Introduction

Google has been the world’s most innovative company for more than a decade, and the key to its success is simple: focus. Google uses an organizational method called OKRs, which stands for “Objectives and Key Results.” This method helps ensure that employees remain on track when working toward their goals. In fact, Google CEO Sundar Pichai says it’s been critical in helping his company stay focused on what really matters. If you’re looking to get your company to adopt OKR, here are some tips to keep in mind:

What are OKRs?

OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, are a method of setting goals that is used by Google and other companies. They’re also called OKRs because they consist of three parts: an objective, a key result for that objective, and a deadline for completion. The goal of an OKR is to be clear, concise and measurable; each individual should have their own specific goal (or “objective”) with one key result (the thing you need to accomplish) that will move you closer toward reaching the objective.

The best way to think about OKRs is as if your boss were holding you accountable on each one—you’d want them all to make sense from your perspective as well as theirs. This means they should be defined so that they align with what’s important within your company or department instead of just being arbitrary numbers set by someone else who doesn’t understand either how much work goes into achieving them or how much it matters when those goals are reached/not reached by their deadlines (if applicable).

How do OKRs work?

OKRs are used to set goals and measure progress. They’re also used to set priorities, targets, expectations, and direction. OKRs are a way of measuring performance at every level of your organization—from the CEO to individual contributors. This makes it easy for everyone in the company to understand how their work contributes to the overall success of Google as well as their personal development goals.

What does Google look for in an OKR?

It’s important to note that Google looks for several characteristics in an OKR.

  • The first characteristic is that an OKR should be ambitious, but also achievable. For example, if you have a goal of increasing sales by 1%, and you did not meet the target within the specified time frame, then it was likely not ambitious enough. On the other hand, if your sales increased by 10%, then your goal was probably too far out of reach and therefore unattainable (or at least very difficult).
  • The second characteristic of an OKR is that it must be specific and measurable. This means that there is no room for ambiguity; instead, you must clearly define what exactly needs to be done and how much progress has been made toward achieving this goal (and how much more work needs to go into completing it).

What does a good OKR look like at Google?

  • Specific: You should be able to answer the question “What will we accomplish?” with every OKR.
  • Measurable: You should be able to measure it and determine whether or not you accomplished your goal.
  • Achievable: The goal must be within reach, so that if you do everything right, you have a high chance of success.
  • Time-bound: There has to be a deadline for each KPI (key performance indicator), so there’s urgency about reaching it by that time frame. The deadline can’t be too far off because you don’t want people forgetting about their goals and walking away from them as time goes on. It also needs enough time for planning ahead but not too much time where things get stale or people lose interest in them altogether before they’re achieved—this becomes more important when dealing with larger companies than small ones since larger organizations tend to have more bureaucracy slowing down the process of achieving anything new or innovative due to having fewer resources per person than smaller ones do (like an engineering team versus an individual developer in charge of his own projects).

Google uses three types of objectives.

You can think of objectives as a statement of what you want to achieve, and key results as the measurable steps you will take to get there. For example, your objective might be “to increase user engagement by 10%” and your key result could be “devise an analytics-based campaign that sends targeted emails to users who haven’t logged in recently.”

Key results are what actually help you achieve those objectives—they’re the specifics of how you will accomplish your goals. They’re usually broken down into smaller steps so teams can prioritize their work more easily and keep track of their progress along the way.

Conclusion

OKRs are an excellent tool for keeping your company focused on what’s most important. Even if you’re not an active user, bearing them in mind whenever you’re writing goals and objectives can help you figure out the best way to structure them for maximum impact.

Have you downloaded the OKR guide?