OKRs are Objectives and Key Results
Growth, progress, and achievable goals- any business owner or manager understands both the value and the importance of these. If you aren’t setting goals, you aren’t going to hit milestones. If you aren’t setting goals, you aren’t going to experience growth. If you aren’t setting goals, nothing is going to change.
It’s just as Larry Page, co-founder of Google, says in his introduction to Measure What Matters: “…good ideas with great execution are how you make magic. And that’s where OKRs come in.”
Understanding an OKR
OKR’s are Objectives and Key Results, which is a method for setting a series of goals within an organization, that can produce visible results and are concrete enough to be measured. The Objectives are designed to be long-term goals set by a company, and the manner in which a company is able to achieve those goals. For example, perhaps a company wants to grow its client base, thus setting their Objective. The key results have to them be the quantifiable, realistic, yet challenging targeted results that demonstrate progress toward that goal. Generally, there are maybe five Key Results established to meet an objective.
It’s crucial that these be measurable goals. For example, if the Objective is to increase a company’s client base, then that company might set the following actionable Key Results: call 100 potential clients a month, launch 5 marketing campaigns, and gain 50 new followers on Twitter a month. While not all Key Results have numbered goals set within them (50 followers, 100 phone calls, etc), this does help to establish the types of measurable goals that need to be set.
John Doerr explains Objectives even more simply, “An objective…is simply what is to be achieved, no more and no less. By definition, objectives are significant, concrete, action oriented, and (ideally) inspirational. When properly designed, they’re a vaccine against fuzzy thinking- and fuzzy execution.”1 They help a company protect themselves from weak ideas and weak processes. They strengthen the dedication of an employee, which in turn strengthens the company itself. Even with this definition, you can see why OKR planning is not an easy feat. An employer has to establish what direction they want to head, how fast they want to get there, and how they’re going to get there.
Dooer furthers his explanation, introducing Key Results as a means to “…benchmark and monitor how [a company] gets to the objective. Effective KRs are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic. Most of all, they are measurable and verifiable. (As prize pupil Marissa Mayer would say, ‘It’s not a key result unless it has a number.’)”1 Key Results are like the map and your Objective is the treasure chest at the end. You need to take specific routes, at certain times, and plan your route out in order to find it in a timely and efficient manner. They need to be goals that you and your employees can clearly set and meet.
From Corporate Giants to New Startups: OKRs Produce Results
First off, past history: the setting of OKRs has had proven results from major companies worldwide, from Google and a multitude of other Silicon Valley companies, to LinkedIn, to Amazon. If a concept or idea is used and appreciated from some of the biggest companies in the world, that really is the first telling sign of it’s effectiveness. Large companies with numerous employees need ways to keep all employees on track and to monitor their growth with the company. OKR planning is an efficient and proven method to align the goals of a company, regardless of how large they are. It can be easy to delegate tasks based on company-wide goal setting, and allows different sectors or different employees to understand their role when it comes to those goals. There’s an accountability established for even those who have smaller roles within the company.
And yet, OKRs also have a solid foundation within small companies and startups. The point and purpose of a startup is to grow and expand as a business. Different businesses, different products, different services, different niches, different marketing, different sizes, same goal- expand. Especially when it comes to smaller companies and startups, OKRs are a definitive way for a business to see concrete changes and take necessary actions.
Finding Profit.co: Setting Your OKR’s
Setting these objectives and goals can be a challenge, but luckily there are services out there that help specifically with OKR planning. There are even companies who provide specific OKR software to help you set, manage, and track your Objectives as well as your Key Results.
Setting unrealistic goals not only sets a company up for failure before they even start, but it also will prove to have been a waste of time to try to reach it in the first place. Setting Key Results that can’t be definitively measured means you’ll likely struggle to establish where on the scale you lie, and either you’ll end up inaccurately establishing where you stand, or you’ll stop trying to follow it entirely.
Perhaps you know what Objectives you want, but aren’t sure what Key Results will get you there, or you know your Objectives and your Key Results, but struggle to identify the numbers needed to set those goals. Perhaps, you don’t even know where to start with your OKR planning. There’s a reason why so many companies seek outside support in establishing these for their company. If you really take your business progress seriously, it’s a wise choice to bring in outside help who wants to see you succeed, but will be honest with you on how to set those goals and objectives.
This is where Profit.co, comes into play. Profit.co is an enterprise Objectives and Key Results platform, integrated with task management. As a professional company, Profit.co brings professional software to a business to help them focus on their goals, objectives, and expectations, measure their progress and execution across those different goals and objectives, and achieve success as a result of hitting those measurable goals.
How Profit.co Works for You
Profit.co provides standard templates to users of its OKR software to ease the process and provide a starting base for their clientele. Still new to OKRs and need a little extra support and guidance? Profit.co offers “OKR University”, a thorough resource to clients offering information on anything from a basic explanation of OKR to its purpose, as well as targeted information like OKRs for your different teams: Marketing, Sales, Engineering, Finance, or Operations. OKRs become far more manageable once we understand what it is each team might need to know or accomplish.
Companies and businesses can create Objective and Key Results at any level of an organization, so while you might have different teams working on meeting different specific key results, Profit.co will work to ensure there is still complete alignment of those OKRs across the entire organization. While the Marketing team is working to create five new campaigns to increase client outreach, perhaps Sales is working to convert buyers into repeat buyers, or operations is working to conduct follow-up phone calls.
It also allows a managing team to focus on how performance is conducted across various platforms and sectors within that company, so it becomes more visible how individual employees are performing when it comes to the objectives and key results. Profit.co also promotes alignment and communication with management specifically, as performance is boosted with less individual effort. With the capability to monitor and track OKRs as they progress, your business can review the team’s alignment and how well they’re progressing in this area of growth.