OKR (Objectives & Key Results)

okr goal setting and examples

What is an OKR?

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a powerful goal-setting methodology that drives alignment, performance, and results in growing and high-performing companies. At the most basic level, an OKR is a simple tool to align and engage everyone at the company around measurable goals.

OKR is a management goal-setting system and methodology that helps to focus everyone’s efforts on the most important priorities and connects the work of employees to what truly matters at the organization. The OKR methodology is a shared goals system which creates clarity and aligns your organization, connects everyone to your top company goals, increases performance and drives better results.

Think of the objective in OKRs as a “strategic theme,” a broad, overarching, qualitative headline of what is to be achieved. The objective’s key results resemble KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). The key result can be either a metric or a measurable milestone.

Since Google began using OKRs in 1999, this framework has revolutionized goal-setting and has become the standard for aligning company goals with employee goals for the world’s best-performing companies including Linkedin, Oracle, Twitter, Anheuser Busch, BMW, Amazon, and many others.

OKRs are made up of Objectives and Key Results (KRs)

Objectives

An Objective (in OKRs) is a “strategic theme”–it is a qualitative headline, an overarching theme of what you want to accomplish. An objective states what you want to achieve. It's a title that names a set or a group of Key Results. Objectives are qualitative because it is just a name of a group or a set of key results. 

Objectives have a quarterly cadence, and each objective has 1-3 key results which measure success against the objective. Google suggests: “Use expressions that convey endpoints and states, e.g., “climb the mountain,” “eat 5 pies,” “ship feature Y.”

Key Results (KRs)

A key result (KR) is what measures the progress of the goal. A key result is owned by the individual who is assigned the goal. Thus, this KR is updated only by the individual who owns the goal that is measured by this KR.

In many cases, at the senior levels, executive levels, group levels, and team levels, you will not see key results. Key results will typically only be seen at the bottom of the goal alignment tree. 

KRs will be owned by the junior-most hierarchy of employees who are in the system and have been assigned goals. These employees will own the key results and will update performance. Those above them will not have KRs and will instead receive automated contributions from contributing goals below them.

  • Key results are quantitative, the “target” that you seek (it is not a task)

  • Key results answer “how” you will achieve the objective, or how you will know if you succeeded

  • It is a “measurement” of the objective—KRs help you measure the progress made on your objective

  • A key result is very similar to a KPI (Key Performance Indicator), it’s written in such a way that it’s like an MBO (Management by Objectives)

  • Key results show progress against objectives

  • They can be milestones qualitative, but measurable by “Complete/Incomplete” or by % attainment

  • Or they can be a metric—quantified with a number ($ or monetary value, # of units, etc.)

  • Google suggests: “Key results should describe outcomes, not activities.”

Key results can be thought of as measurable steps to achieve the objective. They must be measurable and ideally should be quantifiable.

Key results vs. contributing goals

When creating goals, please note that there is a slight difference between Key Results and subordinate Contributing Goals.

A contributing goal mathematically contributes to a higher-level goal using the same math contribution as a key result. The most important difference is that the contributing goal is owned by someone else, not by the owner of the more senior goal to which it is contributing.

Thus, a contributing goal is a more junior goal, aligned to more senior goals, driving progress towards the senior goal. You can think of it in database node relationship terminology as a “child to parent” relationship where a junior goal (child) is linked (aligned/contributing) to a more senior goal (parent). In most instances, a junior goal is not less important, but is simply owned at a lower level of the organizational hierarchy. 

For example, the CEO owns the very top goals of the organization, and thus those are the senior-most goals. And then a Marketing VP of Sales VP will own goals of their departments, and those will be the junior goals/contributing goals with respect to the CEO’s goals.

Contributing goals may have key results or may instead have junior contributing goals. The latter example is referred to as “cascading.”

The OKR formula

John Doerr’s formula is a great place to start. “I will accomplish ‘X’ Objective as Measured by ‘Y’ Key Result.”

This helps with the process of choosing your company’s top objectives and deciding how progress towards them should be measured. The OKR process depends heavily on setting measurable goals.

In this formula, Objectives are your company goals for the quarter. They are measured by Key Results (to follow). They should be clear, ambitious and inspirational so that employees at all levels understand the company’s primary goals and get on board.

