Are OKRs the Missing Link?

..."they're a vaccine against fuzzy thinking - and fuzzy execution."

Over thirty years of management consulting have taught us a few truths. One was compliments of Peter Drucker with perhaps his best-known quote, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” And over the years, most companies installed KPI’s to measure mostly shop floor repetitive activity. If done correctly, it works.

But it was another Drucker belief, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things,” where “things” started to break down, exposing one of the hardest parts of running a business, and that is successfully executing strategy. 

One of the key reasons that executing strategy is so hard is the lack of buy-in, alignment and connectivity of strategy with the key results that are required to help a business reach their strategic goals. And today’s fast paced economic landscape exacerbates the problem.

What Drucker, Doerr and others have realized is when people help choose a course of action, they are more likely to see it through. Today we call that buy-in. Some people think of OKRs as a form of MBO, and that is partially correct, but there are some significant differences.

An OKR objective is a public statement on what you want your team to accomplish. Key results explain how it will be measured and reached. Objectives are meaningful and practical. Key results are specific and measurable and OKRs can be created in a flat, bottom-up, or top-down approach. For scoring, they are only graded with a “complete” or “incomplete.”

John Doerr, who went on to help start up Google wrote, “When properly designed and deployed, they’re a vaccine against fuzzy thinking — and fuzzy execution.”

The RSS OKR process is part of our overall approach to ensure that your strategy will be executed successfully, and that's a very exclusive and elusive club.

What are OKRs?

What is the Team’s intent?

  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Does it inspire you?

Key Results
Outcomes leading to victory.

  • How will we know we’re successful?
  • What would be really great this quarter?
  • Is this both our best and possible result?
  • If we succeed, what will we have more of?
  • What would we have less of?

OKR Characteristics

  • What and How
  • Monthly or quarterly
  • Public, transparent
  • Bottom-up or horizontal
  • Mostly not tied to compensation
  • Aspirational and aggressive
  • Measurement is either “complete” or   “incomplete”

Curious how OKRs can transform your business?