Product management, Leadership

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

A goal-setting framework used to measure and track progress towards achieving specific objectives.

Relevant metrics: OKR Adoption Rate, Alignment Rate, OKR Completion Rate, OKR Update Frequency, Goal Achievement Rate, Performance Improvement, Agility and Adaptability, and Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

In this article

What is Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a goal-setting framework that helps organizations define, communicate, and measure their strategic Objectives. This management methodology enables companies to align teams, prioritize initiatives, and track progress toward their goals. OKRs consist of two main components: Objectives and Key Results.

  1. Objectives. Objectives are high-level, qualitative statements that outline the strategic goals an organization wants to achieve within a specific timeframe, usually a quarter or a year. They should be clear, inspirational, and aligned with the company’s vision and mission. Objectives provide direction and help set priorities for teams and individuals within the organization.
  2. Key Results. Key Results are specific, measurable outcomes that, when achieved, will indicate the successful completion of the Objective. Key Results are usually quantifiable and should have a clear target value or milestone. They act as indicators to measure progress and determine whether the Objective has been met.

The OKR framework encourages organizations to set ambitious goals and focus on continuous improvement. OKRs promote transparency and collaboration, as they are usually shared across the entire organization, allowing everyone to see how their work contributes to the company’s overall Objectives.

In practice, OKRs are set at various levels within an organization: company-wide, departmental, team, and individual. This hierarchy ensures alignment and helps cascade strategic goals throughout the organization. Regular check-ins and progress updates are essential to keep teams on track and enable them to adjust their efforts as needed to achieve their OKRs.

Where did Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) come from?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) originated in the 1970s at Intel, a leading semiconductor manufacturer. The framework was developed by Andy Grove, who was the company’s CEO and co-founder at the time. Grove introduced the OKR concept in his management training sessions to help employees align their efforts and focus on achieving strategic goals.

The idea of OKRs gained more popularity when John Doerr, a former Intel employee, became a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins. In 1999, Doerr introduced the OKR framework to Google, which was an early-stage startup at the time. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founders, adopted OKRs to help manage the company’s growth and maintain focus on their priorities.

Since then, OKRs have been widely adopted by various tech companies, startups, and other organizations across different industries. The success of Google and other companies that implemented OKRs has made the framework a popular management tool for setting and achieving goals, driving alignment, and promoting transparency within organizations.

How to set Objectives and Key Results

Setting Effective Objectives

When choosing your Objectives, aim high to get the most out of your OKR cycles. Objectives should be inspiring and break new ground, rather than maintaining the status quo. Avoid Objectives that use phrases like “keep doing” or “maintain” and instead focus on pushing boundaries and exploring new territory.

  • Maintain Focus and Clarity. Limit your Objectives to 3-5 in order to strike a balance between variety and focus. Providing enough options allows employees to contribute to the company vision in their own way, but too many Objectives can lead to confusion or misalignment. Ensure your Objectives are specific and concise, making them easy to recall and understand.
  • Communicate and Collaborate. Once your Objectives are set, clarify and communicate them with your company. Encourage managers and employees to share their reactions, ideas, and concerns to identify ambiguities and address misgivings. Be open to making adjustments if necessary, fostering collaboration and buy-in from your team.
  • Track Progress and Celebrate Success. Track your Objectives and acknowledge accomplishments. Aiming for a 60-70% completion rate strikes a balance between challenging Objectives and recognizing your team’s hard work. At the end of each OKR cycle, gather feedback on the Objectives and discuss improvements for the next cycle. This ongoing feedback loop helps to refine your approach and reminds everyone that OKRs are a continuous work in progress, rather than a one-time effort.

Crafting Impactful Key Results

Key Results are milestones that indicate progress towards your Objectives. To ensure they are easily measurable, always incorporate numbers, whether in the form of percentages, due dates, or other numerical representations. Quantifiable measurements reduce ambiguity when assessing progress.

