What are Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), and Why Might They Help Organisations to Deliver Their Strategy?

March 8, 2023

Alex Firmin

CEO of Promethean Executive

As organizations grow and evolve, it becomes increasingly challenging to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and priorities. That’s where OKRs come in. OKRs provide a powerful framework for managing performance and achieving strategic goals that align with the overall mission and vision of the organization.

Objectives: Objectives are goals that an individual or team wants to achieve. Objectives should be aligned with the overall mission and vision of the organization, and should be challenging yet achievable.  They may be change related, and can also be qualitative; it’s not always necessary to put numbers against them

Key Results: Key Results are the specific and measurable outcomes that will indicate progress towards achieving the objective. Whereas the Objective should be qualitative and aspirational, Key Results should be specific, measurable, and time-bound, and should provide a clear indication of whether or not you are on track to complete the Objective.

Here is a simple example:

Objective: Run a half marathon this year.

Key Results:

  • Complete a 10K race within 1 hour by the end of month 1,
  • Increase running distance by 10% each week, with a goal of running 15K non-stop by the end of month 2,
  • Incorporate strength training into my routine at least twice a week to build endurance and prevent injury,
  • Attend a running group or find a running partner to stay motivated and accountable,
  • Celebrate finishing the half marathon by treating myself to a raucous trip to the pub.


So why should organizations use OKRs to manage performance?

As a start point, OKRs promote alignment. They help to ensure that individual and team goals are aligned with the overall objectives of the organization. This means that everyone is working towards the same goals, and that their efforts are coordinated and synergized for maximum impact.

OKRs also provide clarity. They provide a clear and specific roadmap for what needs to be achieved, by whom, and by when. This helps to eliminate confusion and ambiguity and ensures that everyone understands what is expected of them. It’s like a treasure map that shows you exactly where the gold is buried!

Another benefit of OKRs is that they promote focus. With so many distractions and competing priorities, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. OKRs help to prioritize goals that are most important to the success of the organisation, and avoid distractions or competing priorities that might get in the way.

The Key Results are also highly measurable. They are specific and measurable, which means that progress towards achieving them can be tracked and monitored. This helps to promote accountability and enables timely adjustments to be made if progress is not being made. It’s like having a GPS that tells you exactly how far you’ve come and how far you have to go.

One of the greatest benefits of OKRs is their agility. OKRs are flexible and can be adapted as circumstances change, allowing the organization to be more responsive to changing market conditions or business needs. This means that you can adjust your goals and priorities as needed to stay ahead of the curve.

OKRs also promote engagement. They can help to increase employee engagement by providing a sense of purpose and direction, and by promoting collaboration and teamwork towards shared goals. When everyone is working towards the same objectives, it creates a sense of unity and shared purpose that can be highly motivating.

Finally, OKRs promote transparency. They promote open communication and sharing of progress towards achieving goals across the organization. This can help to build trust and foster a culture of continuous improvement, where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and insights to help the organization achieve its objectives.

In conclusion, using OKRs to manage performance can help organizations to achieve better results by providing clarity, alignment, focus, measurability, agility, engagement, and transparency. So if you’re looking for a way to achieve your goals and take your organization to the next level, give OKRs a try.

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