The Importance of Objectives and Key Results: How to Set OKRs in 3 Simple Steps

The Importance of Objectives and Key Results: How to Set OKRs in 3 Simple Steps

When running a business, setting goals can signal success. Objectives and key results (OKR) is a revolutionary framework that can be used to define and track objectives and their outcomes. Essentially, objectives tend to be the desired outcomes that you want, and the key results are the measurable ways you know that you are on track to reaching them.

However, although more and more companies are adopting this methodology, not all of them understand how best to set OKRs. So, let’s discover 3 simple steps that you can take to define your objectives in terms of key results. 

Keep Your Objectives Short and Simple

Typically, an objective should pose an answer to the question, ‘Where do I want to go?’. When defining an objective, try to describe what you intend to achieve. Your objective should be inspirational, concrete, and action-oriented.  A well-written objective must also be motivational and appealing. Furthermore, when using an OKR framework, aim to define three to five objectives on either company, team, or personal levels. Looking for an OKR tool to set up and automate the OKR process within your company? There are some fantastic OKR software tools out there if you need a helping hand.

Without clear goals in mind, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed in the workplace. Setting objectives enables us to make checkpoints that can be used to measure success. Not sure where to begin? Take a moment to think about the type of change you want to see and try to put this into words. You should not have to stop for breath when reading an objective aloud. By making your objectives easy to understand, you can effectively reduce the time spent setting goals so that you can instead focus on investing resources into achieving them.

Make Everything Measurable

In order to apply OKR methodology, your key results must be measurable. It is only through being able to measure your key results that you will be able to determine whether or not you have reached your goals. A key result should help to answer the question, “How will I know I am making progress?”. Idealistically there should be two to five results per objective. Setting too many key results can make it more difficult to focus your priorities. Moreover, quantifying your objectives removes subjectivity and ensures that all team members are held to account.

Using quantitative measures and numerical data enables you to update progress of your key results and review them on a regular basis. Consequently, this can make the amount of work required to achieve your goals seem more manageable and less confusing. Do not be afraid to break your key results down into smaller goals. Knowing precisely what to do to achieve your key results can make your objectives more specific. For example, if your objective is to increase your sales by 10 percent and one of your key results is to get five new clients, try to plan mini goals that can help you to achieve these results. For instance, this could include writing one blog post per week to generate interest in your products or services.

Communication and Collaboration

When establishing OKRs, communication at all levels of the company is fundamental. Any objectives should therefore be cascaded. This means that all employees should be made aware of how their role contributes to the success of the company as a whole. When setting OKRs, try to think of their relevance at the level of the organization itself, their application to any relevant departments, and finally how employees can contribute towards these goals on an individual level.

Employee engagement is vital and therefore poor internal communication can lead to drops in productivity and profits. There should be an understanding that any tasks are being completed to achieve overarching team goals. To prevent any miscommunication, meetings should take place once OKRs are initially introduced and then follow-up sessions dedicated to discussing goals should also be arranged. Whenever any milestones are reached, these achievements should be celebrated and recognized. Above all, rewarding incremental progress reinforces the notion that everyone is on track to achieving their goals.

Setting OKRs is beneficial for every single employee within a company. By establishing clear objectives and key results, all team members have clear guidelines of where to focus their efforts within a given time frame. In addition, acknowledging OKRs publicly enhances company cohesion and creates a support system centred around achievements and goals. 

Adopting an OKR framework is one of many ways that you can take your company to the next level. For even more corporate insights, check out these business growth tips.

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