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OKR Fundamentals – Objective Overview Part 1 & 2

How to Write Smart Objectives using the OKR Framework

It’s crucial to make sure your objectives are clear, quantifiable, achievable, pertinent, and time-bound when designing SMART objectives utilizing the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on creating SMART goals using the OKR framework:

  1. Understand the OKR Framework: Learn about the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework comprising these two elements. Objectives specify what you hope to accomplish, while Key Results are quantifiable results that show how you’re doing with your goals.
  2. Set Clear Objectives: Determine your high-level objectives first. These should be succinct, motivating words that express what you hope to achieve. For illustration, one goal would be to “increase customer satisfaction.”
  3. Make Objectives Specific: Make your goals more precise by focusing on and defining them. Keep your statements clear and straightforward. Instead of saying “Increase customer satisfaction,” you may say “Increase customer satisfaction ratings by 20%.”

Answering the Right Questions with OKRs

When crafting objective and key results, it’s crucial to measure what matters and align them with the organization’s business goals. That means addressing key questions that clarify the team’s direction and purpose. The objective should explicitly state, “What are we coming into work every day to achieve?” and “Why are we doing this in the first place?” This helps teams focus on what they’re doing and where they’re headed. It should be broad enough to capture what the team is working on and align with the business goals to define the success criteria. By linking objective and key results to measure what matters related to the business goals, the team can track progress effectively and ensure they are delivering value to the organization. Ultimately, each smart objective and key result should reflect the organization’s strategic priorities and guide the team to achieve the desired results that support the business goals.

The ingredients of a strong smart objective in OKR framework

To develop effective objective and key results using the OKR framework that only really measure what matters, it’s important to understand the OKR process and its three essential ingredients: subject, transformative action, and impact.

The subject represents the team or organization that establishes the OKR.

The transformative action is the specific action or change in operations that will help achieve the objective. Additionally, the transformative action should align with what matters most to the team or organization, as this will help ensure that the objective and key result is impactful and meaningful.

Finally, the impact is the value that the smart objective brings to the team or organization, which is crucial to measure the success of the objective and key result and determine whether it will measure what matters. By combining these three elements and focusing to measure what matters, teams can write clear, specific, and measurable smart objectives that align with the OKR framework’s principles and help the organization achieve its desired outcomes. This way, the OKR process provides a structured approach to goal setting and encourages teams to be focused, motivated, and aligned with the organization’s strategic priorities.

Inspiration and direction with OKR process

One of the essential features of the OKR framework is that objectives should be both inspirational and directional. An objective that is inspirational motivates and energizes the team to work towards a common business goal, even when they face challenges or obstacles. On the other hand, a directional objective provides a clear path for the team to follow, making it easier to evaluate progress and determine whether the team is on track.

Accountability and Clarity with OKRs

In addition to inspiration and direction, smart objectives also increase accountability and clarity. By providing a common focus and purpose, smart objectives make it easier to evaluate progress, measure what matters,  and determine whether the team is on track. It also helps team members understand how their work fits into the bigger picture and how it contributes to the overall success of the team. This level of accountability applies to individual actions and the work of the team as a whole. The smart objective provides clarity on the impact that the team is having, defining what success looks like, and ensuring everyone is aligned and moving in the same direction.

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