Align & Focus Your Small Business: Why You Need to Use OKRs

Allan Caeg Manage Goals, Set Goals

Mahatma Gandhi couldn’t be more spot on:

It is not hard work that kills a man, but irregularity or lack of system.

Let’s talk about a popular way of building regularity for your business. This leads not only to better performance, but also happier faces at work. Join Google, Intel, and others in the world of OKRs.

A Brief Backstory of OKRs or Objectives and Key Results

OKRs began in the 70’s. Intel’s Andy Grove was concerned about how exactly things should be done. He knew that a great strategy is far from enough.

Fast forward to 2012, this video revealed how Google runs with goals:

Google’s Rick Klau shared with the world how Google sets goals. He shared what John Doerr presented to Google’s leadership in 1999. 

OKRs Coach, Ben Lamorte, described it so well

Ben Lamorte, founder of OKRs.com shared with us that not having OKRs is like being on a boat not knowing when the next wave will hit.

He said if you’re a startup company without OKRs, your project will be in bad shape. Communication and conversations will be a waste of time. There’s also the product risk. Performance is also affected. You will not know if you have achieved your objective. There will be no direction.

Your OKRs are just like your “cheat sheet”. When you become disoriented and out of focus from your goal, you can always check your OKR to get back on track. 

Who uses OKRs?

Intel, Google, LinkedIn, GoPro, Zynga, Flipboard, Spotify to name a few.

The impact of OKRs to these companies include:

Focus

These are your clearly defined goals. When you have a product, your goal is to be able to sell it to people. Satisfy their needs.  Until you achieve success with that product.

There are a lot of things that can be done during the product development. But if you have a disciplined thinking, you will just be focusing only on its important features. Someone might suggest some changes to you. But with OKR, if the suggestion is not related to your objectives, then it should not be a priority to you.

Engagement

Most employees tend to be “kept in the dark”. They don’t know why they are doing what they do. Employees want to know if they’re doing the right thing. And for what purpose. OKRs help in shedding light and clarity to work being done, without having to complicate things more and more.

It is said that when you know that you’re doing something meaningful, you are likely to be motivated to do more.

Giving Credit

Not knowing what people are working on makes it impossible for bosses to give them credit for a job well done. With OKR, information presented makes it easy for the big boss to see who worked on what. Some employees never boast of their achievements verbally.

The system is one way of giving them the credit they deserve. Even if these people are just quietly working out of the spotlight.  

How Google grew from 40 to 40,000 employees

Here are the reasons Doerr presented to Google for embracing OKRs:

  • They imposed disciplined thinking so that major goals will surface.
  • They let everyone in the organization know what’s important and enable more accurate communication because everyone can see everyone else’s priorities.
  • They helped establish indicators for measuring progress.
  • They helped focus effort and ensure alignment.

Without OKRs or an equivalent system

  • You will be stuck with a project that can change constantly.
  • You won’t be able to explain your project clearly.
  • You don’t know where the project stands and what it will result to.

Over to You

Companies, big and small, are using OKRs and the list is growing rapidly. Because it works. Intel used it. Google too. It’s all about practicing the timeless principles of alignment and focus.

If you’re not using OKRs or an equivalent system, why aren’t you?