What are OKRs

OKRS: A comprehensive overview

The chequered history and the exciting future of Objectives & Key Results

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The whats and hows of OKRs

Objectives & Key Results (OKR) is a goal setting framework used by organizations of different sizes – startups, scaleups, established businesses and others. It provides fundamental tenets for organizations to create their own goal structure, without defining processes set in stone. Teams are free to take it up & flavor it to Re-architect work.

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Around since 1970s and adopted by various technology giants like Intel, Google, LinkedIn, Oracle and Twitter among others, OKR has been very efficient in defining objectives and breaking them down into easily measurable key results. In the current scenario where work as we know is transforming, changes in talent pool, engagement models, cognitive tools are accelerating shifts in how organizations perform and excel. Work From Anywhere (WFX) is creating the rise of the “augmented workforce” with Gen Z forming a significant part of that workforce. This calls for organizations to Re-architect work to adapt and learn for future growth, and OKRs help in achieving these goals.

While OKRs are essentially a re-branded & tweaked version of traditional goal setting methods (such as MBOs), these tweaks bring the best of traditional goal setting approaches to meet the needs of the contemporary workforce.

How can OKRs help

Need of the contemporary WorkforceReason behind the needOKR tweaks that work
Disciplined & structured thinking
In the information economy, it is a daunting challenge to put all-encompassing processes in place, unlike the post industrial revolution world where discipline & structure came from optimised processes & assembly lines.Ensuring as much transparency as possible through publicly available organisation goals, OKRs provide a way to always keep the larger picture in sight.
Crystal clear communication
With emails, chat applications & umpteen collaboration software running the workplaces, it’s easier than ever to miscommunicate & misinterpret.Concise ways to communicate priorities. OKRs recommend not more than 3-5 top priority items to be focused on at a time. Additionally, alignment brings in the much needed visibility into the bigger picture.
Aligning efforts to reach a shared goal
Nowadays the shared goal can have 100s of manifestations based on personal inferences, perceptions & preferences, as opposed to the times where the shared goal used to be very tangible – like an automobile, a mechanical engine etc.Cross functional collaboration managed through transparency & alignment.
Remove ambiguity by defining measurable success & failure
In the knowledge economy, definition of success & failures become pivotal as these successes/failures are not self-evident to the workforce unless they are at a large scale.Key results. Make every objective measurable by means of key results. No space left for interpretation.
In the ever changing world of technology, if companies do not move at fast pace they will be run over by players disrupting their industry.Aiming for the moon. OKRs promote setting uncomfortable & stretch targets.

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