In 1999, shortly following its inaugural year, Google incorporated OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results. The OKR framework remains an integral part of their operations to this day. Google employs OKRs as a crucial tool to articulate, gauge, and accomplish its various objectives.
What exactly are OKRs?
OKR is a goal management system teams, or organizations use to achieve stretch goals through regular check-ins, feedback, continuous learning, collaboration and problem-solving.
- Lightweight: Doesn’t need months of preparation
- Simple and intuitive: for everyone from top to bottom to understand
- Combines goal management and execution
- Dominant goal management framework used by today’s most successful companies
What exactly are OKRs?
For Google, OKRs represent its employees’ deliberate, informed decisions concerning the best use of their time and energy. These choices collectively contribute to attaining the overarching objectives that all individuals and teams within Google strive towards.
Google leverages OKRs as a mechanism to allocate tasks, monitor the advancement of the planned work, and facilitate conversations about priorities and achievements across individuals and teams. OKRs also assist employees in maintaining focus on key objectives, deterring them from dedicating their time to tasks that may seem vital but do not contribute significantly to the main goals, even if those tasks are pressing.
In essence, OKRs are designed to be ambitious and challenging; if they were easily achievable, they wouldn’t push teams to their fullest potential.
OKRs have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over. They’ve kept me and the rest of the company on time and track when it mattered the most.
Why Does Google Use OKRs?
Google considers the use of OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, as a pivotal factor behind much of its remarkable success. As one of the world’s leading technology companies, Google’s application of this powerful management tool has fueled its growth, innovation, and resilience in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Let’s look at why OKRs are a good management and implementation system. OKRs benefit Google and other organizations because they do the following:
1. Bring clarity
Sometimes teams and employees don’t know what is needed or expected of them. Sometimes there is a lack of clarity on the goals, so organizations need OKRs to ensure no ambiguity. It outlines the measurements required for each key result to achieve the corresponding objective/s.
2. Focus and alignment
Every employee’s and team’s OKRs align with the company’s overall OKRs. Therefore there is focus and alignment in achieving company OKRs. Google leaders ensure that OKRs are being decided, top-down and bottom-up.
3. Implement continuous goal-setting and management
The OKR process is ongoing. When a quarter ends, another set of OKRs is put in place. Learnings from the OKRs from the earlier quarter are incorporated into the new set. When this becomes an ongoing process, it leads to extraordinary results.
4. Follow an easy and standard formula
The implementation of OKRs is relatively straightforward and follows the same pattern. There is no room for ambiguity or chaos in the implementation process. Precision and clarity help Google and other companies that use OKRs, stay on track and succeed.
How does Google Grade its OKRs?
There are, of course, many reasons for Google’s success. But being consistent with OKRs has significantly impacted Google’s success.
Google team members grade their key results on a scale of 0-1 at the end of each quarter. As mentioned earlier in this article, OKRs are ‘lofty’ and ambitious, therefore getting a 1 on each key result is not expected (and if the key result does get a 1, then they are not ambitious enough), but getting a .6-.7 is a good indication of the OKRs being sufficiently ambitious. This process takes only a few minutes.
- What are OKRs?
OKRs stands for Objectives and Key Results. It is a collaborative goal-setting OKR methodology which are used by organizations and its department/teams/individuals to set business priorities and create inspiring, resolute, and ambitious goals with measurable results. OKRs, as a concept, help you to track progress, create alignments across all levels, and encourage employee engagement around measurable goals.
- What are the benefits of using OKRs?
OKRs bring clarity, provide focus and alignment, and implement continuous goal-setting and management while following an easy and standard formula.
- Why do top companies like Google use OKRs?
Top companies such as Spotify, Google, and Microsoft use OKRs to keep goals on track and attain accountability from all stakeholders.
Google goes through the OKR process every year to set significant overarching objectives that can be tweaked based on what happens during the year. In addition to the ‘big OKR,’ they set about four to six OKRs every quarter, showing their belief in the OKR process. Google encourages its team to aim high by asking them to set these quarterly OKRs as high as possible.
OKRs are transparent. Every Google employee can see another employee’s OKRs and scores. This transparency regarding objectives and key results helps Google stay focused and achieve a common goal.
Google has followed the OKR method from its start-up days today. An organization doesn’t have to be Google to get value out of OKRs; it’s just proof of what great heights an organization can take when it remains committed to OKRs.