What are OKR targets? The Basics of This Goal Setting Approach (2023)

The Great Wall of China took 2,500 years to build. The Ming Wall alone, its most famous section, took 276 years to build.

So did all the masons, or even all the Ming emperors, come to work every day thinking of finishing the Great Wall?

Of course we hope not, otherwise they would be overwhelmed with stress!

That's the idea behind OKRs, or key goals and outcomes. OKRs are a way to make even ambitious goals more achievable by breaking them down into smaller pieces.

If your destination is the Great Wall of China, the OKRs are all the battlements, fortifications, and stones.

Companies from Google to Twitter use OKR goal setting to achieve amazing things. You can probably help your organization as well, and hopefully your job will be a lot less demanding than building a 13,000 mile wall.

Here's what you need to know about creating a list of employee performance goals and targets.

What are OKRs?

RS okThey were invented by Intel in the 1970s to monitor progress and achieve ambitious and extraordinary goals. Outside of Big Tech, they were popularized by John Doerr, who told the world about the power of OKRs in his 2017 book.evaluate what matters.

OKRs can be summed up in one simple sentence:

"I will achieve [goal] based on [key results]."

(Video) OKRs | The Most Effective Way to Set the Right Goals

OKR goals consist of two complementary parts: goals and key results.

Simply put, goals are where you go. The key outcomes are how you get there.

Goalsthey are bold and inspiring visions of the future. Big goals are descriptive and exciting, the kind of things that make people come together to achieve them.

main resultsThey are components of an OKR that are quantitative, hyper-specific and time-limited: think Steve Wozniak in Meta's Leonardo Da Vinci. Once the main results are complete, you get a lot closer to your goal and can measure how far you've come.

think big

OKRs are not for "business-as-usual" daily goals.

I wouldn't create an OKR like "close payroll every two weeks" or "serve 35 customers a day" unless you have significant challenges in those areas.

Instead, OKRs are meant for big and lofty goals: the Great Wall of your company.

The OKR framework breaks down those big dreams into smaller but no less important tasks that are relevant to every department, team and even individual.

That means every building block of your company's Great Wall gets the care, focus and attention to detail it deserves. The result? A stronger and higher quality end product.

OKR configuration

Good OKRs don't exist in a vacuum. Sure, it's great when people set goals, but they're unlikely to transform an organization or be useful in larger teams.

(Video) Why the secret to success is setting the right goals | John Doerr | TED

For this reason, the OKR objective consists of three parts: company-wide, team and individual OKRs.

Company OKR

As a rule, executives or senior management select 1-3 company-wide OKRs in a defined period of time, e.g. B. every year or quarter.

These overall goals (and the results against which they are measured) align closely with the company's mission. OKRs translate broad strategic goals into specific tactical priorities.

Less is more when it comes to business OKRs.The search showsthat better employee engagement requires people to feel connected to their organization's overall goals. Companies that set too many OKRs risk confusing their employees and diluting the impact of each one.


Managers then break down these OKRs into goals and key outcomes for each department or team.

Good team OKRs are collaborative, so teams can work together to achieve them. Nobody wants to feel like a cog in a machine, yeswas shownthat teams perform best when they work toward a clear and shared goal.

individual OKRs

Finally, employees and managers work together to assign OKRs to each and every team member.

The best custom OKRs feel personally meaningful and allow the employee to keep track of things that really matter to them. While these can be business outcomes like sales, they can also be areas where they want to build skills or learn more.

For this reason, the OKR hiring process should be participatory, with employees and managers working together to decide which goals are most appropriate.

OKRs based on engagement vs. entitlement

There are two types of OKRs: ambitious and commitment-based. A good goal setting strategy should use both.

(Video) Objectives and Key Results explained (New OKR Crash Course)

demanding OKRs

did you hear the sentenceWill you fly to the moon and land among the stars?This is an example of a target OKR, also known as an extension target.

Stretch goals have a 50-70% chance of being achieved. They're not impossible, but they're definitely ambitious - in an exciting way!

Commit-based OKRs

Commitment-based OKRs are the ones you can complete with 90-100% certainty. Maybe they're in a small area of ​​achievement that you're already seeing, and you have the resources to increase people's achievement.

To ensure these OKRs are appropriate, involve employees in the goal setting process. Do you think you can realistically deliver these results?

Set realistic expectations

OKRs are inspirational, visionary and even fun - not intimidating or pushy!

That's why it's critical for Make sure employees know which OKRs are engagement-based and which goals are ambitious.

Stretch goals are “if we can”, not “at any cost”. Commitment-based OKRs should be realistic enough that employees don't feel stressed or afraid to commit to them.

If these distinctions aren't communicated clearly enough, teams can sacrifice quality or even compromise dangerously in order to achieve their goals.

One strategy to avoid this is to underpin ambitious goals with quality-driven key outcomes, such as: B. "Launch our software with less than 5 errors".

It is particularly important not to tie targeted OKRs to employee compensation.The search showsthat financial incentives to aim too high lead to unethical behavior and an unhealthy competitive culture in the workplace.

(Video) Introducing OKR by SPACE: An Unique Approach to Goal Setting

The Power of Weekly Checkups: OKR for Performance Management

Setting OKR is not like casting a spell. You alone will not transform your organization or bring about change.

Instead, think of OKRs as a roadmap. They show their people where they are going and what it takes to get there.

Maybe your goal is an enchanted forest, and the main results are treacherous mountains and dark caves that you have to pass along the way.

You can't get where you want to go without a map. In fact, you won't even know if you're going in the right direction! Because of this, knowing the OKR framework can be helpful in building people management skills.

Track progress toward your goal

Weeklyrecords So he leads his team into the magic forest and makes sure that nobody gets eaten by a bear.

Use OKRs in your check-ins to assess performance in a flexible, human, and productive way.

Discuss progress with key findings for each employee. how are they Is there something holding you back, at work or in your personal life, that you could support?

This is also the time to watch out for unintended consequences (like burnout or poor quality) that can sabotage the entire mission. When necessary, check-ins are the ideal time to remind your team that quality, safety and health come first.

An easy way to track OKRs

Visibility is everything when leading teams to big things.

15five's centralized platform makes it easy to see how your business is progressing towards your most important goals. You can set company OKRs, split them into teams and individuals, and easily track progress.

(Video) What are OKRs? Easy Explanation And Practical Examples Of Objectives And Key Results

Our OKR tool gives you a bird's-eye view of how people achieve their most important goals and shows the key results that get them there.

See how you will now see OKRs within 15Five.


1. Smart Goal Setting Approach That Works (Traditional Goal Setting VS OKR)
(DoerPreneur Soft)
2. How to Set Good OKRs With Examples
3. OKR 101: Achieve Your Goals and Change Your Life with OKR
(Growth Quest)
4. How personal OKRs improve your goal setting
(What Matters)
5. How use OKR for personal goals to have an incredible 2023
(OKR Quickstart)
6. Introduction to OKR [2023]
(ZOKRI - OKR Software & Training)
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