what it is and how to implement the objectives and key results methodology – WAU
Planning and executing are tasks that seem very simple on paper, but in reality are complex. So much so that the search for management tools and methodologies seems endless. Another extreme is to think that there is no need to worry about efficient management when the business is profitable. In fact, this is one of the […]
Planning and executing are tasks that seem very simple on paper, but in reality are complex.
So much so that the search for management tools and methodologies seems endless.
Another extreme is that there is no need to worry about efficient management when the business is profitable.
In fact, this is one of the main reasons for the lack of consistency in so many small and medium-sized companies – something that makes them too dependent on the pace of the market and, ultimately, drives many businesses into bankruptcy.
But, thinking about strengthening the operation and scaling up the business, it is essential to seek a solid management model that can be easily applied.
The Objectives and Key Results (OKRs, English term meaning “key objectives and results”) meet this need.
Learn everything you need to know to implement the methodology that can define your company’s future!
What is OKR
OKR is a management methodology that was created by former Intel CEO Andrew Grove and aims to simplify the way of facing the so-called “objectives and key results”, that is, the main objectives of a company.
You can be sure that the method works, since it has been used at Google since 1999.
The company, which at the time had only 40 people, now has more than 60,000 of the best professionals in the world, spread across different parts of the globe.
This also proves that OKR can be implemented in both SMEs and multinational corporations with the same efficiency and transparency.
How the OKR methodology works
The name OKR was not created just to serve with jargon, but it is directly related to the way the methodology works.
See what each element of the name means and how they complement each other:
The objectives present a clear direction of what the company intends to achieve.
Each objective can be formulated not only to make it clear what to look for, but also to keep everyone engaged in the mission in question.
Some simple examples of goals that would keep everyone on the team informed and engaged are:
- become a market authority;
- offer spectacular customer support;
- scale sales considerably.
All of these targets are clear and specific and leave no doubt what the focus should be.
But they still depend on something to be accomplished: key results…
Without this part of the planning, it would be very difficult to achieve the objectives initially proposed.
After all, it would be very difficult to measure objectively and precisely how spectacular the support is, for example.
The key results they serve as a parameter to determine how close the company is to achieving a goal.
In other words, they are smaller goals that directly help in achieving the main target.
For you to understand better, we will use the same objectives mentioned before, but this time with the help of key results:
Objective # 1: become authority in the market.
- KR # 1: ranking 1st on Google for a specific keyword;
- KR # 2: reach 10,000 subscribers in the newsletter;
- KR # 3: form 5 successful co-marketing partnerships;
- KR # 4: Increase by 50% the number of customers who knew the company through digital channels.
Objective # 2: offer spectacular customer support.
- KR # 1: decrease the number of support requests by 40% using self-service;
- KR # 2: keep the Net Promoter Score average above 50;
- KR # 3: halve ticket response times on any channel;
- KR # 4: keep the resolution rate at least 95%.
Objective # 3: scale sales considerably.
- KR # 1: double the number of leads generated per month;
- KR # 2: decrease the sales cycle by 20%;
- KR # 3: send 80% of the most qualified leads to the bottom of the funnel;
- KR # 4: increase revenues by 25% with upsell and by-products.
Did you notice how each main objective has several secondary goals that lead to it?
And how can they be measured much more accurately and reliably?
One last tip:
Have ambitious goals.
If it is too easy to achieve your OKRs, you need to bet on bigger ideas that will make the company realize its maximum potential.
How to structure the OKR methodology in 6 steps
Despite knowing that the OKR methodology is very practical and direct, it is not enough to think about objectives, key results and think that the strategy is ready.
It is necessary to follow a series of important steps, which guarantee the smooth functioning of the methodology and greatly facilitate its adoption among all company employees.
See what these steps are and why they make such a difference in the process as a whole:
1. Set clear and specific goals
As seen in the examples, there is no room for unnecessary complications in OKR.
Set clear and specific goals, both for primary objectives and for key results.
This will leave all employees aligned and motivated to achieve what has been established.
2. Divide the goals between top-down and bottom-up
An important point of OKR is that objectives should not be set entirely by leaders and managers.
Before, they make up 40% of OKRs, and the rest is defined by the team.
The idea behind this is to involve everyone in creating the goals and ensuring that everyone’s eyes are useful in the process.
3. Set reasonably short deadlines
The goals of OKRs cannot be too long, as this complicates the process and undermines its efficiency.
With that in mind, set reasonably short deadlines, like every quarter.
This will help to maintain a sense of urgency, while giving enough time for everyone to do their job and the tactics applied have an effect.
4. Follow the results steadily
The monitoring of results needs to be constant, both due to the shorter deadlines and to ensure the consistency of the work.
Evaluating the results obtained on a weekly basis is a good way, as it allows for quick adjustments, but it also does not suffocate the professionals involved with a pressure to analyze data daily.
5. Make OKRs visible to everyone
Transparency is the starting point for a successful OKR strategy.
If everyone should share the same goals and aspirations, there is no better way to do this than by letting everyone know about the results.
The goal should not be to pressure employees to get results more quickly, but to keep them informed and ensure that the process is clear to everyone.
6. Don’t confuse efforts and results
The effort may be maximum, but what needs to be analyzed are the results.
If everyone is working hard and the results are not coming, chances are they are doing something wrong.
That is why it is so important to focus on metrics, and not just on the feeling of unity and collective effort as a way of quantifying everyone’s dedication.
How measuring results can be part of the company’s culture
It is clear that the measurement of results is central to the OKR methodology – which, for many people, is not so important to do.
The thought that management is about people, not just data, may have a poetic background, but it does not reflect reality.
Peter Drucker himself, one of the main references in the world when it comes to management, used to say:
If you can’t measure, you can’t manage.
The fact is that tracking metrics and analyzing data does not mean letting go of the human side of the organization.
On the contrary, acting on data makes it possible to make more just decisions and create a more pleasant and collaborative environment.
Therefore, here are some simple tips to implement a culture of measuring results in your company:
Divide to conquer
One of the OKRs’ proposals is to break a big goal into several smaller goals.
Do this too with data tracking.
Divide metrics between different professionals, give them the training they need to keep up with them, and keep an eye on their work.
Just be sure to centralize all data to ensure that any employee can understand exactly how the team is performing.
Make the practical value of measuring results clear
Explain to your employees what the use of the collected data will be and why the business cannot do without it.
It is likely that, seeing how analyzing the results will positively affect the collective and individual performance, everyone will feel more comfortable with the idea and work harder to make the analysis of results part of the day to day.
Use data to improve processes and generate feedback
There is no greater motivator than showing, in practice, how the evaluation of results contributes to making processes more agile.
It is also worth using the information collected to generate feedback and help each employee to improve their work.
It is possible that, at first, the idea of evaluating results sounds like a way to increase the charge on employees.
Show them that the end result is just the opposite: helping everyone to perform better and with less stress.
This will undoubtedly help to create a culture of measuring results in your company and will make it easier to implement OKR successfully.
The OKR methodology is the perfect approach for companies looking to optimize their management models and scale their business in a simple way, without sinking into the complexity of various current methods.
So, now follow the tips seen here and reach your goals without depending on chance.
Another methodology that can help your company to be more productive and efficient is agile marketing. Learn all about it to better manage your projects!