OKR is an acronym for Objective Key Result. It's a goal-setting system developed by tech entrepreneur Andy Grove when he was Chief Executive Office of Intel. The OKR system was introduced by John Doerr to Google, where OKRs are credited for much of Google's success.
OKRs aren't just a great tool for professional success. They are also a great tool for personal success. In this article we'll be telling you how and why you can use Elate for your personal OKR template.
Let's start by reviewing some terminology, beginning with a definition of OKRs.
OKRs take big goals and break them down into objective, measurable accomplishments that have a completion date. These accomplishments may or may not be completed on schedule, but they don't extend on forever without being done.
Every objective is tied to an actionable Key Result.
The Objective is what you want to accomplish, or where you want to get. Your Key Results are feedback examples that confirm that you are making the progress you need to get to your chosen destination in real time. OKRs examples aren't nebulous slogans. They are objectively measurable events for which you can hold yourself accountworthy.
How can you rock your world with OKRs? The way OKR expert John Doerr puts it is to "Measure what matters." But OKRs aren't numbers. They're sentences.
OKRs give you feedback in a sentence. The objective is a verbal description of something that you will make happen or you won't. The objective always has a feedback verb.
The result is something measurable. It's a number. We all know that numbers aren't totally objective. All of us can find different ways to measure our success. But the feedback in a sentence that you get with an OKR is the feedback verb — did you accomplish that or not? — and the feedback measurement — how much did you accomplish?
So, how are personal OKRs different from, say, the performance goals your management or your board gives you at work every year?
For one thing, personal OKRs fit a shorter time frame. You will be achieving your personal OKRs in weeks or months, not years. This isn't to say you can't have long-term goals. Everybody should. But personal OKRs are about staying on track with your goals in real time.
Another way personal OKRs differ from "goals" is that they cover both "what" and "how much." Your OKRs will both remind you what your goal is and how you are going to reach it.
Here's an example:
Objective: Demonstrate personal excellence by writing an OKR.
Key Result 1: Complete this OKR in the next 15 minutes.
Key Result 2: Get a quality rating of 9 out of 10 or higher from OKR coach.
Key Result 3: Make 100% commitment to using Elate personal OKR software.
OK, that's not really a personal OKR that has a lot of professional impact (although all of those objectives are a great place to start using personal OKRs). How about this personal OKR for leading a team meeting?
Objective: Finish team meeting on time.
Key Result 1: Create four new ways to meet working group goals.
Key Result 2: Elicit comments from 100% of team members.
Or here's another example.
Objective: Demonstrate alignment with company's environmental sustainability plan.
Key Result 1: Reduce office water consumption by 10% over the next 90 days.
Key Result 2: Reduce office consumption of paper goods over the next 90 days.
It's important to choose goals you can reasonably expect to meet but that aren't a "sure thing." You need to stretch, but you need to avoid setting yourself up for failure. And generally it's best not to have more than five KR's for each O.
Personal OKRs are shareable. They aren't meant to be a closely guarded secret. You can recruit help in meeting your personable OKRs at work from anyone who will give it. It's always best to avoid TMI, too much information, or distracting coworkers from their tasks, but personal OKRs aren't meant to reside in hidden silos of your personal objectives or to be hidden from the world.
Personal OKRs tend to be your idea, not somebody else's. Or if someone else suggested them they are just as likely to come from a peer as from your boss. There aren't any monetary inducements for meeting personal OKRs, the way that you might get a bonus or a promotion for meeting your OKRs on the job. And because personal OKRs are something you judge for yourself, you can afford to be risk-taking and aspirational. You can be bold with your personal OKRs.
But just because OKRs are personal doesn't mean you can't use personal OKRs at work.
Let's do a quick review of the meaning of personal OKRs.
Personal OKRs at work, OKR guru John Doerr says, give yourself the framework you need to track your progress, create alignment of your goals with the OKRs of your company, and encourage engagement around measurable accomplishments.
Your personal OKR fits into the OKRs for your position, your division, and the company as a whole.
