OKRs are a means to an end

Posted by Bo Pedersen
on December 1, 2018

Gtmhub helps companies align teams around what matters most.

Most often, our customers use Objective and Key Results (OKRs) to define what needs to be achieved, and how to measure progress.

But OKRs are means to an end.

Which end is up to you. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to do for the world?

In his introduction to the ‘Think Different’ advertising campaign, Steve Jobs said that Apple’s mission is to ‘enable passionate people to change the world’. 

Reconnecting with this mission allowed Apple to start its 20-year recovery from near-bankruptcy and irrelevance to becoming the most valuable company in the world (at least for a time).

The concept of OKRs is not new or even inspiring in itself. What’s inspiring about OKRs is what they enable. What is interesting (to me) is how the enable and drive fundamental changes in terms of how people communicate, collaborate, and innovate.

More than anything,  OKRs give people a reason to show up, physically and mentally.

With a strong sense of purpose, and a clear understanding of how they contribute towards the company purpose and mission, employees show up and commit their best efforts.

How does this happen? One word: Alignment. 

OKRs help companies complete their mission by setting stretching objectives for every team and individual employee with measurable key results to gauge progress. So far so good.

Alignment happens when company executives, teams and individuals focus their efforts on achieving outcomes which support the company mission.

A simplified alignment tree:

  • Company Mission
    • Company Objective
      • Team Objective
      • Individual Objective

Thus, a well-defined and well-understood mission is a prerequisite to maximising the value of OKRs. Without a shared understanding of what the organisation is trying to achieve, teams or individuals will never become aligned with the company mission or with each other.