Lately, a lot of my contacts have been talking about the term Objective Key Results (OKRS). This is a new management method that sets goals based on key performance indicators. But what is actually behind it?

What are Objective Key Results (OKRS)

The method was invented by Andy Grove and John Doerr and first mentioned on Google in 1999. You can currently find the method at Oracle or Twitter, for example. The T3N describes this as follows: Measurable key results are assigned to each objective (objective). The successes are measured at regular intervals and new OKRs are defined.
The OKRS are not determined at the company level, but are negotiated with each team. A manager then has the task of synchronizing these together with all employees and adapting them to the company’s goals. The idea behind the goals is that they cannot be fully achieved and are therefore an incentive. According to Murakamy are the main advantages and goals of OKRS:

  • clarity about the most important tasks to generate in the company
  • The right focus for the next three months
  • About proper use scarce resources to decide
  • transparency creating for employees to work on the right things
  • A better communication to introduce
  • Implement indicators to measure success
  • To connect vision, mission and strategy to short-term, operational planning

An example of Objective Key Results (OKRS)

In the following I would like to give an example of OKRS so that the explanation can be better understood and you get an idea of how these can be used in everyday life.
Imagine a consulting company that currently has a turnover of 20 million euros. The management’s goal is now to be on a par with large consulting firms such as Accenture (34.9 billion euros) and Capgemini (12.5 billion euros). Now you define certain key results which you can measure. These could be:

  • Winning every 2nd tender in the public sector
  • Advising 8 of the 30 DAX companies
  • 100 new consultants hired this year

After a one-on-one interview with your HR department, you could now set the following goals:
target :

  • Improve the number of applications

Key results

  • Increase investment in social media by 30%
  • More flexible contracts for all new applicants
  • Establish home office as the standard in the company

You would now have to set similar goals with your salespeople as well as your consultants and synchronize them all together. This results in specific goals, which are adapted to the corporate goals and are clear, measurable milestones. These are transparent for all teams and can / should encourage.

Conclusion

The method is of course not completely new, but now everyone is talking about it. So you set goals that are hardly achievable and measure the achievement of goals using specific figures. It is important for you as a manager to synchronize these. Important: There are no sanctions for failing to meet the targets. The advantage is that you create team goals that are transparent for the entire organization. Surely this is worth a try. What is your experience with it? Feel free to write it in the comments!

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Dr. Dominic Lindner
Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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