Have you ever wondered why OKRs (short for Objectives and Key Results) have become so popular recently? Well, 61% of managing directors and strategy leaders acknowledge that their companies often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation.
If your team is struggling to put your strategy into action, OKRs could be the perfect solution. Good OKRs help you and your team single out the most important areas to focus on and align teams on achieving shared business goals.
Explained below is everything you need to know about the benefits of OKRs for setting and implementing strategy, and how to start using OKRs within your team.
The OKR framework is a goal-setting methodology. It is composed of an Objective or goal, plus a series of Key Results that are used to measure progress and determine whether or not the team is on track.
An example Objective might be for a company to sell $1 million in bookings in the next year.
A Key Result for your sales team, in this case, would be to increase the number of deals from 500 to 1,000, each worth $1,000, by December 31.
Another Key Result for your marketing team might be to increase the number of qualified leads from 5,000 to 10,000.
And such Key Results could be assigned to different functional teams, where each team would be contributing to the company’s Objective.
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With different teams driving progress on their teams’ Key Results, your company Objective would be moving forward accordingly. Such an OKR hierarchy gives more visible, transparent, and up to date everyday progress. Only if teams do what's best for the whole company, and employees do what's best for the team based on that, true success arises.
And that’s just the first OKR benefits you can spot for now. Let’s dive deeper to figure out more of what the OKR approach can offer…
Why OKRs? Here Are 8 Reasons to Start Using Them
Are you on the fence about using OKRs to increase your team’s engagement and strategic alignment yet? Do you keep asking yourself “Why are OKRs important?”
If so, here are some benefits and OKR results that might convince you:
1. Create a Clear Focus
Why use OKRs? For starters, they help you create a clear focus for your team and the company as a whole.
When setting quarterly OKRs and defining your areas of focus you are recommended to choose only one Objective per team and 2-3 Key Results to support the Objective. With this, you simply can’t spread yourself too thin and have to think in advance of what’s the most critical area to improve or fix during the next 3 months and allocate the most efforts to.
2. Set Structured Goals to Align Activities
OKRs also make it easier for you to set structured goals and align activities across the entire organization.
They help various teams and departments to ensure their goals don’t overlap. They also encourage company-wide collaboration by providing insight into what everyone else is working on and how they’re monitoring progress.
When thinking of activity, each team would have to double-check how this or that OKR Initiative contributes to the team’s Key Result and if it’s worth pursuing it.
3. Connect Daily Tasks with the Bigger Picture
It can be easy to let daily tasks and responsibilities overshadow the team’s (and the company’s) overarching goals. However, with the help of OKRs, you can ensure that team members are consistently working toward these big objectives — while also making sure the day-to-day tasks that keep the company running smoothly are still being accomplished.
Within the OKR process, you can use Weekly Plans – tasks that you pick to deliver within a week that you think will drive your Key Results forward. Every week you’ll also get a chance to discuss your Weekly Plan during the OKR check-in and see your current OKR status and set new priority plans for next week.
4. Prioritize Weekly Plans
The better you and your employees are at prioritizing weekly plans and tasks, the easier it is to make sure you’re on track toward accomplishing your primary objectives.
OKRs help you to see which tasks need the most attention. They also prevent distractions and ensure you don’t let anything important fall by the wayside.
5. Track and Measure Progress
OKRs provide a clear way for you and your team to measure progress. Because you’ve identified the Key Results right from the start, you’ll be able to tell how close you are to accomplishing your goals.
There’s no guesswork with this approach, which also means that everyone on your team is held accountable. No one can fudge the numbers, so to speak, or misrepresent how they’re doing with a particular assignment.
6. Enhance Weekly Team Meetings and Quarterly Company Updates
Whether you’re holding a weekly team meeting or a quarterly company meeting, OKRs make these sessions more meaningful.
OKRs help you to explain exactly how you’re doing when it comes to achieving a specific goal. They also help you to provide visuals that back up your reports and ensure everyone is on the same page.
7. Delegate Ownership
OKRs can help team leaders to delegate ownership and spread accountability across the entire team. When teams are responsible for setting their OKRs, they are also more motivated to achieve the moonshots they set and brainstorm more ideas on how to hit the KRs.
Combined with 1:1 team meetings and weekly check-ins, OKRs keep everyone in the loop. There’s more transparency with OKRs. This allows all team members to be responsible for their progress and saves you from having to micromanage them.
8. Lead Growth, Improvement, and Innovation
Implementing the OKR hierarchy and framework into your team’s goal-setting practices creates a company culture of constant growth, improvement, and innovation.
OKRs increase engagement and motivation. They keep everyone consistently working toward accomplishing individual, team, and company goals as well.
How to Use OKRs
Are you convinced that OKRs are a good tool to improve your company’s progress towards goals? If so, the next step is to understand OKR best practices so you can see the greatest results when you start using them.
There are two main ways to use OKRs: OKR spreadsheets and OKR software:
OKR spreadsheets can be useful when you’re first getting started. They can help you figure out a basic framework and get comfortable with the OKR process.
Many people find, though, that the standard spreadsheet tools (such as Google Sheets or Xcel) are too complex. You also have to input everything manually when you use these programs, which isn’t ideal for busy team leaders or employees.
OKR software offers a variety of features for teams and team leaders. This includes easy-to-read dashboards for simple progress tracking and weekly check-in scheduling to ensure everyone is on the same page.
OKR software is the perfect solution to the challenges presented by OKR spreadsheets.
Start Using the OKR Approach Today
Now that you know more about why OKRs work, are you interested in using OKR management software for your team?
To learn more about the OKR system, Weekdone — one of the top OKR software options — provides lots of valuable resources.