OKRs have to enable the whole organization to work in the same direction (Alignment), with a common and clear target (Focus), easily measurable (Tracking) 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 provide to organizations. There are several best practices that can be taken into account when implementing OKRs in your organization.
- Simply WHAT you want to achieve.
- Important, concrete and action oriented.
- From 3 to 5 Objectives by person
- They benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective.
- KR should be concise, specific, and measurable.
- KRs typically include hard numbers
- From 2 to 5 Key Results by Objective.
Let’s see it with an example:
- Improve Sales Team satisfaction
- Define Team Building Activities plan by April
- Coaching of key people in the Sales team by May
- Team building activities Q1 plan execution
- 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 ask for Bottom-Up objectives
Setting Top-Down objectives will ensure that the organization is totally aligned with Company Goals. And asking for Bottom-Up objectives will leverage the commitment, innovation, and knowledge of every person in your organization to reach your goals.
A good balance between both types of objectives is key for OKRs implementation success. A best practice is set at least 50%-60% of the objectives Top-Down.
In order to guarantee alignment in the organization, any sort of objective has to be related to the Company Goal in some way: it could be related directly to 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.
In this way the whole organization will be aligned with the Company goal and the Main Objectives.