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7 Tips for setting better OKRs

Introduction

Amy Ngo

Amy Ngo

Amy is a Digital Marketer here at Focus. She is a contributor to the blog and does outreach via social media to spread the word about OKRs.


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OKR

7 Tips for setting better OKRs

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The 7 essential OKR tips that every team leader needs to know.

So you know what OKRs are and are in need to tips to improve them. Even if you aren’t sure about OKR’s, we’ll give you the full rundown; a start to finish of everything a leader implementing OKRs needs to know! Here we have 7 essential tips for setting better OKRs.

To recap on OKRs:

OKRs are Objectives and Key Results. It’s a goal-setting framework, a methodology, an overall powerful planning strategy. It’s used by companies and startups to keep teams organized. One of the most notable companies using OKRs is Google. You can read about it on Google’s reWork initiative : reWork.

Objectives are the roadmap. It’s the qualities and the goal you want your team to reach by the end of the week, month, quarter, or year.

Key Results are the quantitative data. They define what you need to check off to reach your objective. Fulfilling all the key results means success.

An example OKR from our 20 Human Resources (HR) OKR examples article:

Objective: Create an amazing training program
Key results:
– Achieve 100% training completion rate
– Increase employee performance post-training by 30%
– Decrease new hire turnover from 30% to 10% 

In case you really are new to OKRs, here’s some Focus blog articles to get you started What are OKRs and How to set powerful OKRs.

Some other great OKR sources are Felipe Castro, Bernard Marr, and Forbes.

OKRs work wonders, but you have to learn how to set them correctly for their full effect.

Now onto the 7 tips for setting better OKRs:

1. The first tip is to be specific. Know what your goal is and provide the key results you want to see. If this happens to be your first time setting an OKR, it’s okay to be off the mark a little. Test the waters and adapt to those first results. You want to aim high but not unreasonably so in the beginning.

Less is More!

2. My second tip goes hand in hand with being specific. Less goals and less key results means that you focus will be on one area. Don’t include minute details or small items. Only include key results that exemplifies the completion of your objective.

For every objective 3-5 key results is recommended. Any more than that will loosen your concentration. Along with that, 3-5 objectives per team layout. Stay concise and stay concentrated!

Our blog provides all the tips and tricks you need to succeed so definitely check us out. You can request a free demo today!

Which leads me to my third tip.

3. There are two types of OKRs and I suggest to start off with Roofshot OKRs then transition to Moonshots. In short, roofshots are challenging, but approachable. You can expect your team to carry out roofshot OKRs to the fullest potential.

OKRs are known for being both ambitious and uncomfortable.

Moonshots, on the other hand, are a little more advanced. Like it’s name suggests, moonshots require you to “shoot for the moon”; challenge the team to ask different questions and take new, creative approaches. These OKRs seem out of your teams limits and impossible to be fulfilled to the max. It’s reserved for more developed teams that understand the OKRs.

Read my previous article about Roofshot and Moonshot OKRs for the full explanation on why you need to start off with roofshot OKRs.

4. Make sure everyone in your team is notified and understand the OKRs. Define what materials or resources you expect them to use. Should the whole team be involved or subgroups? These are things you need to think about.

Aside from weekly or monthly company meetings, your organization should also hold one on one meetings for clarification.

One on one meetings have plenty of benefits as listed in our blog. Read here for 9 one on one meeting tips.

5. Check in with your team to learn about their vision. Everyone can be handed the same prompt and write their version drastically different. Everyone should agree to the vision and OKR that you have. It’s important that your team understands why they should care and put in the effort.

Leaders should define the potential growth that their team could have through these goals. Show that it is pushing them in the right direction.

Tips 4 and 5 both echo the theme of transparency.

Let your organization know the strategies your thinking off-including why you choose certain key results to prove that you’ve reached a certain objective.

6. My sixth is to reevaluate and re calibrate. If your OKRs are not working out the first time around, you need to analyze the root of the problem. Don’t be afraid to ask your team for their feedback on the OKRs. It is their OKR as much as it is yours.

Keep an eye out for the progress your team has made and change some key results if necessary. It’s alright to readjust what your objectives and key results are. You will keep on having to transform your OKRs.

A stagnant yet long term OKR is a sign of neglect. Keep your OKRs up to date to reflect what’s important and signals success.

7. Last but not least, reviewing and evaluating your progress is important. This last tip requires you to understanding what went wrong and revise your OKR. As a leader, you should never make another OKR without looking back at the previous ones.

OKRs are great because you can build off of the older one to keep making high goals for your team. The last OKR should be the stepping stone for the next one and so on.

Now that we’ve reached the end, make sure you remember these 7 tips to setting better OKRs. Thank you for reading this blog and make sure to check out everything else that Focus has to offer.

Use Focus! We can assist and guide your team in all matters from OKRs to meetings. Our tools at Focus keep your team on track, in sync, and focused on what really matters.

Focus not only utilizes OKRs but daily check ins, a Slack bot, and more. Our team at Focus can attest to its helpfulness and benefits.

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Amy Ngo

Amy Ngo

Amy is a Digital Marketer here at Focus. She is a contributor to the blog and does outreach via social media to spread the word about OKRs.

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