1) Create a safe corporate culture where you are allowed to make mistakes
A key feature of OKRs is that they are flexible and ambitious goals. But an ambitious goal is not always achieved, which is fine. OKRs are mainly there to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and innovation. In this way, the organisation is challenged to try something new, which can deliver an improvement.
This is precisely why the success of OKRs hinges on a corporate culture where people dare to make mistakes. An environment where ambitious ideas are immediately shot down or where you are sternly challenged when targets are not achieved does not contribute to the creative space needed to accomplish the 'Key Results'. People should feel free to provide input without fear of negative consequences or actions.
2) The importance of a clear vision, mission, and corporate values
An organisation's vision and mission are at the core of OKRs. Great OKRs can always be traced back to corporate objectives. The mission and vision communicate what the organisation wants to achieve (mission) and how it wants to do it (vision).
An organisation's values ensure that OKRs remain aligned with the corporate culture. Goals should not be pursued at any cost without considering internal values. Clear corporate values keep OKRs and related activities in balance.
3) Make sure the added value of OKRs is well understood
If employees are not convinced of the added value of a project, it is destined to fail. Making implementation a success requires commitment from team members. They may have to change their way of working. Therefore, it is essential to convince team members of the added value of OKRs without them seeing the transition as a threat to their day-to-day operations.
4) Formulate goals (Objectives) and define focus areas (Key Results)
Business objectives should align with the organisation's vision, mission, and values. Ensure the objectives are sufficiently challenging to motivate employees to work towards them. The 'Key Results' help you determine the focus areas for a quarter. This allows you to make an Objective measurable. Then translate the Key Results into concrete tasks that help you achieve the desired results. Preferably assign these tasks to an individual to avoid shared responsibility.
By always basing Objectives on Key Results from the top layer, OKRs can trickle down from the organisation's top to the executive 'bottom' layer. By linking tasks to Key Results, each individual contributes to the OKRs.
Achieving success with OKRs
Want to dive deeper into the world of OKRs? Discover the follow-up steps in the OKR bible, which will help you make OKRs a success within your team or organisation.