Key Results reflect the outcome of your Objective’s accomplishment, for the specified period, typically, by the end of the quarter. Each Objective needs one to three key results. For greater alignment, OKRs are often used at all levels. This helps to ensure that everyone in the company is in line with your goals. 

Throughout the quarter, you must perform check-ins with your staff to keep track of measured progress. It is important to define your OKRs in accordance with top company priorities to make sure you are working towards the right goals.

Cadence of OKRs

There are no hard and fast rules of OKRs. It is an open source framework, unlike GAAP (Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles), in financial accounting. This affords companies a great deal of latitude in how they adapt the program to their culture and unique business situations. Frequency in setting OKRs is one of those areas of flexibility.

It may make sense to ease into OKRs. There is no religion and no one-size-fits-all. The best OKR cadence is the one that fits the context and culture of your business.

The default answer for “how often?” is quarterly. Some companies set OKRs every month, but that can quickly become overwhelming as the key to OKRs is planning, and planning takes time. We think it is better to set a quarterly OKR, ensure that everyone follows the rhythm of checking in and that about 10% achievement is occurring during each of the 13 weeks. Check-ins provide an opportunity for thorough reviews and course-correction.

Some objectives may need to span two or three quarters, or even an entire year, (basically annual goals). Many companies use a “dual cadence” of quarterly and annual objectives. Your organization’s needs ultimately determine cadence; the operative word is “consistency.”

Limit OKRs to 3-5 objectives (per department, team, or individual) and 1-3 KRs per objective

Any more and your people could lose focus or become disengaged. No one should have more than 3-5 objectives per quarter, with 1-3 key results per objective.

7 benefits of using OKR goals

  1. Align your company: OKR goals inform and align everyone’s work at your company to the top corporate objectives.

  2. Create clarity and focus: everyone knows their clearly defined goals and the entire company focuses on the things that matter most.

  3. Connect employees to your mission: connect your employees’ work to your company’s mission–this impacts your employees’ performance and your company’s results.

  4. Improve continuous learning: Through frequent check-ins, OKRs offer your company faster learning and improvement that drive better results.

  5. Accountability: Monitoring and measuring your key results and key performance indicators improve accountability and execution.

  6. Create transparency: OKRs bring transparency to your company, everyone see what others are working on driving collaboration and better performance.

  7. Accelerate your results: Through clarity, focus, alignment, connection and continuous learning, your company will accelerate performance, driving better results.

The value of goal alignment and check-ins

OKRs ensure that your staff is working towards the company’s primary goals. An OKR must-do is to participate in weekly check-ins. This weekly check-in ensures that your employees are on the right track. This may sound like a significant time commitment; however, check-ins are typically one hour or less and can reduce the time spent in meetings. If employees are struggling, guidance is provided, through one-on-one closed-loop meetings.

At larger companies, a CEO or executive manager does not have time to do this with every employee. Ordinarily, they would conduct goal-alignment Check-Ins with their direct reports, and subsequently, those executives would do Check-Ins with their team members. If individuals develop their OKRs with their manager’s input, the team understands precisely what they are supposed to be doing and how it relates to the company’s major goals for the quarter. This is what it means to be aligned, the result being a much more efficient and productive operation.

Note that setting OKRs is not complicated–it’s simply goal-setting in a way that is aligned and transparent. However, it can become slightly confusing when companies are just starting to use the OKR methodology without prior experience or when significant internal alignment is required. The good news is that all of this can be learned. When done consistently and in a disciplined manner, you and your team will become much more adept at the OKRs process and improve productivity.

The OKR system is an enabling mechanism for more effective, efficient, aligned, and high-performance business operation. It leads to operational excellence. It creates clarity and accountability for everyone in the company. 

What is unique about OKRs?

OKRs are unique in several ways:

  • OKRs communicate the top company objectives more clearly, accurately and consistently

  • Focus everyone’s effort on priorities & what really moves the needle

  • Align goals throughout the organization towards the key top goals

  • Give employees meaning & purpose (they see their contribution)

  • Allow for several measurements/KPIs to measure the objective, not just one like MBOs

  • Frequent progress check-ins and progress drive better execution

  • They create unparalleled transparency, accountability and empowerment

  • Strategic—they emphasize results and outcomes, not tactical tasks or activities

  • They tap into the collective wisdom of your group and are both top-down and bottoms-up

  • Help managers be more effective and improve coaching and continuous learning

  • OKRs are designed for operational teams to execute effectively, not just for HR

When writing OKRs, use simple, direct sentence structure. Phrase OKRs in the language that’s most relevant to the targeted group or individual so that they have a concrete understanding. 

