How OKR framework helps in goal management

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How OKR framework helps in goal management

Objectives and Key Results Framework, abbreviated as OKR Framework, is a result-oriented goal management framework that assists individuals, teams, and large companies in defining and tracking their objectives and outcomes. It defines specific, ambitious, and challenging objectives with well-defined measurable results and a concrete set of actions to achieve these results.

OKR process specifies well-defined, short-term objectives and then defines concrete set of outcomes and actions to achieve these objectives. It helps individuals in setting their performance goals and aligning them with high-level organizational objectives. Employees can achieve short-term objectives easily in a limited time. On the other hand, companies who rely on high-level strategic objectives, suffers from delayed results, reduced performance, and lack of employee’s engagement. 

OKR management can be used by organizations of any size. This growth framework is being used by large tech companies like Google, Intel, Twitter, Zynga, Oracle, and many others to manage their rapidly growing team and productions.  It assists individuals and companies in breaching the gap between strategic goals and current executions. It specifies rules for aligning, prioritizing, and measuring the outcome of employees’ efforts. 

OKR Framework was initially developed by Intel in 1968. The concept was later adopted by Google in 1999. Google has been using the OKR process since the beginning and has diverse collaborative experience in using OKR management

OKR consists of Objectives, Key Results, and Initiatives.

  1. The objective specifies what exactly is to be achieved, where we have to reach. They are specific and well-defined goals. 
  2. Key results are specific measures to track progress towards the achievement of objectives. They are the results that need to be produced to reach the objectives. 
  3. Initiatives defines a tasks, projects, or immediate actions that need to be taken to achieve key results.

Why OKR?

Research shows that the companies and individuals who use OKR as goal management framework shows much better performance than those who do not use it. It organizes employees’ efforts in a meaningful direction and keeps them engaged and motivated.

An organization should adopt the OKR growth framework due because:

  • It is output to outcome-based approach to work.
  • It assists employees in aligning their efforts to the overall objectives of the organization.
  • Helps in measuring performance against key results.
  • Due to complex organizational structure, abstract and high-level strategic goals, and dynamic environment, employees feel lost and divergent from purpose. They do not know how their efforts are contributing to overall objectives and what exactly they are expected to do to meet strategic objectives. OKR provides solutions to such problems. It sets clearly actionable objectives and key steps to reaching those objectives.  
  • It keeps employees motivated and engaged. 
  • It can easily adjust to the rapidly growing and dynamic culture of the organization. 

How OKR work?

OKR process consists of clearly defined high-level objectives. Each objective has 3 to 5 measurable and concrete key results. Results are measured through clearly defined indicators. The OKR process consists of the following series of steps that are repeated in a cycle. 

Planning of OKR for Organization

In this phase, OKR objectives and key results are finalized with the help of employees.

Meetings 

Weekly or bi-weekly meetings are held to review the progress of initiatives and indicators.  

Cycle-end Reviewing

Review meeting at the end of the OKR cycle held to determine the achievement made at the end of the OKR cycle. 

Reconsideration

The OKR process is improved by reviewing what the team learned and what should be done next.

Procedure 

OKR Methodology or procedure works as follows:

  • The organization defines three to five high-level objectives for the year.
  • Each department sets its objectives and key results to achieve the organizational level objectives.  
  • Objectives and key results are defined for each individual employee or a team to achieve the department-level objectives. 

An organization follows the following steps to implement the OKR growth framework:

1. Identifying zones of improvement. 

Analyze company strategic plan, long-term objectives, productions, and existing position by performing a detailedbusiness process analysis to identify the areas where improvement is required or where the OKR process needs to be implemented.

2. Description of Objectives

Meet with the employees and ask them to brainstorm how they can contribute to achieving company strategic goals. Allow them to give suggestions and formulate objectives. Keep following in mind while defining objectives:

  • Define only three to five concrete objectives as more objectives may lead to confusion.
  • Avoid ambiguous expressions like ‘Maintain market position’.
  • Objectives must be aligned with the overall strategic goals.
  • The objective must have a highly positive impact on the overall organization.
  • Define objectives within a well-defined time frame.   

3. Define Key Outcomes and Results

Identify three to four measurable actions for each objective that needs to be performed to achieve that particular objective. Define anticipated consequences for each action and then specify indicators for measuring the consequences. Key results must possess these characteristics:

  • Must be an imperative expression like ‘Increase sales from X% to Y%’.
  • Must be a quantifiable milestone.
  • Must define an outcome rather than an activity. 
  • They must be able to be characterized as completed or not completed.
  • Must be defined concretely so that they can easily be assigned to any person.   

4. Discussion of ORK and Review

Discuss objectives and the key results with staff. Guide them on what exactly is expected of them and how their efforts will be evaluated. Obtain their feedback and review the objectives and key results to accommodate suggestions. 

5. Track and Monitor

Once objectives and key results have been finalized, next the step is to implement the OKR and monitor employee’s performance and track their progress according to the outcome indicators. 

OKR process is a simple framework for defining and managing business objectives and their outcomes. It defines ambitious and specific short-term objectives to achieve long-term strategic goals. It offers many advantages over traditional long-term objectives evaluation methodologies. Many large organizations like Google and Intel are using this framework for managing their rapidly growing team and productions. OKR framework provides a well-defined method for defining objectives and outcomes. Organizations should implement this framework to rapidly achieve strategic goals, improve their overall performance, and improve employee engagement. 

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