The Secret Ingredient in the Unicorn Recipe

Posted by Bo Pedersen
on September 21, 2018

The world welcomed more Unicorns recently. A Unicorn is a privately owned company with a valuation in excess of $1B.

Most of them have one thing in common. A not so secret ingredient.

 Let’s pick three of them.

  • Rappi is a Colombia based marketplace that connects users who want to purchase prepared foods, groceries, clothes, and more.
  • PagerDuty is an operations performance platform delivering visibility and actionable intelligence across the entire incident lifecycle.
  • GitLab is a web-based open source Git repository manager with wiki and issue tracking features and built-in CI/CD.

Companies doing pretty cool things, growing fast, probably disrupting a few markets, and generally kicking a** and taking names.

What do they have in common?

They all use a goal setting framework called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

OKRs help organisations focus on what matters most, aligning teams and people behind inspiring goals, and measuring progress in realtime.

A well implemented OKRs process translates into several strategic advantages:

  • Growth. By focusing and aligning everyone to achieve stretch objectives, growth accelerates.
  • Employee Retention. When employees have a sense of purpose, their commitment and engagement goes up, and they stay for longer, and work harder.
  • Productivity. When employees have clear goals, and are empowered to take targeted, sustained action, they stop wasting time in pointless meetings, and managers can shift from micro-managing individuals to coaching larger teams.

Of the three companies GitLab is perhaps the most advanced user of OKRs. The company is even sharing its OKRs with the world on its website!

For all three, OKRs are so central to how they operate that OKRs have become a central part of the job descriptions, defining how people work, how to collaborate, and clearly linking each employee to the company mission and goals.

So congrats to Rappi, PagerDuty and GitLab on their awesome performance and Unicorn milestone.

The great news is, everybody can adopt OKRs and benefit from a huge ‘alignment boost’. To get started, download our Ultimate Guide to OKRs.