s crucial that you focus on the most important outcomes. If you’re a SaaS company like Perdoo, an Objective could be to Achieve the steepest revenue growth since launch. SaaS companies have different forms of revenues such as Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) from new business as well as from accounts expanding. Yet, we should focus on the highest possible denominator for the Objective: in this case the overall MRR.

 

6. Look at your vision & mission before setting your company-level OKRs

In a perfectly aligned company, all efforts contribute to the mission (the purpose of your organization) and bring you closer to your vision (where you want to be in 5-10 years). If you don’t have a mission or vision yet, it’s about time! Company OKRs should always push the company closer towards realizing its mission & vision, or fix problems that stand in its way. Your mission & vision statements are a great source of inspiration to pick the right Objectives.

 

7. Don’t link OKRs to employee performance reviews

OKR is about your company’s success, not individual employees’ performance. It’s about uniting your workforce behind a bold mission & vision and accelerating progress towards common goals. OKR also helps stretch capabilities. Set moonshot goals and learn how far you can get. Linking OKRs to performance reviews discourages employees to challenge themselves and set ambitious goals. Keep them separated.