OKRs are a way to set goals for your employees, but they can also be used in other contexts. For example, you could use them with your family or friends to make sure everyone is working towards the same goal! The key thing about OKRs is that they’re not just individual goal-setting tools. You need to think of your whole team when setting up objectives and key results so that everyone knows what their role will be in achieving them.
There are four critical failures that prevent OKRs from being effective.
There are four critical failures that prevent OKRs from being effective:
1. A lack of clear purpose and intent behind OKRs, resulting in confusion about why or how organizations should use them.
For those unfamiliar, OKRs stand for Objectives and Key Results. It’s a strategy that companies like Google use to set goals and track progress in teams.
OKRs are a tool for setting goals for teams, not individuals. But many people use them as if they’re an individual goal-setting system—and it’s not hard to see why; the language of OKRs lends itself well to “I” statements (“I want to lose weight,” or “I will start my own business”), not “we” ones (“the team wants to develop new products”). This can lead companies who use OKR systems down the path of thinking that they’re good at self-management but bad at teamwork, making them reluctant to use them in the first place or reconsider their approach when they do try using an OKR system.
2. A general lack of OKR expertise and experience within the organizations that use them, resulting in poor overall execution.
OKRs are a way to set goals for teams, not individuals. They’re a great tool for aligning the team with its overall strategy and helping everyone stay focused on what matters most. If you’re using OKRs at your company, it’s important that every employee understands this concept—and if they don’t understand it yet, it’s best to start with the basics before moving on to more advanced topics like goal setting and goal management tools.
3. An environment of fear and stress that makes it difficult to speak up when some people aren’t engaging with them meaningfully.
OKRs are not a way to manage individual performance, they’re a tool for setting goals for your team as a whole and then tracking those goals toward completion each quarter.
You shouldn’t hold people accountable for the OKRs of their peers, nor should you expect individuals to feel motivated by other teams’ success or failure—that’s what the company’s overarching goal is for! Instead, use OKRs as a way to communicate with your team about what needs work in order to achieve those larger organizational aims.
4. An organization-wide view of OKRs as a way to measure performance rather than a way to set goals for teams, resulting in a focus on individual achievement over collective achievement for teams or departments.
The fourth problem you might encounter when setting OKRs for teams is that it can be difficult to avoid the trap of setting goals for individuals. This happens because a lot of companies use OKRs as a way to measure individual performance, rather than a team or departmental performance.
The result is an organizational culture that focuses on individual achievement over collective achievement for teams or departments.
Get your employees on the same page by using OKRs to set team goals, not individual ones.
Since OKRs are best used to set goals for teams, not individuals, you might be wondering why your company is trying to make them work for everyone. If the people in your organization aren’t on the same page, it will be impossible to implement any of these strategies.
You should also keep in mind that OKRs should be a shared goal between an employee and their manager—not a personal one. This means that everyone needs to work together to figure out what success looks like for each team member and how they can achieve those goals by working together instead of as individuals.
For example, if one person is tasked with increasing sales by 20 percent this quarter and another person has been tasked with increasing customer satisfaction by 10 percent during the same period (without taking away from these first two metrics), then there may actually be something wrong with this setup: it requires too much focus from multiple people at once without giving each individual enough space in which they can shine independently or help others reach their own targets.”
You can use OKRs to align your team members and ensure they’re all working toward the same goal. Setting goals is an important part of managing any team, but it doesn’t have to be a pain. With OKRs, you’ll be able to get everyone on the same page and make sure that everyone knows what their role is in achieving your objectives.