Objectives are defined what you want to achieve: these outcomes should be expressed in a strong, motivating way. Key Results are how you will achieve an objective. Key results can be either quantifiable performance measures or deliverables (effort or projects).
In this article we will further explain OKRs and provide examples. To lead your team through building your OKRs, you can leverage our free guide on Setting OKRs that Work. To establish a sustainable process for using OKRs to manage results, check out our free guide to Establish a Quarterly OKR Cycle.
Defining Great Objectives
Objectives are the “Whats.” Objectives are company-wide, or in larger organizations, are also team-wide. They should be expressed in a tangible, motivating and unambiguous way, so that what the organization or team want to achieve is clear, actionable and inspiring. Furthermore, we believe strongly that the successful achievement of an objective must provide clear value for the organization.
Validate your Objectives:
- Is what we want to accomplish and why is it important crystal clear?
- If others read the objective, will it guide their focus and effort (key results)?
Defining Great Key Results
Key Results are the “Hows” an objective will be achieved. They must describe a deliverable in the form of a measure (e.g., 15% growth in customer retention) or in the form of a clear result of effort (e.g., Launch a new CRM by June 30, 2020).
If your KRs include words like “maintain,” “strive,” “continue to,” or “participate,” these are activities, not key results. Instead, start each Key Result with an action verb and continue the sentence with a description of what will be delivered with evidence of completion. This evidence must be verifiable and accessible. According to John Doerr, author of Measure What Matters, “with Key Results, this isn’t meant to encompass everything that’s happening but only those things that make a truly meaningful difference.”
Questions to determine your Key Results:
- What must my team (or I) deliver/complete to achieve the objective?
- What are the key metrics that will indicate success for the objective?
Example OKRs for Your Entire Organization
Because aligning and cascading OKRs can be very confusing, we recommend OKRs are thought of as companywide efforts where different functional teams champion the objectives and own the key results.
Therefore, OKRs are considered team OKRs – not individual OKRs. Also, cross-functional team OKRs are the best. Use these examples to help jump start your thinking. Resist copying them outright as inspiring ownership and accountability is more important than perfect OKRs!
Customer Acquisition Examples
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #1: Improve our sales performance across the whole team.
- KEY RESULT: Maintain a sales pipeline of qualified leads valued at least $500K quarterly.
- KEY RESULT: Increase close rate from 22% to 27%.
- KEY RESULT: Increase scheduled calls per sales rep from 3 per week to 6 per week.
- KEY RESULT: Grow average deal size from $10K to $12K.
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #2: Support the sales team by bringing in as many qualified leads as possible.
- KR: Produce 3 new case studies targeting new customer segments.
- KR: Revise the standard sales deck and talk track to reflect updated product/offerings.
- KR: Work to double web form leads.
- KR: Host 2 sales-training sessions.
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #3: Increase our reach and brand awareness outside of current geography.
- KR: Generate 1 new thought leadership article weekly.
- KR: Increase newsletter signups by 200/week.
- KR: Increase website traffic by 10% from new target geographies.
Customer Delivery or Service Examples
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #4: Retain our hard-earned customers, reducing churn where factors are in our control.
- KR: Conduct post-engagement debriefs for all contracts above $50K.
- KR: Move NPS from 6.5 to 7.
- KR: Develop formal program to conduct account reviews with all strategic accounts.
- KR: Achieve an average, annualized customer retention of 85%.
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #5: Create a seamless customer experience, regardless of the channel of engagement.
- KR: Create a single view of the customer by integrating all data in the new CRM.
- KR: Enable product returns at all locations – for retail and online.
- KR: Increase average annual share of wallet from $320 to $350.
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #6: Ensure that all customers are fully realizing the value of our Q1 feature releases.
- KR: 100% of account administrators receive announcement.
- KR: At least 75% of clients use the new features w/in 30 days.
- KR: 80% of all users log in at least 1 time in 30 days.
- KR: Each client service rep reviews 3 each month.
Operational Excellence Examples
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #7: Improve the Engineering team’s speed of delivery.
- KR: Increase sprint capacity by achieving 80% of sprint commitments.
- KR: Bake-in 50% more time for QA.
- KR: Increase unit testing coverage to all core processes.
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #8: Improve the Engineering team’s quality of delivery.
- KR: Reduce the number of bugs/issues found during dev process by 50%.
- KR: Reduce the number of bugs reported by customers after major releases.
- KR: 100% of releases have a retro.
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #9: Improve current application performance levels.
- KR: Improve app response time by 1-2%.
- KR: Reduce app down time by 1%.
- KR: Conduct 3 code audits per month.
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #10: Transition all employees to have the capability to work remotely.
- KR: Deploy VPN.
- KR: Setup VOIP app for remote call management.
- KR: 80% of all users log in at least 1 time in 30 days.
- KR: Migrate all legacy accounts to O365.
People Expertise/Excellence Examples
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #11: Dramatically increase our team’s capabilities, systematically and consistently.
- KR: 100% of the team has personal development plans.
- KR: 100% of employees have 360 reviews.
- KR: All managers are conducting 1:1s at least every other week.
- KR: Develop a plan for targeted training opportunities for capability gaps.
OBJECTIVE EXAMPLE #12: Accelerate talent acquisition to build team capabilities and strength.
- KR: Launch hiring campaigns on at least three job sites.
- KR: Stand up an employee referral program.
- KR: Reduce the time to hire from 35 days to 25 days on average.
Use OnStrategy to Manage your OKRs
Quick update tools, scorecards, reports, and action plans make it effortless to manage your OKRs and hold weekly 1:1s to drive organization-wide accountability.