Using an OKR framework has a stronger impact on your business success than the once a year activity of conducting a business plan review. Underpinning the OKRs with the 3 critical principles discussed here ensures your OKR framework is relevant, achievable, and transformative.
It’s that time of year again. Planning time. As we approach the end of the year, there is a proliferation of articles on annual reviews and planning. Business plans. Strategic plans. Marketing plans. Sales targets.
At the risk of sounding like this is yet another one of those articles – I want to make the case, yet again, for using an OKR framework as part of setting business goals.
I say risk of sounding like those articles because I firmly believe talking about OKRs is different. They flip the planning activity from something passive you do outside your business to something you actively do in the business.
OKRs are a steering activity that helps you implement strategy all year round. The periodic exercise of reviewing and resetting OKRs is a checkpoint of how that is going. A checkpoint done more often than annual.
First a recap on OKRs and how they help your business grow.
OKRs or Objective and Key Results, is a goal setting framework widely used in business and organizations to align and focus teams on achieving overall company objectives.
The primary purpose of OKRs is to articulate and communicate organizational goals, measure progress, and encourage a unified effort towards achieving desired outcomes.
Sometimes developed top down, sometimes bottom up. They cascade through different areas of the company, which each department or team setting the tactics and measurements they will use to contribute to achieving the objective.
They are a great way to crystalize strategic goals and decide on measurable tactics for the near term.
Principles critical to a successful OKR framework.
Like most frameworks, OKRs provide a foundation of principles and guidelines for goal setting. They offer a structure but leave room for customization based on specific needs or circumstances of your business.
- Three critical principles to consider are:
- To align the objectives with strategic priorities.
- Select key results that are measurable and achievable.
Include regular reviews and adaption into the process.
The most effective OKRs are those that directly contribute to the company mission and vision, helping to advance the organization’s overall strategy. Setting cascading OKRS that align with the overarching strategic priorities provides the means to make this happen. This alignment ensures everyone is working toward common goals.
The key results within your OKRs need to be both measurable and achievable. This provides clear indicators of progress and success. Teams have a tangible way to track their performance and can objectively assess whether they’ve met their objectives. Setting realistic but challenging key results promotes motivation and engagement.
OKRS work best when supported by a culture of regular review and adaptation. OKRs are not set in stone; they need to be flexible and responsive to changes in the business. Regular check-ins allow teams to assess progress, identify challenges, and make necessary adjustments. This adaptability is crucial for staying agile and ensuring that OKRs remain relevant throughout the performance period.
Using an OKR framework has a stronger impact on your business success than the once a year activity of conducting a business plan review.
The traditional business planning process often gets looked at once a year, and then filed away in a drawer. The OKR framework becomes an active part of your business culture.
Underpinning the OKRs with the 3 critical principles discussed here ensures your OKR framework is relevant, achievable, and transformative.
The effectiveness of OKRs often depends on the unique characteristics and objectives of each company. Adjustments may be necessary based on the specific challenges faced by your business. Regular feedback and a willingness to learn and iterate are key components of a successful OKR implementation.