An organization has several functional units, and every individual and team needs to work in coordination to produce the outcomes that lead to the fulfillment of the organization’s objectives. So, there is a need for a system to align the organization and make teams and individuals work towards the common goals.
Among the many frameworks that make this possible is Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a goal setting framework suitable for aiming high as an organization, ramping up performance, and achieving ambitious goals. While different frameworks and measurements, such as KPIs, SMART goals, MBOs, etc, are designed for similar purposes, OKR offers some clear benefits to an organization.
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Benefits of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
Following are the benefits an organization would gain from using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). To get started on an agile OKR software free, sign up for Profit.co today!
1. Enables alignment towards goals
OKR is a goal-setting framework that enables quick alignment of teams and individuals to the organization’s objectives and company OKRs. With full-company alignment, every task and outcome at every single level is aimed at achieving the overall objectives of the organization.
2. Gives employees a clear sense of direction
By ensuring alignment towards the goals, OKR gives a clear idea of what every employee needs to do within the purview of his or her job to contribute in the best way possible towards the organization’s objectives. It gives a clear sense of direction, and everyone knows what is expected out of them.
3. Sets an agenda for teams
When there is an overall objective at the organizational level, OKR allows the management and teams to quickly cascade down to team level and easily allocate the objectives for each team. So, there is a logical connection between the organization’s objective and what the teams need to achieve. This instantly sets them towards thinking how to achieve the goals, in contrast to systems that focus on tasks rather than the outcomes.
4. Encourages individuals to engage with teams
The OKR framework places emphasis on team outcomes rather than individual achievements. As a result, it is the responsibility of individuals to engage with the team, share the responsibilities amongst the team members, set their individual goals accordingly and create an action plan for themselves.
5. Puts individuals on guard with regard to their own performance
Objectives and Key Results gives an individual the freedom to choose his/her own goals in line with the team outcomes. With this flexibility and freedom comes the responsibility to manage his/her own performance and achievements.
6. Helps the organization track progress made at every level
Objectives and Key Results places an emphasis on employees setting specific, measurable and trackable goals. So, it is easy to track how much individuals, teams and the organization as a whole have progressed against the goals.
7. Provides near real-time data, detailed insights and analytics on the progress towards goals
Employees update their progress towards their goals every week using
weekly check-ins. So, the data is always up-to-date, which the OKR software further processes and gives detailed insights on progress made at each level at any given time using dashboards.
8. Helps take informed decisions
When properly managed, the OKR framework presents comprehensive insights required to verify if the organization is doing the right things that yield desired results. With these insights, the leadership can make strategic decisions that are informed by concrete data, so they are always making the right move at the right time to steer the organization in the desired direction.
9. Makes it possible to correct issues quickly
By providing detailed insights on the outcomes of every individual and team, and at the organizational level, OKR allows the leadership to analyze, identify any potential issues and fix them quickly for the smooth running of the organization and its operations.
10. Promotes transparency and accountability
OKR keeps the progress and achievements made by teams and individuals in an open platform for anyone in the organization to refer to at any time. This transparency encourages employees to constantly check what everyone else is doing, push their performance envelope beyond the benchmarks and makes them accountable for the outcomes they produce.
11. Helps prioritize tasks
OKR clearly defines the objectives for individuals. So, they know what is important, and they can prioritize only the tasks that lead them towards contributing to the objectives of the organization. This brings focus at work.
12. Enables teams and individuals set clear goals and targets
OKR is an outcome-oriented framework; instead of tasks, the focus is on the outcomes. So, the employees get to determine what they need to achieve rather than having a manager allot tasks and force an action plan on them. As a result, they are conditioned towards setting clear goals and targets that contribute to the team and the organization’s progress.
13. Improves engagement and team work
OKR does not focus on an individuals’ achievements. Team outcomes are more important than achievement at individual level. The best team outcomes can be achieved only when individuals work together as a team, understanding their inter-dependencies and working together in coordination. OKR creates an ideal condition in the organization for the employees to voluntarily engage with their team and work together towards a common goal.
14. Improves productivity
When the means and ends are clear, the work produced by an individual becomes more relevant. As a result, employees manage to produce meaningful outcomes more often, resulting in efficiency, performance and productivity.
15. Cultivate a performance culture
OKR goal-setting inherently makes employees and teams strive for higher targets every time. They set goals, produce outcomes, fulfill the goals and move on to the next set of goals. This constant cycle of goal setting and goal achievement inculcates a high performance culture, where employees constantly set new benchmarks, strive to surpass them, see what others are doing, and iterate their approaches.
16. Helps analyze failures
OKR is periodically reviewed and frequently evaluated. If the short term goals could not be achieved on time, it gives the leadership an opportunity to quickly analyze the reasons for failures and identify the root cause at an early stage. It helps them rectify the mistakes and apply suitable solutions in a timely manner, before it could snowball into a much bigger issue and potentially cause a serious impact on the organization.
17. Encourages experimentation, risk-taking and innovation to achieve beyond what is normally possible
Objectives and Key Results encourages organizations to to take moonshots and set impossible objectives. To achieve that, teams and individual employees need to set hard-to-achieve objectives. So, employees need to take risks, experiment, innovate and find creative work-arounds to fulfill their objectives.
In addition to this, OKR provides an ideal space for experimentation. With constant review of progress, it is possible to weigh the impact of experiments, and anything that does not work as intended can be addressed quickly. In the end, the organization would have collectively achieved more than what is normally possible.
18. Enables the management to see the big picture
The OKR goal setting process ensures that every outcome is connected to the organization’s overall objectives. As a result, every update posted by individuals and teams is automatically aggregated into a collective progress calculation for the organizational goal. OKR helps the management visualize how every single outcome is connected to the overall progress of the organization and make timely decisions.
19. Helps your organization become agile
OKR helps you quickly implement changes at organization levels and achieve alignment at all levels. This enables you to steer the organization in the right direction and remain agile and adaptable in challenging times.
20. Improves resource allocation
By ensuring transparency, OKR reveals challenges, gaps and deficiencies at every level of the organization. It gives the management the insights required to allocate resources to the right areas in order to get the desired outcomes and achieve the objectives. Better resource allocation leads to better outcomes.
21. Creates cross-functional synergy and cohesiveness
Objectives and Key Results help visualize the interlinked nature of goals at different levels of the organization. It also connects teams with horizontal alignment, and allows those teams to communicate and work together to achieve their respective goals with each other’s cooperation.
22. Enables your team to ‘overachieve’, like Google
Objectives and Key Results framework is popular amongst the top most tech companies such as Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These organizations have proved the effectiveness of the framework with their unprecedented success.
However, you don’t need to be a top tech company to use OKRs. Industry-leaders and start-ups alike can envision big things, aim beyond what is possible, innovate and execute operations like clockwork, and work together as a strong team to overachieve and grow. This quality has ensured success and innovation for Google’s OKRs and for numerous other organizations— and it can work for you and your organization as well!