How to implement OKRs to jumpstart your year

How to implement OKRs to jumpstart your year

For some weird reason, January is the time most leaders start thinking about how to improve their goal setting systems and get better, more focused results from their team. One wonders, why.

However, like with most other New Year’s resolutions, these upgrades to team’s goal setting process fail. And people will be back to the safe, known way of doing things. Because new is always scary and hard. And unless things are going really bad, there is no point in reinventing the wheel.

If you want to be one of the leaders who actually improves their team this year, you need to work hard and implement an effective system like Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a goal setting methodology aimed at having focused teams and companies. And it has actually been around for a while, but it’s reached new heights over the last year and grown in popularity. First implemented at Google by John Doerr as an approach to get more done, it is now used all over the world, both at big and small companies.

OKRs consist of a list of three to five high-level objectives. Under each objective then usually three to five key measurable results are listed. Each key result has a progress indicator or score of 0-100% or 0 to 1.0 that shows its achievement.

Usually OKRs are part of a recurring quarterly planning and progress review process. While the majority of OKR usage is quarterly, some companies also set annual or monthly OKRs.

Implementing OKRs

In my book, “Advanced Guide to OKRs,” I write, there are many different ways you can start using it. And setting the right Objectives is key. If you get this part wrong, it will take a lot of energy to fix the system afterwards.

Objectives should be qualitative and describe the desired outcome. For example: Understand customer needs. There is no need to have metrics for an Objective (you’ll have those with Key Results.). Key results should be numeric. They are what makes your Objective measurable. It’s important to remember Objectives are your big, ambitious goals and Key Results measure the achievement of an objective.

Goal setting in hard

However, no amount of training makes this transition perfectly smooth. It will still take two or three quarters for everyone to use the methodology right and for it to deliver results. So, if you are committed to OKRs, you need to test the methodology out for at least a year.

OKR champions

When deciding to implement OKRs in your company, you should assign a go-to person, who will be responsible for learning all there is to learn about the methodology. We call them OKR champions.

OKR champions are responsible for making sure everyone adapts the new methodology, takes charge of educating the team, and makes sure no one falls behind.

That person will help you onboard other employees and answer their questions. They will also be responsible for making sure, other employees will set OKRs and update their Key Results regularly.

Can you actually fulfill a New Year’s resolution?

Most promises given in early January fail miserably. Including most that promise to be better at work. But with a little hard work, OKR can actually help you get a lot more done. So go try them now. While you’re still hyped.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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