  • Focus and Balance. Limit your Key Results to about three per objective, or up to five depending on your team size and objective. This prevents them from becoming an overwhelming to-do list, and helps maintain focus on the priorities essential for achieving each objective.
  • Challenge and Completion. Key Results should pose a challenge for teams to tackle, testing their resourcefulness and aptitude. Strive for a 60-70% completion rate, striking a balance between pushing boundaries and recognizing progress.
  • Outcome-Oriented Approach. Ensure your Key Results emphasize outcomes rather than processes. Avoid using continuous actions like “get advice” or “help trainee” and instead focus on finite outcomes, such as “hold meetings with two financial advisors.” This approach provides a clearer vision of what needs to be accomplished without detracting from the necessary steps to achieve it.
  • Tangible Evidence. Lastly, consider whether your Key Results will yield tangible evidence of progress. For example, opting for Key Results like “hold meetings with two financial advisors” may result in emails, invoices, and calendar entries that demonstrate progress, whereas more abstract Key Results may not offer concrete proof of achievement.

Activities: The Missing Piece in OKRs

While the OKR framework provides a powerful way to align goals and track progress, it might seem incomplete without addressing the “A” for activities. As organizations adopt the OKR methodology, distinguishing between Objectives, Key Results, and activities becomes crucial for success.

Introducing the “A” in OKRs

Activities, also called initiativies, represent the projects, tasks, experiments, campaigns, and research that contribute to achieving Key Results. They form the foundation of your efforts and directly impact your progress toward meeting Objectives. However, activities are often overlooked or mistakenly incorporated as Key Results, leading to confusion when implementing OKRs.

To effectively utilize the OKR framework, it’s essential to understand the relationship between Objectives, Key Results, and activities. Objectives serve as overarching goals, while Key Results act as measurable milestones that gauge progress. Beneath each key result, activities take place that directly contribute to achieving the desired outcomes.

Though most of the literature on OKRs focus on Objectives and Key Results, it’s essential to recognize the role of activities in the overall structure. By clearly defining and differentiating between especially Key Results and activities, it becomes much easier to set outcome-based Key Results.

Examples of real life Objectives and Key Results

One thing is theory, antoher is practise. To aid your understanding of how OKRs defined for a quarterly cycle might look, here’s an example for a fictitious online mentor platform for Product Managers.

Objective 1: Increase User Engagement on the Mentoring Platform

Key Result 1.1: Achieve a 15% increase in the average number of sessions per user per month

Possible activities for KR 1.1:

  • Implement a personalized content recommendation system
  • Offer exclusive webinars and workshops for users
  • Send targeted email reminders and updates to re-engage inactive users

Key Result 1.2: Improve user retention rate by 10%

Possible Activities for KR 1.2:

  • Develop and launch a mentor-mentee matching feature based on user preferences
  • Create a user onboarding program to guide new users through the platform
  • Gather user feedback and make necessary improvements to the platform

Key Result 1.3: Boost the average time spent on the platform by 20%

Possible Activities for KR 1.3:

  • Create and publish high-quality, engaging articles and resources for Product Managers daily
  • Introduce gamification elements to encourage users to complete tasks and challenges
  • Optimize the platform’s user interface and user experience for better engagement

Objective 2: Expand the Mentor Network for the Platform

Key Result 2.1: Increase the number of active mentors on the platform by 50%

Possible Activities for KR 2.1:

  • Implement a referral program to encourage existing mentors to refer new mentors
  • Organize online networking events to attract potential mentors
  • Partner with industry experts and influencers to endorse the platform

Key Result 2.2: Achieve a 90% mentor satisfaction rate

Possible Activities for KR 2.2:

  • Provide ongoing training and support to mentors
  • Establish a mentor recognition and rewards program
  • Implement a mentor feedback system to address concerns and improve the mentoring experience

Key Result 2.3: Increase the number of mentorship sessions completed per month by 30%

Possible Activities for KR 2.3:

  • Introduce flexible scheduling options for mentors and mentees
  • Promote the benefits of mentorship sessions through email campaigns and social media
  • Provide mentors with guidance and resources to enhance the quality of their sessions

Overcoming Challenges in Implementing the OKR Framework

Embarking on implemting OKRs in your organizaiton will inevitably be prone to a number of challenges that needs to be overcome. Here is a list of some of the most common challenges faced:

