OKRs State of The Industry Report (SOIR) by OKR International
New Delhi (India), January 3: Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) is a goal management and execution system used by companies like Google, Microsoft, Colgate, Netflix, Samsung and more. OKRs are meant to help you focus on priorities, create alignment & commitment and provide an outcome mindset. So why do 83% not get it right the first time?
More and more organisations worldwide are waking up to the power of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). While OKRs first started with software companies, even brick-and-mortar organisations are looking at using OKRs today. On the surface, OKRs are extremely simple to understand. However, when it comes to implementing OKRs, it gets tricky.
So why does a seemingly simple framework become so challenging to implement? Well, the answer lies in the fact that OKRs require the right ecosystem to flourish. A host of factors need to come together as a recipe for OKR Implementation to work within your organisation. And the difficult part is that this recipe is different for all organisations trying to use OKRs.
Symptoms of Poor OKR Implementation
So how do you know that your OKR Implementation is going astray? Some symptoms act as tell-tale signs before it’s too late for you to salvage your OKR Implementation program within your company.
- Leadership Buy-in: You can be sure that your OKR Implementation program will take the wrong turn if your CEO/MD and the key leadership team are not fully bought into the program.
- Poor Communication of Rationale: Another symptom often seen is the need for more focus on communicating the rationale and intent of the OKR Implementation program. Employees who don’t know why OKRs are being implemented cannot contribute accordingly.
- OKR Ham: Getting excited about OKR Implementation is good. However, when teams are over-excited, you see more than 3 to 5 OKRs per cycle. These needs to improve the laser focus OKRs are meant to bring.
- Poor Review Discipline: This is another oft-observed symptom of OKR Implementation going wrong. It’s easy to set OKRs; that’s 20% of the job. The real challenge lies in the OKR Implementation phase, where teams are required to check in weekly or fortnightly. When teams fail to meet as a discipline, the OKR Implementation process goes for a toss.
- Breakdown in Progress Updates: Whether you use software or simple google sheets doesn’t matter. What matters is how often teams are updating progress during OKR Implementation. When your teams are not doing this on the go, you can be sure that you are not leveraging the power of transparency that OKRs are meant to provide.
- Absence of Strategy Linkage: OKRs are not a replacement for your company’s strategy. They are a conduit to enable your strategy to yield results. When you see that the strategic intent is unclear, your OKR Implementation will be ‘vanilla’. This is another symptom that your OKR Implementation process will not give you the desired results you are looking for.
- Poor Psychological Safety: This symptom is connected to organisational culture. When you notice that teams fail to stretch or report where they are failing, it creates a ‘good news’ culture within your organisation. This is a sign that your OKR Implementation will take a beating.
To understand some of the causal factors that lead to failure in OKR implementation, OKR International undertook a study from 1st January 2022 to 15th December 2022 covering respondents from more than two dozen industries globally. Some of the findings from this study have produced insightful information crucial to OKR users worldwide.
A few of the 23 questions asked to nearly 2,500 respondents have been listed below as a glimpse into the actual report.
- More than 50% have named ‘poor leadership’ as the most significant causal factor for OKRs to fail.
- Instead of using OKRs for top strategic priorities, approximately 40% used OKRs for Business as Usual (BAU) Goals.
- Nearly 50% said setting too many OKRs as goals were their biggest mistake.
While these statistics are just glaring parts of the report, understanding the entire report will provide a holistic view of causal factors that act as levers for change. The 2022 OKRs State of the Industry Report provides valuable inputs to assist with goal-setting and implementation challenges. The OKRs State of the Industry Report (SOIR) is produced annually by OKR International Research.
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