What are Objective and Key Results (OKRs)

The concept of Objective and Key Result is a real buzz around the globe. It is the module for goal-setting that helps in increasing the productivity of the company. In the context of this very new topic (OKRs), I would like to draw the attention of readers on what is OKRs, what are its objectives and concepts, the process involved in OKRs, the major challenges, and its success story.


The objective and key result is a qualitative measure of goal-setting that helps the organization to attain its ultimate goal. The best part of this is, its objective cycle is agile and can be amended in accordance with the company's need. It enables the organization to create its own goal structure without mandatory rules piling in. The simplicity and transparency of this process help the organization in better alignment which eventually contributes to the growth of the organization. This concept of OKRs is so flexible that it can be easily applied to any organization ranging from start-ups to big enterprises. It helps the company to keep the thing on the right track with the proper focus having a quarterly evaluation of the same. Every goal that is predetermined focuses on 3-4 objectives, that need to be prioritized within the given time frame. OKRs always aims at a larger picture, incorporates both smaller and larger goals through the hierarchical process. In the words of John Doerr- By clearing the line of sight to everyone's objective, OKRs exposes redundant efforts and saves time and money.

Objective and key results(OKRs)

Why objective and key result needed

As stated above, the Objective and key result area is the goal setting framework which helps in enhancing the company's productivity. Every company has a mission and vision well placed and is actively working behind every action taken in an organization. But why not every company able to achieve the same amount of success and that too at the same equivalent pace? The answer to this is very simple either they miss to frame goals properly or they miss on aligning their effort with it. To achieve sustainable growth, the company now need to be very focused and move at an accelerated speed. No organization can afford to compromise on effective goal setting and its evaluation. In this context what situation demands are an effective goal setting with structured prioritization, proper evaluation along with flexible company compatible goals. Paying heeds to the arising situation the concept of OKRs come into action. This concept was first initiated by the Intel when they were about to transit their business to the microprocessor. This appears to be a massive success and "Intel inside" came into existence. The concept of OKRs help every individual recognize their action having a measurable impact. After that in 1999, John Doerr of Google applied it and it's still in action giving awesome results. After Google, many companies followed and adopted it to avail the massive success out of OKRs.

How OKRs work in any organization

The process of OKRs is very simple and measurable. The very first thing is to set a goal. The process of goal setting constitutes of two steps- (1) what are the objectives and the second one what are the key areas to achieve these objectives. After the goals have been decided its delegated as progress roll-ups. Every individual, department, and organization have their individual goals. And each action is measurable and interdependent. This objective cycle is aligned well and includes KRA and KPI within it. After goal setting is in its place and target is made in accordance with the time frame, its time to update the process and bring in a cross-functional collaboration which may align the whole organization to achieve the ultimate growth. Well after all action is taking place evaluation is must to know if things are in the right direction or not. For this very purpose, the tracking of performance come into the scene. OKRs focuses on the concept of stretch goals that during evaluation if 70% of the target is achieved, it is considered to be good and if 100% target is achieved, it is considered the goal was not ambitious and have a fault. It focuses on pushing an individual to give his best in the stipulated time frame. Grading of the performance is done on the parameter of 1-10 and on the basis of this feedback is given and archived for future reference.

Objective and key results(OKRs)

Sucess story of OKRs

Well, the concept of OKRs is existing since decades but the popularity of its usage came into the limelight since 2013. Google has been the foundation proof for the efficiency of OKRs. They have been using it since 1999. In 2013, Rick Klua published detail on how Google sets its goal through OKRs. And this inspired many companies back to back for adopting and implementing the same in their organization. Google adopted it when they constitute a small team of 40 people. And they were successful to increase their employee base from 40 to 70000. And in this whole journey, the process of goal setting and achieving was always OKRs. After Google LinkedIn also applied the concept of OKRs and they embrace it. For them its the key tool communicating every employee" what really matters"and they are able to prioritize things better. Besides these two companies, many organization follow and adopted OKRs, to name some in this list are- Spotify, Twitter, Airbnb, Walmart, Target, The Guardian, etc.

Wrap up

OKRs with the time evolved as an indispensable part for any organization. Its applicability is growing day by day and from startups to a big organization looking forward to avail benefits from it. It is transparent, flexible and promotes high ambition which provides vigorous focus and better alignment. Further, it invites innovation, every organization to its need can set goals. The future holds the applicability and experience of OKRs by a different organization in a different cultural and organizational setup.

The concept of OKRs is invited with an open heart in the contemporary industrial world. It seems like a source to provide a boom in growth to all industries. Recent statistics say 67% of the companies in the world are ready to review their performance management system and in that, one must have is the way the goals are set. They believe that by implementing OKRs, a systematic attainable goal can be laid and this will direct for better alignment and eventually target strategic growth of the company. The only constrain it holds is on the part of the organization. If an organization fails to identify the objective clearly with respect to time then the cross-functional aspect will fail miserably. So a leader must allocate proper attention demarcating objectives and key result areas for the same. If things are laid properly on the very first step OKRs are the key to successful alignment along with superb cross-functional collaboration. Hence the objective and key result areas have the potential to bring in positive change. It can be one of the major elements influencing how an organization works, coordinate and compete with each other. In coming years OKRs will be part of every organization and the globe will able to experience its diversified and impacting result all over.


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