  • Rolling Out OKRs Company-Wide. Introducing OKRs suddenly across the entire organization can lead to apprehension or resentment. Instead, identify a pilot group with the willingness and self-sufficiency to complete a few efficient OKR cycles. Showcase their success to gain interest from other teams and gradually roll out OKRs over a year.
  • Responding Half-Heartedly to Achievement. Ensure employees don’t feel like they’re constantly falling short by acknowledging that an 80% hit rate is excellent. Adjust the color-coding system to make 70% the cut-off point for completion, and add a bonus color for exceptional achievements.
  • Expecting Consistent Exponential Growth. Understand that it’s not sustainable to expect constant, amazing growth. It’s normal to have less impressive OKR cycles, as teams still gain valuable knowledge and skills.
  • Different Teams Using OKRs in Opposing Ways. Ensure consistency across the organization by having all teams adopt a similar approach to setting goals. Avoid situations where some teams set stretch goals while others choose easy targets, which can lead to resentment and push-back.
  • Leaving OKRs Out of the Conversation. Incorporate OKRs into discussions about propositions, progress, or experiments to solidify their place in the company mindset.
  • Misalignment Within Teams. Set aside time for team members to get to know each other before the OKR cycle begins, in order to mitigate potential tensions.
  • Lack of Team Protocol. Establish standard procedures for addressing disagreements or missed deadlines to reduce misunderstandings and simmering tensions.
  • Trying to Speed Ahead. Resist the temptation to skip meetings and reviews when immersed in OKR tasks. Slow down to analyze each other’s work and maintain group dynamics.
  • Losing Momentum. Timebox planning weeks and remember that troubleshooting can occur in the next cycle. Trust in the value of learning experiences, as a learning company can successfully compete in the marketplace.

OKRs vs. KPIs

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, provide teams with a means to monitor progress within projects and initiatives. KPIs are the metrics that you have chosen to continually monitor as they each represent key metrics that will let you know whether your business is progressing as intended. In that way, KPIs are the metrics you have identified as important where OKRs represent that changes that you would like to see.

OKRs vs KPIs

OKRs focus on strategic changes over operational KPIs. OKRs are by definition not the same as KPIs. Product teams have plenty of data showing the steady state of how things are going through carefully selected KPIs. Focus your OKR efforts on things that you want to change. Using OKRs, we identify what states we want to change and work to define the activities that go into changing it as well as the Key Results it will produce.

That said, employing KPIs is not off the table for your team. In fact, some KPIs can serve as excellent KRs. The following outlines the distinctions between the two and how your team can benefit from both:

Example: Sales forecast doesn’t hold

Let’s take sales forecasts as an example. In sales forecast software you can see the curve. Let’s say that suddenly we start to see a drop in sales. Now sales forecasts is a KPI. The OKR in this particular example is to get that sale and traction back on track again. We might need a number of Key Results to get it back to where it should be.

OKRs vs KPIs

OKR Best practices

Below is a collection of tips and tricks from companies who have successfully implemented OKRs

Select only one OKR

Focusing on a single OKR is crucial for maintaining clarity and prioritizing strategic growth. OKRs should not serve as task lists but should emphasize long-term Objectives. Each department can create its own OKR that aligns with the organization’s primary goal. In cases of multiple business models, more OKRs might be suitable.

In addition to providing focus, having a single OKR allows the organization to allocate resources more effectively. This streamlined approach ensures that every department’s efforts contribute to the overarching objective, reducing the risk of misalignment or wasted resources.

Plan every quarter

Quarterly planning is essential for fostering positive habits and behaviors. Regular periods of focused work and reflection encourage learning and growth within the organization. A predictable cadence allows teams to monitor progress, make adjustments as needed, and remain agile in response to changing circumstances.

This approach also helps maintain momentum as teams work towards their OKRs. By breaking down Objectives into quarterly milestones, organizations can better assess their progress and identify areas that require additional support or resources.

Sequence your OKRs

For initiatives that span multiple quarters, develop “Milestone OKRs” by breaking down the larger objective into smaller, manageable chunks. Determine the appropriate sequence and assess progress to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.

Sequencing OKRs allows organizations to prioritize tasks and allocate resources more effectively. By tackling milestones in a logical order, teams can build on their successes and maintain momentum throughout the initiative.

Ask yourself:

  • How can you break a larger objective into chunks?
  • How would you know you are going in the right direction?
  • Which OKR should you target first?