Use action verbs to make them more powerful and clear – that will also ensure KRs will become more actionable and easy to understand when they are cascaded down as objectives.

How to use OKRs

Your company’s OKR approach will vary from that of other organizations, each company has subtle nuances, but there are some best practices to keep in mind when implementing OKRs.

Quantify

It’s ideal if both the objectives and each of their key results are quantifiable. Avoid ambiguity and subjective language when composing OKRs so that you clearly define Objectives and the steps needed for execution. This practice will provide you with a target against which you can measure progress. Google believes that “it’s not a key result if it doesn’t have a number.”

An objective is a qualitative goal designed to propel the organization in the desired direction. A key result has the same attributes as SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Typically, the objective part of an OKR is expressed in words, not numbers. Key results delve into the numbers and metrics, much like a KPI (key performance indicator).

Collaborate

More than half of your OKRs should come from the bottom up. This allows leaders and lower-level employees to collaborate, align priorities, and provide upper-level management a different perspective. Not every employee’s OKR will be a company-level objective, but each individual’s OKR must contribute to the overarching organizational goals.

Maintain frequency

Make OKRs a part of the weekly process. While OKRs are determined at the start of each quarter, they must be acted on daily and checked on a weekly basis. When a CEO, executive, or manager meets with their people each week to review progress, they must ask: “Where are you with regard to your objectives, what are the bottlenecks in meeting your objectives, and what do you need from me?” This develops check-ins and feedback as positive habits.

Keep it positive

Avoid turning OKRs into a performance review. Not achieving 100% of an OKR should provide learnings, data, and indicators about what not to do next quarter. We believe it’s advisable if some portion of a bonus is tied to “operational” OKRs, (not “aspirational” goals). OKRs are not meant to be a central issue in performance reviews. There should be more to performance reviews than achieving a given OKR. OKR achievement should always be assessed in the right context when discussed in performance reviews. This creates an opportunity to assess why an objective couldn’t be met, which key results were too difficult, and how to address obstacles going forward.

Impose a limit

Never assign more than four or five objectives per quarter. Also, avoid having more than three key results for each objective. Keep it between four or five objectives, with one to three key results for each. More than this will require too much “intellectual juggling,” and individuals won’t be able to dedicate enough time to executing each OKR.

Key tactics

Key tips for effective implementation of objectives and key results:

  • Make annual goals and break them up into quarterly objectives. This creates long-term and quarterly clarity and focus.

  • Set top company objectives first This allows you to set the top priorities to which everyone can contribute and align.

  • Set the shared departmental, group or team objectives It's important to set shared OKR goals that belong to the actual department, group or team and not just to individuals.

  • Designate a DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) for every OKR. There is a saying that "without responsibility there is no accountability"—DRI needs to help drive the achievement of the OKR plus do the retrospectives for continuous learning. Also, the DRI doesn’t need to be the group manager—they can just serve as a project manager or owner of the OKR.

OKR examples

Invariably, when working with new clients, the first questions asked are:

  • “What should be included in my initial objectives?”

  • “How do I ensure we set good objectives?”

  • “Can you provide examples of OKRs?”

An OKR best practice is to start with top corporate objectives which are then cascaded to department or team OKRs. The resulting department, team, and individual OKRs must be aligned with, in support of, and contribute to the top company priorities. 

In an OKR implementation, the objective is qualitative and answers the question of what is to be accomplished. Objectives are supported by key results which benchmarks and monitors how we achieve the objective. Key results (KRs) are specific, measurable, and time-bound. Key results typically include hard numbers.

Top company objectives—OKR examples

OBJECTIVE: Grow our corporate global business

Key results:

  • Hit company global sales target of $100 Million in Sales

  • Achieve 100% year-to-year sales growth in the EMEA geography

  • Increase the company average deal size by 30% (with upsells)

  • Reduce churn to less than 5% annually (via Customer Success)

OBJECTIVE: Delight our company customers

Key results:

  • Interview 20 customers per month and get feedback

  • Achieve an NPS of 9 from our customers

  • Increase customer retention to 98%

  • Achieve a product engagement of 80% WAU

OBJECTIVE: Build a great corporate culture (delight our employees)

Key results:

  • Launch an ongoing 2-way closed-loop feedback process

  • Achieve a weekly Employee Satisfaction / Pulse Score of 8+

  • Celebrate “small wins” and any type of progress every single week

  • CEO and SVPs to launch a monthly all-hands Town Hall and open Q&A meeting

OBJECTIVE: Launch the new product successfully in Q1

Key Results:

  • Create 20 customer case studies

  • Get into the Gartner Magic Quadrant

  • Win a “Best Product of the Year” award at the industry conference

Marketing goals—OKR examples

Demand generation goals—OKR examples

OBJECTIVE: Generate more Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

Key Results:

  • Generate 150 MQLs from email marketing

  • Generate 100 MQLs from AdWords

  • Generate 50 MQLs from organic search

  • Generate Net-New Unique leads via Account-Based Marketing

OBJECTIVE: Optimize our customer acquisition

Key Results:

  • Improve our new marketing automation process

  • Reduce the Customer Acquisition Costs by 20% in Q3

  • Build a new top-down and bottom-up Excel model to analyze the ROI

OBJECTIVE: Implement Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Key Results:

  • Document and implement the new ABM process

  • Do 2 weekly alignment meetings with the SDR team

  • Do 1 weekly alignment meeting with SDR team managers

  • Generate 20% of closed-won sales via ABM efforts in Q4

Online marketing goals—OKR examples

OBJECTIVE: Improve Our Website and Grow Conversions

Key Results:

  • Grow website visitors by 7% every month

  • Improve conversions on Landing Pages by 10% in Q2

OBJECTIVE: Improve Our PPC Campaign

Key Results:

  • Get 150 MQLs from Google AdWords

  • Ensure a Cost per Lead of $4 or less

  • Ensure a 2% CTR

OBJECTIVE: Improve Our SEO

Key Results:

  • Get 10 new inbound links from relevant websites

  • Improve our internal on-page optimization

  • Improve our website loading speed

Content marketing goals — OKR examples

OBJECTIVE: Launch the new monthly newsletter successfully.

Key Results:

  • Publish 3 new newsletters this quarter

  • Finalize and launch 1 newsletter per month

  • Ensure we get a 3% CTR or above

OBJECTIVE: Improve Our Blog Strategy

Key results:

  • Publish 50 new blog posts in Q3

  • Do 5 VIP interviews of industry experts

  • Get 5,000 subscribers on our blog

PR / Analyst Relations Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Increase Our Brand Awareness

Key Results:

  • Have 30 media calls/meetings by end of Q1

  • Have 15 calls/meetings with key industry influencers

  • Secure 2 speaking spots at the Annual Industry conference

OBJECTIVE: Build Strong Relationships with Forrester and Gartner

Key Results:

  • Do 2 analyst briefings in Q1

  • Submit analyst report applications

  • Feature 2 analysts on our webinars

  • Do 2 analyst calls - provide the new product launch update

Community Manager Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Launch a New Customer Community

Key Results:

  • Create a Customer Community Strategy based on best practices

  • Publish 60 articles during the quarter and get 6,000+ page visits

  • Get 30% of our customers to participate in the community

OBJECTIVE: Make our community known by industry experts and thought leaders

Key Results:

  • Reach out to 12 industry experts and thought leaders in Q1

  • Interview them and publish the interview articles on our community site

  • Research and publish the Industry Report & Infographics for the community

Product Marketing Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Launch the new product successfully.

Key Results:

  • Finish all the new product website updates

  • Work with PR to provide technical product specs

  • Give an exclusive pre-launch update to customers and partners

  • Finalize product datasheets, feature briefs and sales enablement info

Partner Marketing Goals — OKR examples

OBJECTIVE: Create a community for our partners/resellers (MQLs).

Key Results:

  • Publish 5 new partner-focused whitepapers by Q1

  • Launch 7 webinars to educate our partners

  • Do a 5-city Lunch & Learn event for partners

Sales Goals — OKR examples

Sales Group Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Generate new bookings pipeline

Key Results:

  • Generate inflow of $12M in pipeline

  • Keep pipeline above 5x of quota to ensure a 20% Win Rate

  • Do 7 product demos per week

OBJECTIVE: Recruit World-Class A-Players for Our Sales Team

Key Results:

  • Hire 10 new AEs by the end of January

  • Hire 20 new SDRs by the end of January

  • Hire 5 new Sales Managers by the end of January

  • Maintain a 4:1 onsite "Interview Offer" ratio

OBJECTIVE: Develop Our Reps into the Best Sales Team in the Industry

Key Results:

  • Implement a better onboarding process

  • Ensure we do regular sales coaching every week

  • Bring in the new sales training company to improve our training

  • Do regular monthly anonymous surveys of SDRs and AEs and get their feedback

Sales Manager Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Grow Our Sales in the Central region

Key Results:

  • Develop relationships with 50 new targets or named accounts

  • Onboard 10 new resellers that focus on the Central region

  • Offer extra kicker to AEs to achieve 120% focusing on the Central region

OBJECTIVE: Improve Sales in South America

Key Results:

  • Find 30 new customers in South America

  • Implement a new sales training program for our South American team

  • Receive 5-star reviews from our customers who will serve as references

SDR Manager Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Implement SDR social selling process

Key Results:

  • Pass SQL’s to sales executives

  • Train 5 SDRs on social selling practices

OBJECTIVE: Exceed our Q4 quotas by 50%

Key Results:

  • Generate 80 Sales Qualified Leads

  • Bring in $50,000 in bookings by end of Q3

OBJECTIVE: Grow Our Upsell and Cross-sell

Key Results:

  • Promote 3 SDRs to the upsell AE role

  • Increase upsell and cross-sell revenue by 40%

  • Increase customer retention to 98%

  • Have regular weekly alignment meetings with Customer Success

Sales Enablement Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Enable Our Sales to Be More Successful

Key Results:

  • Ensure we update our new sales technology stack

  • Implement the new process for measuring Outbound vs. Inbound

  • Revise all the email sequences and upload it into the new sales messaging tool

  • Update the CRM based on the new sales pipeline review process

  • Help the VP of Sales with the new data to finalize the new compensation plan

OBJECTIVE: Improve our Sales Analytics Process

Key Results:

  • Implement a sales analytics and Business Intelligence platform

  • Set up sales cycle and average deal size triggers to email our VP of Sales

  • Review Sales Activity metrics and send a weekly summary to the team

  • Review Sales Pipeline metrics and send a weekly summary to the team

  • Review retrospective Sales Results metrics and send a weekly summary to the team

Channel Partner Sales Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Grow Sales Through our Channel Partner

Key Results:

  • Recruit 30 new channel partners in Eastern, Central and Western geographies

  • Finalize the new 20% channel sales promotion for Q3

  • Implement the new channel partner website section

  • Improve the channel partner onboarding process and documents

Human Resources Goals — OKR Examples

VP of HR / People Ops Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Create an Exceptional Corporate Culture / Delight Our Employees

Key Results:

  • Launch an ongoing 2-way closed-loop feedback process

  • Create clarity of all departments and teams via clear OKR goals

  • Achieve a weekly Employee Satisfaction / Pulse Score of 8+

  • Celebrate "small wins" and any type of progress every single week

  • CEO and SVPs to launch a monthly Town Hall with Open Q&A

OBJECTIVE: Improve Our Employee Retention

Key Results:

  • Improve our 2-way closed-loop feedback and ongoing performance management process

  • Improve our employee engagement score and employee satisfaction to 8 or above

  • Survey employees monthly on how to make our company an even better place to work

  • Assess if we are paying salaries and benefits at market rates

OBJECTIVE: Grow Our Team With A-Players

Key Results:

  • Offer our employees a $500 reward for referrals of A-Players whom we hire

  • Hire 25 new employees this quarter for the 5 requesting departments

  • Survey interviewees after each interview process and get feedback

  • Maintain a 4:1 Interview-to-hire ratio

OBJECTIVE: Improve Our Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Score

Key Results:

  • Ensure every manager company-wide is doing an ongoing, 2-way feedback loop

  • Survey employees using a Pulse (Employee Satisfaction Index) weekly

  • Ensure we are setting clarity of work with goals to boost engagement

OBJECTIVE: Make All of Our Managers More Effective and Successful

Key Results:

  • Provide consistent training to managers on how to manage effectively

  • Ensure every manager is doing regular 1-on-1 meetings with 2-way feedback

  • Do monthly anonymous employee surveys to get feedback on managerial effectiveness

OBJECTIVE: Complete Our Employee Reviews Efficiently and on Time

Key Results:

