What are OKRs?

Objectives and Key Results

Objectives and key results (OKR) is a goal-setting framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes. OKRs comprise of an Objective(a clearly defined goal) and 3–5 key results(specific measures used to track the achievement of that goal). The goal of OKR is to define how to achieve objectives through concrete, specific and measurable actions.

OKRs may be shared across the organization with the intention of providing teams with visibility of goals. They are typically set at the company, team, and personal levels. OKRs build transparency in the company by showing how a company's mission trickles down to the employees at different levels. They help the employees focus on the exact goals that matter and stay committed to them.

OKRs in a typical company look like

Outcome vs Output

One confusion people face while coming up with key results for an objective is whether to put outcomes or outputs in them. The difference between Outputs and outcomes is that outputs are the measuring stick of an OKR - meaning they are the targets that should be reached in the course of accomplishing an objective whereas outcomes are the consequences that happen because of accomplishing the outputs.

For example, 'Talk to 10 customers' is an output whereas 'Close 10 new clients' is an outcome. It is natural for us to consider that outputs make good key results but the drawback is outputs are just a part of outcomes. Like in the above example, talking to 10 customers might be fulfilled but it may not get 10 new client signups.

It is always advised to follow an outcome-based approach to define your key results. Because outcomes give a purpose to the outputs you want to accomplish. The hierarchy goes like objectives, outcomes to accomplish objectives and outputs to achieve outcomes.

In culture.easy we use objectives, Key Results, and Initiatives to imply Objectives, outcomes and outputs.

Examples of OKRs

Here are few examples of what OKRs in different teams look like.

OKRs for a sales team

  • Grow our Corporate Global Business through increasing transaction value & retention

    • Increase closes with mid-tier package or higher from 50% to 80%

    • Increase the company average deal size from $300 to $400 with upsells

    • Reduce churn rate from 10% to 5% for the last 90 days

OKRs for a Marketing team

  • Improve the SEO of our cornerstone content

    • 10 cornerstone content articles have 5 or more backlinks

    • Publish 10 guest blog posts linking to cornerstone content on relevant sites with DA 40+

    • 100% of our cornerstone content loads in 3 seconds or less

Learn more about OKRs

There are extensive and vast resources for OKRs online owing to their undying popularity. Here is a list of online resources that provide insights about OKRs :

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