Combine top-down and bottom-up planning

A successful OKR process involves both leadership guidance and input from employees in various departments. Surveys can help gather insights and suggestions to ensure well-rounded strategies.

By incorporating input from employees at all levels, organizations can identify potential roadblocks, uncover hidden opportunities, and create a more informed, comprehensive strategy. This collaborative approach fosters buy-in from team members and supports a culture of continuous improvement.

A good OKR has a soul

The objective should be inspirational and resonate with employees. Clearly communicate the mission, its importance, and the value it creates for customers and the business. An OKR with a soul makes people feel part of something bigger and more meaningful.

When employees understand the purpose behind their work, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to achieving the organization’s goals. This emotional connection can boost morale, increase productivity, and ultimately contribute to the organization’s success.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s our mission for the next three months?
  • Why is it important?
  • How will it create value for the customers and the business?
  • How will it make people feel part of something bigger?

Do not incentivize OKRs

Incentivizing OKRs can be counterproductive, as it may lead to short-term thinking and a focus on metrics rather than meaningful progress. Instead, prioritize psychological safety, stable income, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

When employees feel secure, valued, and supported in their development, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to achieving the organization’s goals. This approach fosters a healthy work environment and promotes long-term success.

People need to be paid fair, but what motivates them is:

  • Psychological safety (and stable income)
  • Doing something meaningful
  • Growing as professional

Use health metrics

Health metrics serve as a balancing practice for OKRs, ensuring that other critical aspects of the business are not neglected. If a monitored metric turns “red,” address the issue before continuing to work on the OKR.

By tracking health metrics alongside OKRs, organizations can maintain a holistic view of their performance and identify potential issues before they escalate. This approach promotes a proactive mindset and enables teams to address challenges effectively.

Do not force everyone to use OKRs

Recognizing that not all departments require specific OKRs is an essential best practice. Departments such as Legal or Customer Service may not benefit from having distinct OKRs, and instead, they can continue focusing on their core responsibilities while maintaining an awareness of the organization’s priorities.

Forcing OKRs on departments that don’t need them can create unnecessary bureaucracy and hinder their ability to perform their core functions effectively. Instead, it’s crucial to strike a balance between providing a clear strategic direction and allowing departments to operate with the flexibility they need to excel in their specific roles.

In order to ensure these departments remain aligned with the organization’s priorities, communicate the overarching OKRs and the rationale behind them. This understanding will help them prioritize their work accordingly and contribute to the organization’s strategic goals when needed. By keeping them informed and involved, you create a more cohesive and supportive work environment that fosters collaboration across departments.

Ask people to define Key Results

Involving team members in defining Key Results is an essential best practice in the OKR process. As a leader, your role is to provide a clear vision and strategic direction. However, by engaging others in the development of Key Results, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and collaboration within your team.

When employees have a voice in setting Key Results, they are more likely to understand the rationale behind the goals and the specific steps required to achieve them. This inclusiveness promotes a sense of empowerment, as team members feel they are contributing directly to the organization’s success.

Moreover, by tapping into the collective knowledge and expertise of your team, you can make more informed and effective decisions about Key Results. Team members often have valuable insights into the day-to-day challenges, opportunities, and constraints that may not be immediately apparent to leadership. By incorporating these perspectives, you can establish Key Results that are both ambitious and achievable.

Frequently asked questions

Does OKR replace KPI?

No, OKR does not replace KPI. OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal-setting framework, while KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are metrics used to evaluate performance. OKRs focus on setting and achieving ambitious objectives, whereas KPIs help track ongoing performance. Both can be used together to set goals, monitor progress, and measure success in an organization.

Can I change OKRs mid-cycle?

While it’s generally advised to stick to the established OKRs throughout the cycle to maintain focus and alignment, sometimes unforeseen circumstances or significant changes in the business environment may necessitate adjustments mid-cycle. In such cases, it’s acceptable to revise or modify OKRs to better align with the current situation. However, frequent changes to OKRs should be avoided, as they can lead to confusion, reduced productivity, and difficulty in tracking progress.

Who is a contributor and a collaborator in setting OKRs?