Personal OKR software like Elate has some obvious and some surprising benefits.
In the 2020's, nobody posts sticky notes around their work station to remind them of their personal OKR goals. Personal OKR software like Elate gives you an easily updated, trackable, and shareable system for your personal goal OKR.
But open access to your personal goal OKR is where a surprising benefit of personal OKR software kicks in:
In keeping with the general principle that personal OKRs don't exist in silos, they aren't closely held secrets, and they are shareable to your peers and your supervisor, one of the terrific benefits of personal OKR software is that you create OKR examples for personal growth for your coworkers. They can adopt or modify your OKR examples for personal growth as their own.
A lot of OKR examples list OKRs for chief executives. While OKR tracking on an OKR template pdf is just as valuable for an executive as it is for anyone else in the company, it's misleading to present personal OKRs as strictly an executive prerogative. The fact that personal OKRs are something you usually come up with on your own doesn't mean that executives are the only people in the company who can create them.
But no matter what your role in your workforce, a personal OKR is only as valuable as it is trackable. Remember the objectives and key results definitions above?
You'll be able to answer yes or no to the question of whether you're making progress toward your objective. OKR tracking will tell you how much progress you are making toward your personal OKR.
It's not hard to find a Google doc or an Excel template for easy OKR tracking, charting your percentages of completion of your key result as you go. But for personal OKRs that you can scale to your entire division or even your entire company, so you can solicit cooperation from dozens or hundreds of thousands of coworkers, you need professional OKR tracking software like Elate.
Now let's take a look at some examples of personal OKRs in various industries.
Efficient operations support company-wide success. Poorly organized operations and admin teams hold companies back from reaching their full potential. An efficient back office is essential to every company's success.
What kinds of OKRs can help operations staff reach their full potential? Here are some OKR examples for operations:
Objective: Organize a world-class back office operation.
Key Result 1: Transfer 100% of company and client records securely to the cloud.
Key Result 2: Have needed office supplies in stock 100% of the time.
Key Result 3: Reduce supply cost by 10% by the end of the next quarter.
Key Result 4: Choose and implement a new document sharing system.
OKR software is especially easy to scale for operations. It is helpful to have everyone in operations on board to join efforts for personal OKRs in support and operations
Communications and technology centers in most companies tend to have a common problem: Retaining personnel. Personal OKR examples for communication often double as the training OKR examples for technology divisions in this regard. Here's a model OKR that applies to both divisions:
Objective: Develop an outstanding company culture to support employee retention.
Key Result 1: Implement a new onboarding process by the end of this fiscal year.
Key Result 2: Conduct employee satisfaction surveys division-wide every quarter.
Key Result 3: Increase employee retention in the division to 90% by the end of this fiscal year.
OKRs don't have to apply to entire divisions. OKR also applies to individuals. You will come across good and bad examples of OKR when you let employees set their OKRs without guidance, but the best examples of OKR for professional development all include:
Here's an example.
Objective: Think more strategically to prepare for a management position.
Key Result 1: Read three business books.
Key Result 2: Complete one strategic management course by the end of this calendar year.
Key Result 3: Sit in on one of the company's strategic management meetings every quarter.
Startups tend to focus on company OKR examples to make sure everyone on a usually-small startup team is pulling the same direction. OKR for startups isn't something you can do on a pdf you download for free. Pdf's are hard to hare.OKR software for startups can't be an Excel spreadsheet, because users would tend to overwrite each other. Startups need their own OKR examples for growth, like this on for a data science startup:
Objective Deliver industry-leading data analysis for cross-functional teams.
Key Result 1: Migrate 100% of data to a platform allowing real-time access for end-users on multiple, cross-functional teams.
Key Result 2: Roll out new features that allow for no-code logic customization.
Key Result 3: Maintain 99.5% up-time.
So, what do you need to make sure your vision for your company and your strategy meet? Make OKR more immediate with the Elate personal OKR app. Don't let your OKR get lost in a maze of competing management initiatives. Keep yourself responsible, and keep your employees on track week by week, with Elate.