How To Launch, Track, and Achieve Your Objectives & Key Results
On July 20, 1969, the first two humans walked on the surface of the moon, with one of them remarking, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”. Nearly 50 years later NASA declares, “we are going to the moon—to stay”, heralding the delivery of permanent tech to the lunar surface by private companies. We have to wonder, how do monumental feats of achievement like these occur?
It all begins with inspiration. Someone pointed at the largest visible object in the sky and said, “we’re going there”. Next comes the strategy—countless teams planned and executed their small part, measuring progress along the way.
Your company is probably not going to have the 400,000 engineers, scientists and technicians who helped accomplish the moon landings, and you may not be able to point at the moon to inspire. But you can make the seemingly impossible happen with a process called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
Thanks to tech giants like Intel and Google, and John Doerr’s book, Measure What Matters, many are now familiar with this framework for defining and tracking the highest leverage business priorities and their outcomes. Objectives are what the organization, team, or individual wants to accomplish, and are typically qualitative and time-bound. The Key Results are concrete, specific, and measurable, and describe how you’ll accomplish the Objective. The objective is the what, and the key results are the how, where, and when. As a company leader, your job is to create the what—a clear vision for everyone to align with to achieve success. Without vision, your people are basically walking around in a fog. They may be “moving needles”, but without your vision as a leader, they cannot possibly hope to contribute in a meaningful way to a prosperous quarter or year for your company.