In the realm of OKRs, both CEOs and managers can create objectives and key results, while others may contribute to their achievement. There are two primary approaches to assigning contributors to an Objective and Key Result:

  1. The CEO or manager assigns a key result to an individual, designating them as the contributor for that specific KR.
  2. The individual aligns themselves with the OKR(s) of their team member(s).

The Role of the Contributor

A contributor is someone who plays a vital role in the completion and success of a key result. Each contributor has a specific target within the actual KR, and upon achieving this target, the progress is reflected in the parent objective. The parent OKR is updated accordingly as well.

The rolle of Collaborators

Collaborators are typically involved in Team OKRs, where an objective and a key result are assigned to the entire team. However, not all team members are directly responsible for the OKR’s completion. For example, consider a team of four with a Team OKR assigned to them. If two members are designated as contributors, the remaining two members act as collaborators. Although these two collaborators are part of the Team OKR, they do not directly contribute to its achievement.

What is the difference between team OKRs and individual OKRs?

Team OKRs and Individual OKRs serve different purposes and require distinct approaches for effective implementation.

Team OKRs

Team OKRs are objectives and key results assigned to a group of people working together towards a common goal. These OKRs encourage collaboration, collective effort, and shared responsibility for achieving targets.

Approach for Team OKRs:

  1. Engage the entire team in defining and setting OKRs, ensuring everyone understands and agrees on the objectives and key results.
  2. Promote collaboration and open communication among team members, encouraging them to help and support each other in accomplishing the team’s OKRs.
  3. Regularly review team progress and address any roadblocks or challenges collectively, fostering a sense of shared responsibility.
  4. Celebrate team successes and learn from setbacks as a group, strengthening team cohesion and motivation.

Individual OKRs

Individual OKRs are objectives and key results assigned to a single person, focusing on their specific tasks, responsibilities, and professional development within the organization.

Approach for Individual OKRs:

  1. Encourage individuals to set their own OKRs, aligned with the organization’s broader goals and their personal growth objectives.
  2. Provide support, guidance, and resources necessary for the individual to successfully achieve their OKRs.
  3. Regularly review individual progress, offering feedback, mentorship, and opportunities for growth and improvement.
  4. Recognize and reward individual achievements, fostering motivation, and a sense of accomplishment.

The primary difference between Team OKRs and Individual OKRs lies in their focus: Team OKRs emphasize collective goals and collaboration, while Individual OKRs concentrate on personal tasks and professional growth. The approach to each should be tailored accordingly, fostering collaboration for team OKRs and supporting personal development for individual OKRs.

Should OKRs cascade or align within an organization?

OKRs within an organization should align rather than cascade. Alignment ensures that every team and individual works towards common goals and supports the overall mission and vision of the organization. Cascading, on the other hand, involves top-down goal setting, which may not always account for the unique challenges and opportunities faced by teams and individuals.

Let’s consider an example of alignment in an organization focused on improving customer satisfaction:

Example company OKR set

Company level OKR

Objective: Increase customer satisfaction by 20% in the next quarter.
Key Result 1: Reduce average response time for customer inquiries by 50%.
Key Result 2: Increase the number of positive customer reviews by 30%.
Key Result 3: Implement a new customer feedback system.

Marketing Team OKR

Objective: Improve customer engagement through targeted marketing campaigns.
Key Result 1: Increase email open rates by 15%.
Key Result 2: Boost click-through rates on social media posts by 25%.
Key Result 3: Launch a customer referral program.

Customer Support Team OKR

Objective: Enhance customer support experience.
Key Result 1: Decrease the average time to resolve customer issues by 20%.
Key Result 2: Implement a new customer support software to streamline communication.
Key Result 3: Provide training for support team members to improve soft skills and product knowledge.

In this example, the marketing and customer support teams’ OKRs align with the overall company OKR, ensuring that each team contributes to the shared goal of increasing customer satisfaction.

By aligning OKRs across the organization, teams and individuals can better understand how their work impacts the bigger picture and fosters a sense of unity and purpose within the company.

Should your OKRs align with the entire business or the departmental OKRs?

Ideally, your OKRs should align with both the entire business and departmental OKRs. Aligning your OKRs with the broader organizational goals ensures that your work contributes to the company’s mission and vision. At the same time, aligning with departmental OKRs ensures that you are contributing to the specific objectives and priorities of your team or department.

