Andy Grove had it right when he outlined the approach to Objectives and Key Results (OKR) management in his 1980’s book High Output Management. Setting objectives for the company, department, and individual with measurable results drives executional focus. OKR’s allow you to take your strategy from theoretical to practical, outlining the path forward to achieve your goals.
Throughout my career, objectives were soft and fluffy and only referenced one to two times per year. None of my managers pulled these objectives out on a monthly or quarterly basis to measure our progress against our goals. No one ever really dug in with me on why we were on track or off track. The objective setting that we did in the companies I worked at, rarely pushed the boundaries of what was achievable. Objectives were always high level without a definition of how they were going to be achieved. By the time a discussion took place on progress, it was too late to course-correct.
Being in a non-sales role means it is often harder and takes more time to outline objectives with key results that are measurable. Salespersons can have a clear-cut objective:
Increase annual sales by $10M
Breaking this down further, the key results could be:
- Track all sales activities in the CRM and develop weekly sales reports to show progress
- Set 75 appointments per quarter to build the pipeline to meet quarterly sales goals
- Achieve $2.5M in quarterly sales growth
Defining key results allow you to track progress against your objective. Reviewing progress against these key results on a bi-weekly or monthly basis would enable you to adjust activities if you are behind or ahead of your objective. Ultimately, it enables an employee and their supervisor to have a productive dialogue well ahead of when an objective is expected to be achieved. This ability to coach and adjust throughout the process is a critical component to developing an employee to reach their potential. [Read the rest here