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Companies from Google to Intel will start 2019 year with audacious and measurable goals called OKRs, detailed in investor John Doerr’s bestseller, Measure What Matters. The goal-setting strategy is a tool Doerr first learned while working for legendary Silicon Valley pioneer, Andy Grove.
In its simplest form, an “Objective” is what the company [or individual] strives to achieve. The objective is what you want to accomplish. Objectives are bold and aspirational. The key results are how you’re going to get it done. The results should be specific, measurable, time-bound and short (3 to 5 maximum).
For example, the Objective of an NFL head coach might be: Win the Super Bowl. The coach’s Key Results might include:
-Amass 300 passing yards per game
-Defense allows fewer than 17 points per game
-Special teams unit ranks in top 3 punt-return coverage
The Objective sets the direction while the Key Results provide succinct, specific and measurable actions to reach the Objective. Without clear and consistent communication, however, the tool fails.
Leaders must explain the why (objective) as well as the what (results) according to Doerr. “Yet by their own admission, two of three companies fail to communicate their top-line goals consistently,” Doerr writes.
Motivating a team requires more than hitting milestones. People are “thirsty for meaning, to understand how their goals relate to the mission.” Effective leaders communicate top-line objectives clearly, concisely and consistently. Only when a leader gets tired of repeating the objective will people begin to hear it.
For example, in 2008, the Google founders wrote an attention-grabbing OKR: Make the web as fast as flipping through a magazine. According to Doerr, an early Google investor, “It inspired the whole company to think harder about how we could make things better and faster.” Quarterly metrics don’t inspire people to innovate; audacious goals do.
Communication is the secret to making OKRs successful. According to Doerr, OKRs are more attainable with conversations, feedback and recognition.
Today’s employees want constant feedback from their managers. “They want to discuss their goals on a regular basis, share them with others and track progress from peers,” writes Doerr, who recommends that a manager’s feedback be specific. For example: “You did a great job with the presentation. You really grabbed their attention with your opening anecdote, and I loved how you closed with next action steps.”
Communication and recognizing the achievement of milestones is also part of the strategy. According to Doerr, “OKR platforms are custom-built for peer-to-peer recognition.” Since the quarterly and weekly goals are transparent to everyone on the team, it’s a natural excuse to “celebrate big wins and smaller triumphs” as a group. “Every cheer is a step toward operating excellence, the crowning purpose of OKRs.”
At Intel, Doerr recalls that Andy Grove posted his team’s personal OKRs on the outside of their cubicles for everyone to see. Grove always believed that a manager’s role is help his or her team form a mental picture of what success will look like—and often success was “a single phrase that everyone can remember.”
Clear directions—everyone striving for the same vivid objective—is “exceedingly important” in the OKR model, says Doerr. If you communicate your 2019 goals clearly and consistently, you’ll have a much better chance to reach them.
December 31, 2018 at 10:31AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs