The objective / key result (OKR) system is a fresh take on real setting simplified by, among others, Google and venture capitalist John Doerr.
It is necessarily a goal used by Google and others. It is a simple tool to draw engagement and alignment around measurable goals. OKRs are often set, tracked, and usually re-evaluated quarterly. OKR is a simple process that occupies each team’s perspective and creativity.
Building alignment in the system is one of the main OKR benefits. The goal is to assure everyone is going in the same direction, with many clear priorities, in a constant rhythm.
OKR’s thought came from Intel and developed by other Silicon Valley companies. Google started using OKR in 1999, during its first year. It helped Google’s growth from 40 workers to more than 60,000 today.
Rather than Google, other companies use OKR, including Spotify, LinkedIn, Airbnb, and Twitter. Nowadays not only digital companies but Target, Walmart, The Guardian, and ING Bank are also using OKR.
For simple reasons, the body of information surrounding OKRs is tiny. Moreover, since few companies have implemented OKRs, it's hard to find the right people. Usually, there are many myths that panic teams away from using OKRs.
In today's article, we will explore some of the most common myths:
Myth 1. Waste of time, I’d instead act than plan
Many enthusiastic individuals live under the opinion that goal making is a waste of time. It becomes unacceptable for them especially for methodologies like OKRs.
This is opposite to the facts. Discovering why behind every what makes the difference between a huge success and a poor effort. Avoid the appeal of random actions. Make sure to know where you want to go before starting the journey.
Myth 2. Quarterly planning isn’t a right fit for us
Another general myth that people readily accept that we need to move faster than that. Alternatively, the reverse, that our industry moves slowly and quarterly OKRs are not for us.
Many might be valid reasons for not following a quarterly planning cycle. However, do remember, as any other system OKRs come with specific recommendations. We need to emphasize the fact that, these are just guidelines and not compulsions. OKRs don’t stop you from using a different planning flow.
Myth 3. OKRs won’t work for our size
One question that is often heard while talking about OKRs is around the size of the company. OKRs work only for big companies like LinkedIn, Google, and Zynga not for our size.
Do you know when Google adopted OKR they were just a small team of 40 members? So, when next time someone seeks to talk you about using OKRs, owing to your size tell them to do a reality check first. Right from startups to million dollar MNCs, organizations of all sizes have developed themselves with OKRs.
Myth 4. Our projects are our goals
Some may ask why do organisations need goals besides their ongoing plans. That is similar to saying my long-term goal in life is my day to day job.
This thought is funny; one cannot make a leading team if there aren’t any higher than life goals. Preferably, the chances are high that someone who says my projects are my goals is actively freed from work.
Myth 5. Each & every OKR should be aligned
Alignment is an essential part of OKRs. Teams who are just starting to adopt this approach, take this too accurately. Linking a company to a team OKRs to individual OKRs should happen, but for what obtains sense.
Do accept the fact that alignment helps when it is right to use it. There might be situations where overpowering the alignment would be no more than a blind following of guidelines.
Myth 6. Each & every OKR should be ambitious
While A stands for Ambitious, few people understand that it provides way than say a truth. As you begin to write OKRs, you understand it is not reasonable to set each one as a stretch goal.
There is no problem some OKRs to be operational. They may not be determined but are still important. A plan is to secure an overall ambitious aim rather than make every step ambitious.
Myth 7. Entire company should be using OKRs
Many times companies with complex structure & a large number of employees try to use OKRs in one go. There may be social & logistical difficulties in doing so. If not managed properly, eventual breakdown leads to complete denial of OKRs.
It might be wise to take a step back & begin adopting OKRs team by team. Even if any teams are unwilling to adopt or fail to adopt, the teams that are flourishing can continue to obtain benefits from their faith on OKRs.
Myth 8. Grading OKRs is work of genius
The most common question of discussion is the grading of OKRs. The grading system should be secure. Rate each key sequence within 0 to 10 and equalize the ranks at the objective level.
Pure simplicity. No complex formulae, no weights. If your OKR ranking process causes you to think more than 2-3 minutes, you are doing it incorrectly.
Myth 9. OKRs need an expensive system of records
Given the different ways of using OKRs, several teams believe that a complex system is needed to control them. While some level of versatility does help, the OKR software you use need not be costly.
If you want to start adopting OKR at your team, don’t fall for these myths. A wise word of advice, OKR is a methodology. It leads you to make choices. As it doesn’t promise success or failure, that is up to you.
Myth 10. OKRs Magically Engage Your Employees
OKRs helps in motivating employees to achieve their goals, but OKR does not drive employee engagement. While OKRs help you set genuine and measurable progress on it from time to time, they do not ensure that every worker will put energy to complete it.
OKRs can only force employees to some extent. If the workers are disengaged, no matter how often the progress is estimated, OKRs cannot engage them.
Myth 11. The More The Merrier
Several managers force their workers to create as many OKR as possible so that they can become more productive. However, in real OKRs do not go that way. Creating too many OKRs will lead to uncertainty in employees and might affect their productivity too.
In reality, every employee should own two OKRs followed by organizational goals and two individual development goals. This will keep them hassle-free and help them stay focused.
Myth 12. We are different
Usually, companies think that they are unique. It’s a great way to attract talent, but it’s a terrible way to select a methodology. Many companies will break rules of OKRs, below the excuse of uniqueness, when OKRs shift them too far away from their comfort zone.
Delivering yourself an easy way out is an easy way out.
Myth 13. People want to use OKRs
This is the biggest myth believed for a long time. The concept here is that people want to use OKRs, but doesn't know how to use them. The point is people don’t. It’s just a different thing they have to do or just another process to follow.
Making goals, following progress, seeing yourself losing is not fun. One should follow OKRs religiously and program all your work around them.
Myth 14. OKRs are revolutionary
OKRs have been practiced early on in Intel’s records. When John Doerr joined Intel in 1974, Intel was previously using OKRs. So, we are debating almost 50 years here. That’s how cutting point OKRs are.
Besides, OKRs are a take on the MBO (Management by Objectives) frame developed by Peter Drucker in 1954. Sixty-four years ago.
Myth 15. Simple = Easy
As Jeff Gothelf described it 'simply does not mean easy.' It requires 10 minutes to get OKRs as a framework, and various people will extend that executing them will be just as easy. Moreover, it is almost never the case, and they become frustrated. Turning in shape is quite simple to eat healthily and work out. The industry model of health gyms is based on the idea that 90% of affiliates will present only once.
So, now you must have learned all these points cleverly, don't waste your time. Plan your two OKRs and make personal goals too. All the best with the new year too.