OKRs have to enable the whole organization to work in the same direction (Alignment), with a common and clear target (Focus) that is easily measurable (Tracking) and that motivates people to deliver the best of themselves (Stretching).
Focus-Alignment-Tracking-Stretching are the characteristics of good OKRs and as John Doerr defined in his book “Measure What Matters”, the “Superpowers” that OKRs give to organizations. There are several best practices that can be utilized when implementing OKRs within your organization.
- Simply WHAT you want to achieve
- Important, concrete and action oriented
- Between 3 to 5 Objectives per person
- They benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective
- KR should be concise, specific, and measurable
- KRs typically include hard numbers
- Between 2 to 5 Key Results per Objective
Let’s see it in an example:
- Improve Sales Team satisfaction
- Define Team Building Activities plan by April
- Coach key people in the Sales team by May
- Execute the Team building activities plan in Q1
- Run the Employee Satisfaction Survey by mid-June: Employee Satisfaction Index >89%
This objective has been defined for the second quarter of the year (Period) and it has four Key Results, each of them with a Due Date and a Target Result, so therefore totally measurable.
Alignment is key for organizational success. By aligning OKRs, you can set Top-Down or request Bottom-Up objectives
Setting Top-Down objectives ensures that the organization is completely aligned with the Company Goals. On the other hand, asking for Bottom-Up objectives leverages the commitment, innovation, and knowledge of every person in your organization towards the achievement of your goals.
A good balance between both types of objectives is key to OKR implementation success. The best practice is to set at least 50%-60% of the objectives Top-Down.
In order to guarantee alignment in the organization, every objective has to be related to the Company Goal in some way: it could be a direct child of the Company Goal or it could be related to an upper Objective through a parent Key Result. Each objective in the organization has to be related and contribute to another objective through one of its key results.
This way, the whole organization is aligned with the Company goal and Main Objectives.