OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal-setting methodology. It involves setting an objective and supporting it with three to five measurable key results for achieving the desired outcome. 

First coined by Andrew Grove, aka “the father of OKR”, this term refers to a framework that helps align all teams within an organization toward common, tangible goals. In his 1983 book, High Output Management, Grove explained OKRs with two simple questions:

  • Where do I want to go? = Objective
  • How will I check if I’m getting there? = Key Results

But, what is an OKR explanation without some examples of OKRs in the real world? Let’s take a look at defining your own objectives and key results, and how common OKR examples can help you with this! 

Defining Great Objectives for OKRs

Objectives are company-wide, but departments and teams in larger organizations will need their own more specific objectives too. 

The best objectives are tangible, offering motivation in a way that is unambiguous and easy to understand. Defining objectives that meet these criteria will make it clear to everyone what the organization or team wants to achieve and is inspired to make it happen.

What’s more, achieving the said objective should provide obvious value for the organization. The best OKR for one company or team might not be feasible or beneficial for another. This is why it’s important to refer back to your organization’s values.

When validating your objectives, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the objective we want to accomplish clear?
  • Is the reason we want to achieve this objective clear?
  • When reading the objective, is it easy to devise ways to achieve this (the key results)?

If the answer to all of these questions is “yes”, you should already be well on your way to defining the key results to support the objective. 

Defining Great Key Results for OKRs

Objectives define what you want to achieve. The key results show how you will achieve this. Your key results must be in the form of a clear effort (e.g., launch two new products by June 2025) or a measure (e.g., 10 per cent increase in sales).

Your key results should not include words such as “strive”, “continue to”, or “participate.” These words are activities rather than key results. Instead, your key results should describe the action you’ll take and the metrics you plan to deliver for later verification of success. 

One of the benefits of okrs is clarity. But optimal clarity means asking yourself these questions:

  • What do my team (or I) have to deliver or complete to achieve the objective?
  • What key metrics or measurements will confirm the successful achievement of the objective?

Key results include things that make a meaningful difference rather than every detail or action. But, the evidence of whether you’ve achieved the key results or not should be verifiable and accessible.

Often, using OKR software is the best way to set, track, and measure if and how your key results are being achieved. But the best OKR software for you and your company can depend on several factors, including the OKRs you set.

Common Examples of OKRs for Different Departments

Now you know a little more about defining objectives and key results to devise your own OKRs. But what are OKRs like in practice? Here are some examples relating to various departments to make everything a lot clearer:

1. Marketing OKR: Greater Brand Awareness and Credibility

Objective: Raise brand awareness and brand credibility

  • KR: Launch a monthly newsletter with valuable content 
  • KR: Publish eight original 1000-word blog posts on the website per month
  • KR: Earn two positive media PR placements in our community this quarter
  • KR: Achieve 15 five-star reviews on independent review sites this year

2. Sales OKR: Quality Sales Leads

Objective: Create higher quality sales leads

  • KR: Generate a new list of scripted questions to collect in customer relationship management (CRM) software 
  • KR: Redesign user engagement form to include three new compulsory screening questions
  • KR: Ensure that at least 75 per cent of leads have completed compulsory questions 
  • KR: Automate the process of transferring sales lead data to CRM

3. Customer Service OKR: Consistent Customer Experience

Objective: Provide a consistent customer experience regardless of the method or channel of engagement

  • KR: Integrate all data into the new CRM to create a single view page for each customer
  • KR: Automate routing of calls and chats to the same point of contact if appropriate and when available 
  • KR: Update website FAQs every month to better explain common customer queries 
  • KR: Enable product returns by offering a wider range of shipping options and pick-up services

4. Technical Operations OKR: Reliable App Performance

Objective: Increase the company app performance levels and user experience

  • KR: Reduce app downtime by at least one per cent
  • KR: Improve app response time by at least one per cent
  • KR: Conduct three code audits each month

5. Human Resources OKR: Improved Employee Retention

Objective: Improve employee retention rate

  • KR: Reduce company attrition rate to 5 per cent or lower
  • KR: Increase average employee satisfaction score to 9 or above
  • KR: Ensure that 95 per cent of employees complete an engagement survey to improve transparency and alignment
  • KR: Complete a report comparing the company’s current compensation and benefits to industry norms

Using Examples to Define Your Own OKRs

Defining goals and devising ways to achieve them within your team or organization can be difficult.

But, as these examples of OKRs show, this particular goal-setting method can make it a lot easier to approach the process of hitting the targets you’ve set for yourself. And once you get the hang of the OKR methodology, we’re sure you’ll never want to go back!

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By Alin

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