When setting OKRs, consider the following:

  • Company alignment. Ensure that your OKRs are in line with the overall strategic goals of the company. This way, your work will have a clear connection to the larger objectives and will contribute to the company’s success.
  • Departmental alignment. Make sure your OKRs are aligned with your department’s goals and priorities. This will help you work more effectively with your team members, focusing on common goals and ensuring that everyone is working towards the same objectives.

Balancing alignment between company and departmental OKRs will help you stay focused on tasks that are both relevant to your team and contribute to the broader success of the organization. By doing so, you can work more effectively, collaborate better with colleagues, and make a meaningful impact on the company’s overall performance.

How do I involve UX as a strategic part of setting OKRs?

Involving UX as a more strategic part of OKR implementation and strategy can be achieved by incorporating UX goals and metrics into the organization’s overall objectives and key results.

Here are some steps to involve UX more strategically:

  • Create UX-focused objectives. Set objectives that highlight the importance of UX in the organization’s overall strategy. Objectives might include improving user satisfaction, enhancing user engagement, or reducing user pain points.
  • Define UX-related key results. Establish key results that quantify the progress towards UX-focused objectives. Examples of key results might include increasing user satisfaction scores, reducing the number of usability issues, or increasing user retention rates.
  • Align UX OKRs with company OKRs. Ensure that UX objectives and key results align with the broader company goals. This alignment will demonstrate the importance of UX as a strategic function and emphasize its impact on the overall success of the organization.

By incorporating UX as a strategic part of OKR implementation and strategy, organizations can ensure that user experience remains a central focus in decision-making and drives the achievement of broader business goals.

Can OKRs be hypothesis driven?

Yes, the problem your OKRs are solving for can be hypothesis-driven. In fact, having a hypothesis-driven approach can be beneficial for setting objectives and key results that focus on addressing specific challenges or exploring new opportunities. This approach encourages experimentation and learning, which can lead to innovative solutions and improved performance.

When using a hypothesis-driven approach for your OKRs, consider the following:

  • Formulate a clear hypothesis. Clearly state the problem you aim to solve or the opportunity you want to explore. Your hypothesis should be based on an assumption or educated guess that you can test and validate through your OKRs.
  • Set objectives related to the hypothesis. Establish objectives that are directly connected to testing and validating your hypothesis. These objectives should outline the desired outcomes or goals that will indicate whether your hypothesis is valid.
  • Define measurable key results. Identify key results that will help you track the progress towards your objectives and evaluate the validity of your hypothesis. These key results should be quantifiable and time-bound, allowing you to assess the effectiveness of your efforts.
  • Encourage experimentation and learning. Embrace a culture of experimentation and learning throughout the OKR cycle. Encourage team members to test different approaches, gather data, and analyze the results to refine the hypothesis and adapt the strategy as needed.

What are Learning OKRs?

Learning OKRs are a type of OKR that focus on knowledge acquisition, skill development, or discovering new insights and information within a specific domain or area. Learning OKRs emphasize the process of learning and experimentation, rather than solely focusing on achieving predefined outcomes.

These OKRs are particularly useful in situations where an organization or team is venturing into new territory, exploring innovative approaches, or trying to solve complex problems. The primary aim of Learning OKRs is to build a better understanding and gain insights that can inform future strategies and decision-making.

Examples of Learning OKRs

Learning OKRs focus on knowledge acquisition, skill development, and the discovery of new insights. Learning OKRs should emphasize experimentation, exploration, and the acquisition of knowledge to inform future strategies and decision-making.

Here are some examples of Learning OKRs across different domains and industries:

Product Development
Objective: Improve our understanding of customer needs and preferences.
Key Results 1: Conduct 10 in-depth customer interviews per month.
Key Results 2: Analyze feedback from 50 customer support tickets each week.
Key Results 3: Perform 3 usability tests with prototype improvements based on customer feedback.
Objective: Explore new marketing channels to diversify our reach.
Key Results 1: Test 3 new social media platforms and evaluate their potential for our target audience.
Key Results 2: Launch 2 pilot influencer marketing campaigns and measure their impact on lead generation.
Key Results 3: Analyze the performance of 5 different content formats and identify the top 2 for future content marketing efforts.


