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Top Insights From Google’s Video On OKRs

by Zorian Rotenberg, CEO of Atiim Inc.

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Google executives have hailed the power of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) since the 1990s. According to one head Googler, Rick Klau, the goal setting framework is largely responsible for the success Google sees today.

Now, there’s a global interest in using OKRs to accelerate business results and company-wide alignment. Google’s video on OKRs serves as proof – with nearly half a million views, it’s a clear indication of executives’ and managers’ interest in improving goals management practices.

While Atiim has composed a thorough transcript of the video, they’ve also provided a quick takeaway of the top OKR insights for you to read through until you have a chance to watch the full presentation:

1. Anyone can achieve success through OKRs.

Googlers want other companies to stop thinking they could never be like Google, because Google wasn’t Google until they began using OKRs!

2. One of the most valuable advantages of OKRs is the data they provide.

Because OKR progress is tracked through metrics, the data they provide is extremely useful for informing future decisions in any organization.

3. OKRs achieve alignment.

Company-wide collaboration and focus OKRs achieve is similar to a football team: coaches, players, and marketing are all working toward the common goals of winning games and increasing attendance.

4. Don’t make Objectives too comfortable.

To truly accelerate results, some Objectives should be aspirational and thus push employees out of their comfort zones. 

5. While all OKRs support company priorities, not every Objective IS a company priority.

The Objectives of every individual should support top-level goals; however, individual goals are typically not company priorities themselves.

6. OKRs achieve discipline through transparency.

When teams and individuals have a line of sight into what others are working on, it naturally achieves discipline because no one wants to be the reason goals are unmet.

7. Setting, tracking, and achieving OKRs becomes a cycle.

Through this cyclical process, you’ll develop a natural rhythm. As a result, OKRs will become easier to set each quarter. They are not time-intensive at all, in fact.

8. You can achieve buy-in by giving employees a role in goalsetting.

When employees have some input on their individual goals, it gives them a sense of independence and empowerment, making them more likely to commit.

9. Half of OKRs should be top-down; the other half should be bottoms-up.

This collaboration process ensures all Objectives support company goals, but that the employee also experiences the benefits listed in the previous point.

10. The difference between Objectives and their Key Results is critical.

Objectives are the goals themselves; Key Results are measurements used to determine the success of meeting those Objectives.

11. OKRs should always have a number.

In fact, they should follow SMART criteria: specific, measurable, aligned, relevant, and time-bound.

12. Incomplete Objectives are not failures.

Because many Objectives are intentionally set to be aspirational, any progress made on them at all is beneficial for providing data and making an impact on company priorities.

13. Now is the time to start.

When asked when a company should begin using OKRs, Google says it best: “As soon as possible!”

What are some other important learnings you took away from Google’s OKR video? Let us know!

If you’re a CEO, an executive, a middle-manager, or a front-line manager of any team, please take a look at how you can improve your team alignment, performance, and results through OKR goals and ongoing performance management. Here is more about Atiim OKR Pulse TM.

 

zorian rotenberg
Zorian Rotenberg is CEO of Atiim Inc. (i.e. A-team), a SaaS company that makes sales and marketing teams more productive. Previously he was VP of Sales & Marketing at InsightSquared and has been a speaker at many industry conferences, including the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP). He has also contributed to WSJ Accelerators Blog, Top Sales World Magazine and the Salesforce.com Blog, among others. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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