Jerry Mouse and his OKR
What do iconic fictional villains have in common? They always lose in the end. In our Villains of OKR series we will analyze the mistakes in their strategy execution and learn from their failures through an OKRs lens.
This Villains of OKR post is unlike any other. For our ‘J’une Psychos series, we’re uncovering the truth behind cartoon character Jerry from Tom and Jerry. Buckle up ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to ruin your childhood.
*Hammers pinging* *axes whooshing* *knives slicing* *fireworks igniting* *Tom screaming* – Jerry Mouse
Name: Jerome “Jerry” Mouse
Credentials: Inventive torturer, professional escapee, exponential strength and speed
Personality: adorable, sadistic, clever, cunning
Flip the cat-and-mouse behavioral dichotomy on its head
|Objective||Get the best of Tom Cat||96.67%|
|Description||Running from the cat isn’t enough. Make the cat run from you.|
|KR 1||Avoid being captured||90%|
|KR 2||Torture Tom with wit and inventiveness||100%|
|KR 3||Get others to antagonize Tom||100%|
|Task||Invent mind-bending and impossible torture methods||Succeeded|
|Task||Steal food from the house||Succeeded|
Jerry is a certified OKR Champion. If fictional characters could become Gtmhub partners, he would be the next one invited to our Partner Program.
His execution? Nearly flawless.
His adaptability? Literally lifesaving (sorry Tom).
The question shouldn’t be, “Was Jerry successful with his OKR?” Here’s the real question: Is Jerry Mouse successful as a lovable cartoon character that has tickled funny bones for decades… or as a fun-sized sadist that brings a humorous twist to physical and psychological torture?
We argue, based on the consistency and success through his OKRs, Jerry might be the most psychotic among the Villains of OKRs. But why was he psychotic and successful? Let’s analyze Jerry’s Key Results.
He is ruthlessly dedicated to executing on the fly
Jerry far outweighs his main adversary, Tom, in intelligence, capability, planning, and execution. Key Result #1 is based on animal instinct. Run or be captured. Live or die.
More frequently than not, we see Jerry successfully evade Tom. Even when Jerry slips on his execution (as all professionals will), he is ruthless in his efforts to course correct.
Digging deeper, Jerry Mouse’s ruthlessness is what makes him psychotic. Jerry has too much leverage over Tom to run out of ideas or gameplans. Even when Jerry is “captured” by Tom, he’s never really captured. He has a Plan B, C, and D for even the most complex of Tom’s pursuits.
Ask yourself… is all this premeditation of offensive torture and defensive evasion a psychotic trait? Yes or no, it’s certainly ruthless. Jerry is more machine than mouse, and that machine-like dedication to his survival is the first element of his “psychotic” success.
He goes beyond the physical to get what he wants
Nothing screams (or in this case, squeaks) confidence like stringing your competition along instead of getting rid of them.
At any point in time, Jerry could devise a plan to permanently take out his #1 obstacle, Tom. Jerry’s OKR isn’t about running from Tom. Or destroying him. It’s about using his cleverness and inventiveness to beat Tom at his own game, time and time again.
Rather than put Tom out of his misery, Jerry physically and mentally tortures Tom. Every episode of Tom and Jerry is like 50 First Dates (a movie where Adam Sandler’s character dates Drew Barrymore’s character, and each day after their date her memory resets and it’s like they meet for the first time the next day). Except instead of first dates and sweet romance with Tom and Jerry, it’s sadistic cartoon violence.
Jerry’s toying with Tom comes from the limitless boundaries of a psychotic imagination. But Jerry’s twisted mind goes beyond using physical cartoon weapons — mallets, knives, guns — to hurt Tom. Jerry Mouse takes torture from physical to psychological in numerous episodes:
- “Posse Cat”: Stealing Tom’s food while Tom unintentionally rewards Jerry for “finding” food
- “Baby Puss”: Inviting neighborhood cats to bully Tom for being dressed like a girl’s baby doll
- “Fraidy Cat”: Pranking Tom to think he’s in a haunted house
Hunger. Ridicule. Paranormal activity. Three of many psychological themes Jerry uses against Tom to dial in on his OKR.
He consistently disrupts his competition’s security
As seen from Key Result #3 — Get others to antagonize Tom — Jerry takes competition to the next level. He leaves no stone unturned in his quest to get the best of Tom. Jerry might not always be hurting Tom himself, but he is a pro at never letting Tom take it easy.
Tom’s safety and security are dependent on his owner as much as himself. Mastermind Jerry knows this fact and abuses it to his sadistic pleasure. The recurring dog character Spike is also incited frequently by Jerry to go after Tom. If Jerry isn’t doing his own bidding, he has friends that will do it for him.
Jerry often goes the extra mile to ensure that the chaos left from his battles with Tom (a destroyed home) is blamed solely on Tom. He recruits muscle like Spike the dog to bring the pain when it seems like Tom is getting ahead of Jerry. Tom frequently experiences extended suffering thanks to Jerry via punishment from his owner or from others.
If disruption is like a wave, then Jerry’s execution is the tsunami in Tom’s life. Trials and tribulations aren’t enough to exact on the rival Tom. Total destruction and chaos are the only options in Jerry’s eyes.
What We Can Learn from Tom and Jerry
1. Jerry is aggressive in his goals, but tends to focus on some things that don’t matter
Against a more formidable opponent, Jerry’s overly domineering tactics would stretch him too thin and throw him out of balance. In business, it’s easy to focus on things that don’t matter if you’re not properly aligned with your Objective. Avoiding being captured is Jerry’s most vulnerable Key Result.
While torturing Tom might be all fun and games, focusing too much on Tom isn’t worth the effort. It simply doesn’t matter if Tom is tortured because we’ve seen that Tom doesn’t give up on chasing Jerry episode after episode. Focusing on not being captured and avoiding scenarios of endangerment should be Jerry’s primary focus. Offense in the wrong direction will become a weakness.
2. Tearing down other’s buildings isn’t the way to make yours taller
If Jerry kept his mission in mind when creating his Objective, getting the best of Tom wouldn’t be the sole focus of his Objective. Jerry knew all along that he had a large competitive edge on his opponent, Tom. With this knowledge, Jerry’s #1 threat was misdiagnosed. It isn’t Tom. His #1 threat is his limitations on building a sustainable life for himself.
The traditional cat-and-mouse dichotomy sees the mouse dying at the hands of the cats. Flipping this dichotomy — Jerry’s mission — isn’t about Tom dying or being tortured. Instead, it’s about Jerry living to his fullest. Jerry is too focused on tearing Tom down that he forgets to build himself and his life up.
Competition is always important to consider. Being tone-deaf to the industry landscape is the quickest way to lose your foundation. But great business isn’t about tearing other businesses down. It’s about building a business with a foundation and focus so strong that the other businesses don’t matter.
An appropriately aligned OKR would have meant true success for Jerry’s mission (but probably fewer Tom and Jerry episodes).
Final thought: don’t get so caught up in the game of cat-and-mouse that you forget where the cheese is.
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