Objective: Enhance sales team's skills in prospecting and closing deals.
Key Results 1: Organize 2 training sessions on advanced prospecting techniques.
Key Results 2: Have each salesperson complete 10 hours of online sales training within the quarter.
Key Results 3: Increase the average deal size by 15% after implementing new sales techniques.
Human Resources
Objective: Foster a culture of continuous learning and professional growth.
Key Results 1: Implement a learning management system with at least 50% employee engagement.
Key Results 2: Offer 3 company-wide training sessions on topics relevant to our industry.
Key Results 3: Measure a 10% increase in employee satisfaction with learning and development opportunities.

How do I connect OKRs with individual performance evaluations?

You should not directly link OKRs with individual performance evaluations.

When you intertwine the two, teams may set goals that are guaranteed to be achieved, stifling creativity and innovation, which in turn halts product advancement.

Instead, performance management criteria should evolve to align with the values and behavior that OKRs promote, such as empathy, continuous learning, and adaptability.

So, what aspects should you assess your team members on?

Consider evaluating individuals and teams based on their proximity to the customer, their inclination to make data-driven decisions, and their adaptability in changing course according to new insights.

While these may not be traditional assessment criteria, they are essential for nurturing a successful OKR-driven environment.



Google adopted OKRs in its early years when the company was still a startup. The OKR framework has been credited with helping Google align its teams, prioritize strategic objectives, and achieve exponential growth. Google’s OKRs have focused on critical areas like user experience, market share, and revenue generation, all of which have contributed to its impressive profitability.


Intel is often considered the birthplace of OKRs, as the framework was first introduced there by Andrew Grove in the 1970s. The company used OKRs to align its objectives across different departments, leading to improved focus and efficiency. This helped Intel become a dominant player in the microprocessor market and achieve high profitability.


LinkedIn adopted OKRs to streamline its strategic goals and ensure that teams across the organization were aligned and focused on the most important objectives. This approach has helped LinkedIn grow its user base, increase engagement, and expand its revenue streams, leading to enhanced profitability.


Spotify uses OKRs to prioritize its objectives and align teams around common goals. This approach has enabled Spotify to make strategic decisions, such as expanding its market presence and introducing new features and services, contributing to its increasing profitability.


Twitter adopted OKRs to drive growth and improve its financial performance. The company has used OKRs to focus on critical areas like user engagement, platform stability, and revenue generation, leading to increased profitability.

Relevant questions to ask
  • What are the desired outcomes of implementing OKRs?
    Hint The desired outcomes of implementing OKRs are to set clear goals and objectives, and to measure progress and success.
  • How will OKRs help to measure progress and success?
    Hint OKRs will help to measure progress and success by providing a framework for setting and tracking goals.
  • What are the key performance indicators that will be used to measure success?
    Hint The key performance indicators that will be used to measure success will depend on the specific goals and objectives set.
  • How will OKRs be communicated to the team?
    Hint OKRs will be communicated to the team through regular meetings, emails, and other forms of communication.
  • How will OKRs be monitored and adjusted over time?
    Hint OKRs will be monitored and adjusted over time through regular reviews and feedback from team members.
  • What resources are available to support the implementation of OKRs?
    Hint Resources available to support the implementation of OKRs include online tutorials, books, and other materials.
  • How will OKRs be integrated into existing processes and systems?
    Hint OKRs will be integrated into existing processes and systems by aligning them with existing goals and objectives.
  • What are the potential risks associated with implementing OKRs?
    Hint Potential risks associated with implementing OKRs include setting unrealistic goals and objectives, and not having the resources to support them.

You might also be interested in reading up on:

People who talk about the topic of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) on Twitter
Relevant books on the topic of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
  • Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr (2018)
  • Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results by Christina Wodtke (2016)
  • OKR: The Simple Idea that Drives 10X Growth by Paul Niven (2019)
  • OKR: A Practical Guide to Achieving Outstanding Results by Ben Lamorte (2020)
  • OKR: Achieving and Sustaining Extraordinary Results with Objectives and Key Results by Mark C. Layton (2020)

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