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Sales performance Jan. 21, 2020

What you should know about OKRs to optimize your business

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You might have heard it around the office, or seen it in an article you happened to be reading, but maybe you have never really wondered how those three letters are useful for you. Well, we are here to start with the basics and introduce you to OKRs. 

The words behind OKR are Objectives and Key Results. These come to represent a company’s main objectives and goals. Although it may sound similar to KPIs, the main difference is that OKRs are more ambitious and tend to be used as inspiration, even though they should still be reachable. 

Each department often has its own OKRs to aspire to, and those can be shared or not with the rest of the departments in the company. However, it’s recommendable that the company’s overall OKR are public so that every team member is aware of them and can guide his/her work in the same direction. 

How to get started with OKRs?

Google was one of the first companies to use OKRs back in 1999, but more and more businesses are deciding to implement it as a metric to measure and visualize success. And now you can do it as well!

The way to start is following two simple steps:

  1. Define your key objectives: determine the time period and the person or team in charge of it. Remember that we are talking about ambitious goals, so don’t be as  accurate as you would be to determine KPIs
  2. Define the results: these will keep you updated on your evolution towards the objectives, so you can have an idea of how close or far you are from achieving it. As it’s an inspirational state of mind, three results should involve hard work and dedication, but not too much so that they are actually impossible to reach. 
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But how many OKRs should I have?

OKRs are a great tool to keep your employees more motivated and oriented towards the main goals, especially if they have easy access to them throughout the period being. Nevertheless, be careful not to overload them with too many objectives, or they most probably get lost trying to prioritise one before another. 

Therefore, the most ideal number would be around 3 to 5 OKRs.

So… who should determine them?

Even though all the company should be aware of the OKRs, not all of them should actually be part of the decision-making process, because there is no one size fits all when it comes to objectives. 

When it comes to the general OKRs for the company, the CEO might need help from the different Heads of Department to set the overall aspiration. Talking about each department, instead, this same Head of Department will be the one leading the conversation, since they are the ones with the broadest overview. This might involve a dialogue with the different employees to get a better insight on everyone’s responsibilities in the team. 

What benefits do I get from having OKRs?

As you already know, OKRs are a simple tool to bring your office together and orient every single employee’s efforts towards common objectives. What else is there to worry about?

If the answer is that you are a busy company, the truth is that it won’t take your managers more than a couple hours to decide on the best objectives for, let’s say, this quarter. Moreover, you can always go back to them and update, change or even downgrade any part that seems to not fit with how the company is evolving. After all, it’s not written in stone!

NATALIA TOBAJAS

Content Manager

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