Planning and executing are tasks that seem very simple on paper but are complex in reality.
So much so that the search for management tools and methodologies seems to have no end.
Another extreme is to think that there is no need to worry about efficient management as long as the business is profitable.
In fact, this is one of the main reasons for the lack of consistency in so many small and medium-sized companies—something that makes them too dependent on the pace of the market and, ultimately, leads many businesses to bankruptcy.
However, when thinking about strengthening your operation and scaling up your business, it is essential to seek a solid management model that can be easily applied.
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) meet this need.
Learn everything you need to know to implement this methodology that can define your company’s future!
What is OKR?
OKR is a management methodology that was created by former Intel CEO Andrew Grove. It aims to simplify the way of facing the so-called “Objectives and Key Results”, that is, a company’s main goals.
You can be sure that the method works since it has been used at Google since 1999.
The company, which had only 40 people, now has more than 60,000 of the world’s best professionals, spread across different parts of the globe.
This also proves that OKR can be implemented in both SMEs and multinational corporations with the same efficiency and transparency.
How does the OKR methodology work?
The name OKR was not created just to serve with jargon, as it is directly related to the way the methodology works.
See below what each element of the name means and how they complement each other.
The objectives present a clear direction of what the company intends to achieve.
Each objective can be defined not only to make it clear what to look for but also to keep everyone engaged in the mission in question.
Some simple examples of goals that would keep everyone on the team informed and engaged are:
- become an authority on the market;
- offer spectacular customer support;
- scale sales considerably.
All of these goals are clear and specific and leave no doubt as to what the focus should be.
But they still depend on something to be accomplished: the key results…
Without this part of the planning, it would be very difficult to achieve the objectives initially proposed. After all, it would be very difficult to measure objectively and precisely how spectacular the support is, for example. The key results serve as a parameter to determine how close the company is to achieve a goal.
In other words, they are smaller goals that directly help in achieving the main objective.
To help you to understand it better, we will use the same objectives mentioned before, but this time with the help of the key results:
Objective #1: become an authority on the market.
- KR #1: rank 1st on Google for a specific keyword;
- KR #2: reach 10,000 subscribers in the newsletter;
- KR #3: form 5 successful co-marketing partnerships;
- KR #4: Increase by 50% the number of customers who got to know the company through digital channels.
Objective #2: offer spectacular customer support.
- KR #1: decrease the number of support requests by 40% using self-service;
- KR #2: keep the Net Promoter Score average above 50;
- KR #3: reduce ticket response time on any channel by half;
- KR #4: keep the resolution rate at least 95%.
Objective #3: scale sales considerably.
- KR #1: double the number of leads generated per month;
- KR #2: shorten the sales cycle by 20%;
- KR #3: send 80% of the most qualified leads to the bottom of the sales funnel;
- KR #4: increase revenue by 25% with upselling and by-products.
Did you notice how each main objective has several secondary goals that lead to it?
And how can they be measured much more accurately and reliably?
Here is one last tip:
Have ambitious goals.
If it is too easy to reach your OKRs, you need to bet on bigger ideas that will make the company realize its maximum potential.
How to structure the OKR methodology in 6 steps?
Despite knowing that the OKR methodology is very practical and straightforward, it is not enough to think about objectives, key results and imagine that the strategy is ready.
It is necessary to follow a series of important steps, which guarantee the methodology’s smooth functioning and greatly facilitate its adoption among all employees of the company.
Below, you can see what these steps are and why they make such a difference in the process as a whole:
1. Set clear and specific goals
As seen in the examples, there is no room for unnecessary complications in OKR.
Set clear and specific goals for both primary objectives and key results.
This will keep all employees aligned and motivated to achieve what has been established.
2. Split goals between top-down and bottom-up
An important point of OKR is that goals should not be set entirely by leaders and managers.
Before, they make up 40% of OKRs, and the rest is defined by the team.
The idea behind this is to involve everyone in creating the goals and ensuring that everyone’s eyes are useful in the process.
3. Set reasonably short deadlines
The goals of OKRs cannot take too long to achieve, as this complicates the process and undermines its efficiency.
With that in mind, set reasonably short deadlines, like every quarter.
This will help you maintain a sense of urgency while giving enough time for everyone to do their job and the tactics applied to have an effect.
4. Follow the results regularly
The monitoring of results needs to be constant, both due to the shorter deadlines and to ensure work consistency.
Evaluating the results obtained weekly is a good way to do this, as it allows for quick adjustments, while also does not suffocate the professionals involved with a pressure to analyze data daily.
5. Make OKRs visible to everyone
Transparency is the starting point for a successful OKR strategy.
Since everyone shares the same goals and aspirations, there is no better way to do this than by letting everyone know about the results.
The goal should not be to pressure employees to achieve results more quickly but to keep them informed and ensure that the process is clear to all.
6. Don’t confuse efforts and results
The effort may be maximum, but what needs to be analyzed are the results.
If everyone is working hard and the results are not coming, they are likely doing something wrong.
That is why it is so important to focus on metrics, and not just on the feeling of unity and collective effort as a way of quantifying everyone’s dedication.
How can measuring results be part of the company’s culture?
It is clear that measuring results is central to the OKR methodology—which is not so important for many people.
The thought that management is about people, not just data, may have a poetic background, but it does not reflect reality.
Peter Drucker himself, one of the main authorities in the world when it comes to management, used to say:
If you can’t measure, you can’t manage.
The fact is that tracking metrics and analyzing data does not mean letting go of the human side of the organization.
On the contrary, acting based on data makes it possible to make fairer decisions and create a more pleasant and collaborative environment.
Therefore, here are some simple tips to implement a culture of measuring results in your company.
Divide to conquer
One of the OKRs’ proposals is to break a big goal into several smaller ones.
You should do this too with data tracking.
Divide metrics between different professionals, give them the training they need to keep up with those and keep an eye on their work.
Just be sure to centralize all data to ensure that any employee can understand exactly how the team is performing.
Clarify the practical value of measuring results
Explain to your employees what the use of the collected data will be and why the business cannot do without it.
It is likely that, when you see how analyzing the results will positively affect collective and individual performance, everyone will feel more comfortable with the idea and work harder to analyze results as a part of everyday life.
Use data to improve processes and generate feedback
There is no greater motivator than showing, in practice, how evaluating results contribute to making processes more effective.
It is also worth using the collected information to generate feedback and help each employee to improve their work.
It is possible that, at first, the idea of evaluating results sounds like a way to increase the pressure on employees.
Show them that the result is just the opposite: helping everyone perform better and less stress.
This will undoubtedly help to create a culture of measuring results in your company and will make it easier to implement OKR successfully.
The OKR methodology is the perfect approach for companies looking to optimize their management models and scale their business in a simple way, without sinking into the complexity of various current methods.
Because of that, follow the tips seen here and reach your goals without leaving it all to chance.
Now that you know everything about the OKR methodology, it’s time to get real results for your business! Download for free our ebook with proven techniques to generate leads!