Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
John Doerr and Larry Page
“When people have conflicting priorities or unclear, meaningless, or arbitrarily shifting goals, they become frustrated, cynical, and demotivated.”
The essence of a healthy OKR culture—ruthless intellectual honesty, a disregard for self-interest, deep allegiance to the team—flowed
Less is more. “A few extremely well-chosen objectives,” Grove wrote, “impart a clear message about what we say ‘yes’ to and what we say ‘no’ to.” A limit of three to five OKRs per cycle leads companies, teams, and individuals to choose what matters most. In general, each objective should be tied to five or fewer key results.
focus, alignment, tracking, and stretching.
“Bad companies,” Andy wrote, “are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”
“When you are tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it.”
As they shift from planning to execution, managers and contributors alike tie their day-to-day activities to the organization’s vision. The term for this linkage is alignment, and its value cannot be overstated.
When our how is defined by others, the goal won’t engage us to the same degree.
High-functioning teams thrive on a creative tension between top-down and bottom-up goal setting, a mix of aligned and unaligned OKRs.
unacknowledged dependencies remain the number one cause of project slippage. The cure is lateral, cross-functional connectivity, peer-to-peer and team-to-team.
the simple act of writing down a goal increases your chances of reaching it. Your odds are better still if you monitor progress while sharing the goal
with colleagues—two integral OKR features.
Our goals are servants to our purpose, not the other way around.
For best results, OKRs are scrutinized several times per quarter by contributors and their managers. Progress is
In both one-on-ones and team meetings, these wrap-ups consist of three parts: objective scoring, subjective self-assessment, and reflection.
Googlers are encouraged to use their OKRs in self-assessments—as guides, not as grades.
The point of objectives and key results, after all, is to get everyone working on the right things.
the key to satisfaction is to set aggressive goals, achieve most of them, pause to reflect on the achievement, and then repeat the cycle.
“can be more effective if coupled with reflection—that is, the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience.”
An unfinished objective might be rolled over to the next quarter, with a fresh set of key results—or perhaps its moment has passed, and it is appropriately dropped. Either way, sound management judgment comes first.
Those who do more than anyone thinks possible . . . with less than anyone thinks possible.
According to Maslow, only after we satisfy more basic concerns—starting with food and shelter, then safety, then “love” and “belongingness”—can we move to higher-level motivations. At the top of Maslow’s pyramid stands the need for “self-actualization”:
manager’s “first role,” Drucker said, “is the personal one. It’s the relationship with people, the development of mutual confidence . . . the creation of a community.”
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
we need a new HR model for the new world of work. That transformational system, the contemporary alternative to annual reviews, is continuous performance management. It is implemented with an instrument called CFRs, for:
Was the goal harder to achieve than you’d thought when you set it? Was it the right goal in the first place? Is it motivating? Should we double down on the two or three things that really worked for us last quarter, or is it time to consider a pivot?
CFRs embody all the interactions that tie the team together from one game to the next. They’re the Monday videotape postmortems, the midweek intrasquad meetings, the preplay huddles—and the end-zone celebrations for jobs well done.
continuous performance management will lift every individual’s achievement.
Andy Grove estimated that ninety minutes of a manager’s time “can enhance the quality of your subordinate’s work for two weeks.”
Goal setting and reflection,
Ongoing progress updates,
Lightweight performance reviews, a feedback
As workplace conversations become integral, managers are evolving from taskmasters to teachers, coaches, and mentors.
For a service business, nothing is more valuable than engaged employees who feel they can make a difference and want to stay with the organization. Turnover is costly. The best turnover is internal turnover, where people are growing their careers within your enterprise rather than moving someplace else. People aren’t wired to be nomads. They just need to find a place where they feel they can make a real impact.
It’s definitely a team-building process. It reminds you that you’re a part of this little, weird community. It’s easy to get caught up in your own issues, especially when you’re working in the kitchen. But OKRs get people to think, Oh yeah, we’re working together on this, we’re working together on everything.
Culture, as the saying goes, eats strategy for breakfast.
culture is “a set of values and beliefs, as well as familiarity with the way things are done and should be done in a company.
collective accountability, fearless risk taking, measurable achievement—are also highly esteemed at Google.
In a high-functioning OKR environment, transparency and alignment make people more diligent in meeting their obligations.
if you measure something, you’re telling people that it matters.”
“Collaboration itself—our ability to connect—is an engine of growth and innovation.”