Common OKR Mistakes (and How to avoid Them)

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Introduction

Objectives and key results are a revolutionary framework that companies can use to define and track objectives and their outcomes. Whether you are new to the concept of OKRs or even an experienced OKR professional, some mistakes and problems are inevitable. OKRs require action and this can be difficult to get right first time.

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However, that being said, there are a few OKR mistakes that can be avoided with a little know-how. Let’s discover 3 common OKR mistakes and reveal how you can overcome them.

Poorly Written Objectives

Poorly written objectives are either too easy or too ambitious. So, what is an OKR exactly? Well, objectives are typically memorable qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve. They should be short, inspirational, and engaging. An objective should motivate and challenge your team. Objectives that are too long, or uninspiring are less likely to appeal to your workforce and are therefore unlikely be taken on board.

Stop and think about the type of change you want to see and try to put this into words. Include action verbs to describe what it is that you want to achieve. When writing your objectives, make sure that you do not have to stop for breath when reading them aloud. Moreover, your objectives should also fit the culture of your organization. This means that they can include informal language and internal jokes if appropriate.

Setting Key Results That Are Not Measurable

Key results are a set of metrics that measure your progress towards an objective. Ideally there should be two to five results per objective. Setting too many key results can take away the focus of your priorities. By using quantitative measures and numerical data you should be able to update progress of your key results and review them on a regular basis. Above all, this makes the amount of work seem more manageable and far less confusing.

Try to think of your objective as an overarching goal, and your key result as a measure of the achievement of this objective. It is only through completing your workplace tasks and initiatives that you can reach your goals. For example, if your objective is to increase your profits by 10 percent, two key results might include sourcing 10 new customers a week and launching a new campaign to double profits from the same time last year.

Lack of Communication

In order to ensure that OKRs are used successfully, communication at all levels of the company is key. This means that personal objectives should be written to support the team and its goals, and likewise, company goals should support employees. There needs to be an understanding that any tasks carried out are being used to achieve team goals. Poor internal communication can lead to a drop in productivity and this can cost money. Employee engagement is vital for the OKR framework to become a success.

To combat any potential miscommunications, a meeting should take place once OKRs are initially introduced and regular follow-up sessions dedicated to discussing goals should also be scheduled. OKRs can also be incorporated into any existing coaching or mentoring schemes organized by the company. This process can be enhanced through the use of OKR software that can enable all employees to understand precisely what everyone else is working on. In turn, this encourages employees to work on their own individual goals while at the same time supporting each other throughout the process. 

It is undeniable that OKRs can take some time to put into place and get used to it. However, using OKR software can help you to write clear OKRs, measure your results, and improve communication throughout your company. Ultimately, be prepared to learn from your mistakes and adapt your OKRs as you go along.

Using OKR software is just one of many ways to boost your business. Looking for even more ways to help your business succeed? Take a look at this helpful guide for some brilliant business tips.