  • Get free gym membership for employees

  • Survey our employees on how they like our new ongoing performance process

  • Collect all performance review notes from our 30 front-line managers

OBJECTIVE: Transition to Ongoing Performance Management

Key Results:

  • Announce the transition from the outdated annual performance review process

  • Implement the ongoing 2-way closed-loop feedback with lite check-ins

  • Institute quarterly performance reviews

  • Announce new annual reviews to serve as a summary for the ongoing process

Engineering Goals — OKR Examples

VP of Engineering Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Launch the New Product Architecture

Key Results:

  • Have engineering team contribute X story points

  • Design 5 tests with QA

  • Upgrade our database and complete data migration

OBJECTIVE: Build a World-Class Engineering Team

Key Results:

  • Offer a $500 reward for referrals to A-Players

  • Hire 5 referred engineers with exceptional references by end of Q2

  • Maintain a 4:1 onsite "Interview Hire" ratio

QA Engineer Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Drive Quality for Features in Our New Release

Key Results:

  • Identify 30 bugs by the end Q2

  • Implement the new QA automation tool and process

  • Ensure no more than 1 critical bug reported in Q3

  • Have zero regressions in Q3

OBJECTIVE: Maintain an Agile Process

Key Results:

  • Create and implement workflow graph

  • Install new Migration field

  • Create Knowledge Base documentation

Software Engineer Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Improve the Email Delivery Architecture

Key Results:

  • Provide a new refactoring plan

  • Ship the new architecture docs to all internal teams

OBJECTIVE: Launch a high-quality Product Beta

Key Results:

  • 10% of our existing customers try it

  • Get an NPS score of 7

Product Management Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Launch the New Product Successfully

Key Results:

  • Conduct 30 customer development interviews

  • Review 10 usage videos via UserTesting.com and summarize it internally

  • Do 2 training sessions on the new product for Marketing and Sales teams

  • Help Product Marketing by reviewing their technical spec documents

OBJECTIVE: Develop a New Product Vision

Key Results:

  • Interview 50 prospective customers and get their initial feedback

  • Get usability score above 8/10 on UX mockups from 20 prospective customers

  • Specify 5 elements in UX mockups to increase product's usage engagement

  • Get internal feedback score of 10/10 from the sales team

Customer Success Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Customer Success

Key Results:

  • Increase the adoption of our new product

  • Be proactive in assessing our drops in account usage or at-risk usage

  • Apply Best Practices to ensure we have NPS score of 8 and above

OBJECTIVE: Be Proactive with Customer Success

Key Results:

  • Implement a Customer Success platform to track customer health

  • Actively monitor customer health

  • Reach out to customers who appear to be at-risk

Customer Support Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Deliver a World-Class Customer Support Experience

Key Results:

  • Achieve a CSAT of 90%+ for all Tier-1 tickets

  • Troubleshoot Tier-1 issues within 1 hour

  • Resolve 95% of Tier-2 support tickets in under 24 hours

  • Each support rep to maintain a personal CSAT of 95% or more

OBJECTIVE: Ensure Customer Support is a High-Performance Team

Key Results:

  • Maintain a weekly Support group ESI/Pulse score of 8 or greater

  • Finalize resource allocation with the VP of Support

  • Promote 2 customer support reps to managers

  • Recruit 6 more customer support reps

OBJECTIVE: Implement a Scalable Customer Support Process

Key Results:

  • Implement our new customer support platform

  • Updated 30 "How-To" articles on the Knowledge Base

OBJECTIVE: Track All Critical Support Metrics

Key Results:

  • Track and report on Number of New Tickets to Resolved Tickets

  • Track and report on Average Resolution Time

  • Track and report on Top 10 Customers by Active Tickets

Finance Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Improve our Annual Budgeting Process

Key Results:

  • Have a meeting with every VP about the new process

  • Review everyone's budget proposals before mid-Q3

  • Finalize the final budget by Sep 15

OBJECTIVE: Improve our Financial Reporting Process

Key Results:

  • Hire a new bookkeeper

  • Implement the cloud-based version of QuickBooks

  • Ensure we close our financials within 2 weeks of a quarter

Operations Goals — OKR Examples

OBJECTIVE: Improve our IT and Infrastructure

Key Results:

  • Eliminate systems downtime in Q2

  • Implement the new cloud backup system and process

  • Improve internal IT satisfaction and response time

OKR best practices

Development phase

OKRs should be translated from your mission, vision, and strategies. The development phase is the perfect time to reinforce these values. Based on your key strategic initiatives, create your first set of OKRs. Once OKRs are determined, they need to be communicated throughout the organization. 

