Using OKRs

Aligning People's Objectives With Organizational Goals

Using OKRs - Aligning People's Objectives With Organizational Goals

© GettyImages

OKRs encourage you to think big and "shoot for the moon."

Have you ever sat through your CEO's "state of the nation" presentation and come away from it thinking, "How does that apply to me? What is my role in helping us to achieve that vision?" Or, perhaps you've struggled to set goals for your team members because your own objectives are frustratingly vague.

Every organization, team and team member should have meaningful goals and objectives. After all, how can you set direction, make informed decisions, evaluate future strategy, or discuss progress in an effective way without them?

You might be familiar with renowned management expert Peter Drucker's technique of Management by Objectives (MBO), which seeks to align employees' objectives with their organizations' goals. In this article, we explore a refinement of MBO – a powerful goal-setting tool called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). We look at how OKRs can bring greater transparency to an organization's objectives, and how they can connect individuals' roles to those objectives in a clear and practical way.

What Are OKRs?

Andy Grove, former president and CEO of computer processors giant Intel®, distilled and simplified MBO in his 1983 book, High Output Management. (A second edition was published in 1995.)

Grove wrote: "A successful MBO system needs only to answer two questions:

  1. Where do I want to go? (The answer provides the Objective.)
  2. How will I pace myself to see if I'm getting there? (The answer gives us milestones, or Key Results.)"

And so a new management tool was born: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

OKRs received a real boost in 1999 when U.S. venture capitalist John Doerr introduced them to a small, up-and-coming tech company called Google, and they've been used there ever since. Other high-profile organizations that use OKRs include LinkedIn®, Twitter®, Sears®, Oracle®, DropBox™, Coursera™, and GoPro®.


Access the Full Article

This article is only available in full within the Mind Tools Club.

Learn More and Join Today

Already a Club member? Log in to finish this article.


Rate this resource