OKRs vs SMART goals
If you’re looking to set and achieve business goals for yourself or your team, you may have heard about SMART goals and objective and key results. While both concepts aim to help you set specific, achievable and smart goals, they differ in their approach. Let’s dive into the differences between a SMART goal and objective and key result.
What are SMART Goals?
The letters SMART is an acronym, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. It offers a disciplined method for creating goals and is popular across many industries. Here is what each SMART component stands for:
S – Specific
It’s important to clearly articulate what you’re looking to achieve or improve. This is something that both SMART goals and OKRs agree on. Being clear and concise is important, but taking it a step further and being aspirational in your objectives can also provide energy and motivation.
M – Measurable
Having measurable smart goals means you can determine what metrics you will use to track your progress. This is also important for objective and key results. Understanding you only measure what matters in order to know if you’re successful is critical.
A – Achievable
Achievable means ensuring that you can be successful in achieving your business goals with the resources you have. This is another area where both SMART goals and OKRs agree, but the objective and key result OKR framework takes it a step further. Objective and key results strive for the best possible result, not just a realistic one.
R – Relevant
A relevant goal is one that is aligned with the overall smart objectives and priorities of the organization. It should be meaningful and have a clear purpose, contributing to the success of the organization in some way. Relevant smart goals help to ensure that efforts and resources are focused on what matters most and that progress toward the goal will have a significant impact on the organization.
T – Timely
When setting your business goals, you should consider the timeframe. Again, both SMART goals and OKRs share this characteristic, however, with OKRs, it’s important to link the timing to your operating rhythm. If your team is measuring OKRs on a six-month period while the rest of the organization is measuring on a quarterly cadence, your operating cycles will be out of sync. When using the OKR framework, you should ensure that your timing is aligned with the rest of the organization.
What are OKRs?
OKRs, or Objective and Key Results, take a slightly different approach. While SMART goals focus on specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely objectives, objective and key results aim to set specific, measurable, aspirational objectives with aligned and measurable key results.
OKRs start with clear and concise statements of an objective, but unlike smart goals, they also strive to be inspirational and provide direction over time. All outcomes and key results in the OKR framework should be directional and aligned with the team and organization.
Additionally, OKRs not only set the business goals but also outline how you’re going to achieve them.
Smart goals vs OKR framework
When it comes to setting and achieving goals, both SMART goals and objective and key results have their strengths and can work in harmony.
SMART goals is simply a framework for how to write a good goal. The OKR framework with objectives and key results is a way to manage your organization’s focus holistically to achieve your goals
Both SMART objectives and OKRs have their advantages and can be successful in various situations. SMART objectives offer an organized and precise methodology ideal for team or individual goals. The OKR framework, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on alignment, transparency, and aspirational goals, making it more appropriate for creating organizational goals. The organization’s culture, context, and desired outcomes all influence which option is best.