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OKR guide: how to get started with goal setting

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Our OKRs guide will give you a step by step plan on how to get started with objectives and key results for efficient business goal setting and management.

Once you know what an OKR is and how they’re transforming company productivity, our OKRs guide can help you understand how to set OKR’s that will make an impact at your company.

This OKRs guide will help you understand where to get started and how to define a realistic plan to achieve the goals and objectives you set.

Setting realistic goals that keep company aims in mind can be overwhelming, especially for managers and HR teams, so it’s important to provide support and guidance on goal setting expectations.

To help you adopt an OKR framework, we’ve prepared 7 tips and tricks to help you set goals and objectives that will turn your business strategy into a reality, one step at a time.

1. Set OKRs for your business strategy

Leading from the top is key to setting successful OKRs throughout the organization. 

The leadership team begins by looking forward into the long-term, ideally at least 3 years ahead, to set organization-wide priorities. Often, leadership will find inspiration from their vision and mission statements. Once these have been determined, about 3-5 annual organization-wide objectives can be set. This is because team and individual OKR management needs to run in parallel to the organizational objectives, so solidifying these first is key. 

Once the annual organizational objectives have been set, they are then narrowed down into quarterly organizational objectives. This is then when teams and individuals can step in and outline where they believe they can contribute best in supporting their organization achieve their annual objectives.

2. Encourage flexible goals and objectives

It’s a great idea to narrow down organizational Objectives & Key Results by team and individual, but it’s an even better idea to keep it flexible too. When objectives become rigid, it causes silos that lead to lower productivity.

Enabling flexibility means that employees can continue to work towards achieving their key results and objectives when things haven’t gone quite to plan. As you’ll see below OKR’s won’t be perfect at first, so keeping momentum and leaving room for bumps along the way will lead to a higher rate of success than sticking to each and every step of the plan.

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3. Stay open to collaboration

This is a team effort, no OKR is the sole responsibility of an individual to deliver – remember, even though there are individual level OKRs, each Objective & Key Result is working towards an organizational objective. So, keeping all levels of OKRs visible is key to keeping everyone engaged, motivated, and focused on the collective goals of the organization. 

It can also be a good idea to discuss organization-wide objectives, or even share this OKRs guide with employees and managers before they are set to make sure employees are on board as well – it’s hard to achieve an objective when the people working towards their completion don’t believe in them.  

4. Be transparent with your goals

Good objectives are clear, tangible and unambiguous. This is because specific objectives are much more likely to be achieved, as they are measurable and it is easier to track their progress.

Check out our goals for performance review examples to learn how to set clear objectives.

Transparent objectives are good objectives because it means that they will be clear enough for everyone in the organization to understand and work towards. Any ambiguity could mean that employees get sidetracked or lost along the way, leading to lowered morale and a lowered likelihood of achieving the overall organizational strategy.

5. Embrace the learning curve

Even with the advice in this OKRs guide, your goals and objectives won’t be perfect the first time. They are a cyclical process that need continuous revision and review to celebrate what worked well, understand what didn’t work so well and why, and how they can be improved to achieve future OKRs. This also encourages growth and innovation for the future of the Objectives & Key Results you set, as you’ll find new ways to improve them each time.

6. With discomfort comes growth

Set objectives that are realistic and achievable, but also make sure they are aspirational. Avoid wording objectives in a way that indicate a steady state, such as “maintain” or “continue”. They need to be at least a little ambitious to inspire action, motivation, engagement and to enable personal and organizational growth. 

7. Good key results are led by outcomes

Each objective set should have a maximum of 3 key results outlined that will lead to achieving that objective.

Rather than being activity-oriented, such as “help team understand customer segments”, they should focus on the outcome or the result of that activity being carried out, so “report on customer target segments by April 20th”.

This also means that when you are measuring the success of the OKR period, there is tangible documentation of how successfully that key result was completed.

Adopt OKRs with eloomi Goals & Objectives Software

Setting up goals and objectives in your organization won’t be the easiest task, and it will definitely take some practice and time. But once they’ve become a part of your organization’s daily routine, they’re fundamental to creating an agile, innovative and aspirational organization that turns their strategy into a reality. 

Still not sure how to get started? When you’re done researching, feel free to grab a coffee and schedule a call with us to see how eloomi’s goals and objectives tools can work for your business.

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