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OKRs – The secret behind the success of top-performing organizations
One of the most crucial skills that a modern leader can boast of is their ability to align their entire workforce with the ultimate vision of the organization. History has shown us – the leaders that were swift enough to get their organizations on board with OKRs saw their businesses reach great heights. OKRs have been known as the revolutionary movement behind the explosive growth of organizations such as Google, LinkedIn, Netflix, and Uber. These names sound familiar, eh? Stay hooked until the end to know how some of the most extremely successful organizations of the world experienced enormous growth after using the OKR methodology.
OKR – Objective and Key Results is the goal-setting framework that has been powering organizational success across geographies and industries. The secret sauce of OKRs is quite simple – combine the inspirational notion for the future with innovative actions for getting you there. While the mission and values of your organization provide the “why”, the objectives and key results answer the “how” and “what”. Objectives and key results are broadly applicable to help your organization reach any goals. Whether you are preparing your organization for an IPO or just trying to improve the functioning of your organization, OKRs has the potential to turn your goals into reality. Organizations across the world have grown and are growing at a mind-boggling pace as their OKRs push them to devise new and previously unimagined capabilities. Let’s take a look at how OKRs have been the secret behind the success of some of the most top-performing organizations in the world.
The name that absolutely needs no sort of an introduction – Google is one of the big five companies in the IT industry of America. Their reality of today was once a very ambitious OKR for them. However, after many quarters of OKRs, they well and truly attained their objectives and became the most visited website in the world occupying a whopping 70% of the browser market. How does Google use OKRs?
Making their OKRs accessible to all
In Google, OKRs are open and coordinated across teams and individuals for fostering transparency. Making OKRs available to all tiers enables its employees to see how they contribute to the organization. This also helps in aligning every stratum of the company to the main vision and vision of the organization.
Opting for stretch goals
Google opts for stretch goals and makes sure that these are big and aspirational and not incremental. Even though such goals are tough to achieve, even attaining 70% of them is appreciated with a pinch of salt. The unmet goals serve as a reminder that there is room and potential for further improvement.
Colour code to grade the OKR outcomes
Google uses a color scale of green, yellow and red for grading outcomes. Even the Key Results are graded on a scale of 1-1.0 towards the end of every quarter and low grades are used as data for improvements in the next quarter.
In spite of stepping into the market only in 2003, LinkedIn has over 774+ million members across the globe. It has established itself as the top site for recruiting job applicants and professional networking. The success LinkedIn has bagged in such a short span of time is no surprise, after all, they used OKRs! Jeff Weinier once expressed what OKR meant for his organization and the teams involved. He believed that OKRs should always be impactful and challenging. How does LinkedIn use OKRs?
Making them time-bound
LinkedIn uses OKRs to make missions actionable. OKR serves as a reminder and produces a sense of urgency to attain objectives over a specific time frame. This enables the employees to review their performance and structure what they want to do in their work hours accordingly.
Going for quarterly stretch goals
Goals at LinkedIn are aligned towards stretch goals and are not stated plans as low expectations ultimately halt progress in the long run. OKRs are established quarterly to avoid constant change on weekly basis. Their individual employees set 3 to 5 personal OKRs quarterly which is hard to achieve but serves as a constant motivation for them to work at their best.
Allocating hours for weekly and monthly meetings
When it comes to meetings, they are held once each week, once in six weeks, or twice annually with regular check-ins. Regular meetings give them a panoramic view of how everyone is getting on with their task and also make sure that they are aligned to the same objective.
Andy Grove, the co-founder of Intel referred to OKR as a tool for pacing his employees and far from a document that was used to review their performance. Being highly impressed with what OKRs did for his organization, he went on to elaborate on the enormous benefits of OKRs in his book – High Output Management which is a cult classic of Silicon Valley. How did Intel use OKRs?
Training and educating the teams about OKRs
The most incredible thing Intel does when it comes to OKRs is that they appoint an OKR champion to educate their employees. Providing this knowledge about OKRs is vital as it makes every employee aware of how to leverage OKR to get maximum returns.
Believing that patience is a virtue
Intel believes that being patient is one of the reasons that OKRs worked out pretty well for them. Sometimes the OKR process may take a lot of trial and error to nail it. Once the process falls into the place, it gets safe for the organization to go all-in the sustainable journey of growth.
The three factors that served as the pillars of the success for Intel are – Conversation, feedback, and recognition. Through this, they have been able to ensure that their employees are always active and engaged. Intel was able to create proper alignment of OKRs across clients, customers, company stakeholders, and employees.
Repeatedly referred to as the world’s most valuable organization, Amazon is placed as one of the Big Five Companies in the US and is consistently expanding. What was initiated as an online store for books has today become one of the world’s largest marketplace. They have been leveraging OKRs and deriving the most from them. How does Amazon use OKRs?
Narrowing focus on what won’t change
Amazon sets objectives that are primarily focused on what won’t change. This factor of ‘what won’t change’ prevents constant changing of OKR and enables the organization to align itself with the larger motive of the organization.
Implementing OKRs in cycles
OKRs are established in cycles – weekly, quarterly, and annually to uphold the vision of the bigger picture. Setting OKR cycles helps the organization to distinguish different components and do away with those that fail to align with the organization.
Piloting the OKR implementation on small teams and cascading later
Different teams in the organization work on different projects and each utilize OKRs for maximizing growth. Amazon experiments OKRs with small groups before they ask the entire organization to commit to it. This enables the organization to save time and resources.
OKR tool is an incredible, all-in-one solution for executing organizational goals. Many budding organizations are catching up with implementing OKRs as they have realized that it will enable their organization to maximize growth. So if you want your organization to achieve success and attain all of its objectives, do what all the stellar companies are doing and implement OKRs in your organization today by contacting us now!