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What Are OKRs? A Simple Explanation of Objective Key Results

Goal-setting is a vital component of any business as it sustains momentum and helps keep brands in line with their purpose. Other than setting KPIs, another goal-setting system has risen to popularity, OKRs.

What is an OKR?

OKR’s otherwise known as Objective Key Results is a term coined by John Doerr. This useful goal-setting mechanism focuses on realistic and aggressive steps to achieve a company's overlying purpose. The success behind this ideology is based on setting goals that align with a purpose and passion. These two principles become driving factors for teams to accomplish smaller tasks in order to achieve the overall goal.

For example, if a company is looking to gain more clients, they would set their objective as a larger goal framed by a purpose.

ex. Gain an income of 4,000 euros from four paying clientele for the month of February.

To break it down, the goal is to have four paying clientele and the purpose is to achieve a monthly income of 4,000 euros. In short, the purpose is what motivates the individual/company to set smaller tasks that help accomplish them.

After setting the objective, the next step is to create key results or smaller goals. Key results must include a time frame as well as being aggressive yet realistic.

Some great examples of tasks would include:

1. Reach out to 15 potential clients per week.

2. Create portfolio work from 5 clients by the end of February or 1 client per week.

3. Engage in 1 large project valued at 1,000 euros for the month of February

The smaller tasks break down the larger goal at hand, so while each may be different they work together.

A great way to think about the Objective or purpose is it must be SIGNIFICANT, CONCRETE, ACTION ORIENTATED, and INSPIRATIONAL. These define the Why.

Then the Key results or smaller tasks are the how. Key results and smaller tasks can best be defined as SPECIFIC AND TIME BOUND, AGGRESSIVE YET REALISTIC, MEASURABLE AND VERIFIABLE.

Organizing OKR’s:

OKR’s should be written out at the beginning of a specific period. For example, the beginning of the month would be the best time to reflect on the previous month in order to prepare for the upcoming one. When written at the beginning of a month, it will prepare a team for the work ahead so that the end of the month can be spent reflecting on what challenges arose.

Great questions to ask yourself and your team at the end of the period: did you accomplish the overall tasks? Was the goal achieved? How to improve on the experiences of the month to prepare for the next? Were there any surprises or uncertain circumstances that arose, if so how did you react? Is there a way to be proactive against any changes?

Now let's write out one OKR in the correct format:


Increase efficiency of content marketing

Key Results:

  • Achieve 1K followers on Instagram by the end of March

  • Gain 300 emails by end of March

  • Receive 5 feedback forms from clients end of March

For More Information:

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