Bottom-up should be 70% of the process

Goals can be thoroughly cascaded, driven from the top, but with input from below. Giving your people the responsibility to come up with 70% of their OKRs ensures commitment and buy-in.

Alignment

A recent survey of CEOs indicated that 40% considered connecting their workforce with the company’s strategic initiatives their number one priority. By connecting, we mean creating sets of OKRs throughout the company that align with your highest-level priorities. These OKRs detail the contributions required from teams and individuals throughout the enterprise.

OKRs define who’s doing what, allowing you to monitor progress without micromanaging.

Visibility

Make both long-term goals and quarterly objectives visible. An enterprise work management platform provides visibility to everyone’s OKRs. In that way, everyone knows how his or her current priorities factor into the larger overarching goals of the organization, creating alignment and focus.

Check-ins

The number one must do is frequent check-ins. We strongly recommend you conduct regular check-ins with teams and contributors, assessing their progress throughout the quarter.

Scoring OKRs

Scoring OKRs allows you to learn more about your business. Your objective is to learn from the KRs at the end of each quarter and to create better KRs for subsequent quarters.

OKR insights from Google

“In late 1999, John Doerr gave a presentation at Google that changed the company, because it created a simple tool that let the founders institutionalize their “think big” ethos.”

– Eric Schmidt, Google

Google has shown the world the power that can be honed through the use of OKRs. Now that OKRs have existed for over a decade, we find ourselves able to learn from our predecessors. Using these insights from Google, you can make more informed decisions about where you can go to strategize the process even more, optimizing alignment, engagement, and extraordinary results. 

Here are the top 15 insights we collected from Google’s video:

  1. Companies should fight the urge to say: “Well that’s Google, we can never be like them.” As Klau put it, Google wasn’t Google until they began using OKRs–it was just a “young and ambitious” company. In other words, it could work for any company.

  2. The reason Google was so attracted to OKRs is because they provide data. The setting, tracking, and measuring of objectives and their corresponding key results provides concrete data, which can be used to benefit any organization.

  3. OKRs are connected across the individual, team, and company levels. Klau uses the example of a football team: the head coach, defensive coordinator, and individual player each has his own set of OKRs, but they are all connected to the overall goals of winning games and selling tickets.

  4. Objectives should be a bit uncomfortable. As Klau puts it, if you know you’re going to nail it, you’re not trying hard enough.

  5. All OKRs contribute to company-level goals, but each individual’s OKRs are not necessarily a company-wide priority. Back to the football analogy: although the defensive coordinator may not be concerned with getting a feature in the Sunday paper like the PR team is, each team and individual’s OKRs align back to the main priorities; playing well and driving attendance.

  6. OKRs inherently create discipline and transparency within an organization, because everyone can see what everyone else is working on.

  7. The writing and collaborating processes of developing OKRs often becomes a cyclical process – Klau uses the term “virtuous cycle.”

  8. Allowing individuals to be a part of the OKR writing process creates new discussions, and perhaps even provides new insights for upper-level management.

  9. More than half of objectives should come from the bottom up; in order for OKRs to be effective, they cannot all be dictated down from the top.

  10. It’s important to understand the difference between objectives and key results. Klau explains the two by using examples of actual OKRs that he composed in the past.

  11. In his examples of past OKRs, Klau refers to making a “measurable impact” with Blogger–but we wonder if that phrase could be better defined. A “measurable impact” to him might not be the same as to another person. This one wasn’t so concrete and failed to have a number.

  12. Low scores on OKRs should not be viewed as failures, because they still provide data and can act as a roadmap for subsequent quarter’s objectives.

  13. According to Klau, OKRs “don’t take a ton of time.” He further says that leaders can establish a rhythm very quickly when it comes to implementing and grading OKRs.

  14. Klau says you only need to have one or two one-on-one meetings per quarter. Because data and feedback are crucial, weekly one-on-ones may better facilitate the OKR process. Having regular check-ins could prevent the need for the lengthy quarterly meetings Klau kept referring to, as well as formal, antiquated performance reviews.

  15. In response to a question about when a management team should adopt OKRs – Klau answers, “as soon as possible.” He says even if you’re a team of five, the earlier you adopt OKRs, the easier it will be.