Are You Sure You Want to Use OKRs?

And can you? They look simple, but looks deceive.

Cover of Radical Focus
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Let’s start with the basics.

The objective is qualitative and aspirational and key results are measurable signs the objective has been met. You want qualitative and quantitative goals in order to inspire people who are motivated by vision and people who are motivated by numbers. No, Making 20 million dollars can’t be your OKR. No, your boss’ key result can’t be your objective. That defeats the point.

OKRs make important but not urgent efforts happen. Image from Radical Focus.
A pipeline (Image from Radical Focus)

Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse

I know everyone wants results yesterday, but that won’t lead to sustainable success.

Learn More

Using OKRs to Increase Organizational Learning

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  1. I do consult occasionally, but my day gig is teaching at Stanford. And I love it!
  2. Contribution is not the same as “making your OKRs.” Did this person make smart choices and stay focused on moving the numbers? Did they gain traction? Did they learn what not to do?
    And not everyone can contribute to OKRs, so you will need something more than “making OKRs” to evaluate them on.
  3. This is less a rule than a guideline. Slow moving companies in research or medicine may not have any goals they can meet in three months. I have a way to deal with that also.
  4. Perhaps I should say, do it the Radical Focus way before editing. The methodology in Radical Focus is based on science and lots of evidence from the many years I’ve been working with OKRs. (2011 is when I first learned how to do them.) Best practices first, then your practices.



Designing business, and the business of design.

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