Goal setting is important in any business. Setting the correct kinds of goals that can keep you focused and moving forward can be the difference between success and failure.
And while writing down specific SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound) goals can be helpful, there is almost nothing that works with the power of OKRs to propel your business forward like a rocket.
OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, are used in some of the top companies in the world. They originated at the chipmaker Intel and have powered Google’s growth. The OKR Google Goal Setting Process is almost deceptive in its simplicity, but don’t let that fool you. Good OKRs can turn a sleepy company into a growth machine and can turn an entrepreneur into a person that crushes goal after goal.
How the OKR Google Goal Setting Process Works
OKR’s consist of two pieces — objectives and key results.
Setting Your Objectives
Objectives are what most people would consider goals and for most companies should be set for three-month periods. You can set longer term OKRs, but they should always be accompanied by quarterly OKRs.
The biggest thing about an objective is that it should be inspirational, and it should be hard (but not impossible) to hit.
For example, a good objective for my company is: Develop a system that sells 20 units of my Micro Coaching Course Online Program per quarter. Then develop 5 of those 20 clients into long-term relationships.
This goal is ambitious, measurable and will move me toward my overall, longer-term goals in my business — a more streamlined system that helps many more entrepreneurs succeed.
In contrast, a bad objective would be: Develop more long-term clients.
This is too vague and not measurable. It also lets me off the hook if I don’t make it. What does “more” mean after all?
Creating Your Key Results
The next step is creating your Key Results. Your Key Results should be the general roadmap you use to get to your objective.
Key Results should be the “what you are going to do” while objectives are the “what you are going to achieve”.
Using the example in my business, if my objective is: Develop a system that sells 20 units of my Micro Coaching Course per quarter. Then develop 5 of those 20 clients into long-term relationships, then my key results could be:
- Develop a 5-day challenge related to my Micro Coaching Course — including email opt-in form, email follow-ups, and a strong call to action.
- Create 3 pieces of pre-sell content on my website that inspires people to join the 5 -day challenge.
- Amplify the content with paid traffic from Facebook advertising.
- Measure results with Google Analytics and HotJar and work to improve the campaign.
These 4 key results are good because they are very specific and if executed will move me right toward my objective like a bullseye.
This would be an OKR set that I would set for one quarter. In this case, I know that I already have the systems in place to develop long-term relationships, so while there are no key results directly tied to that, it still makes sense to have long-term relationships as part of my objective.
A Warning About Using the OKR Google Goal Setting Practice
When people first learn about OKRs, they often go crazy with them and set 3 or 5 for each department in their company. That doesn’t work.
The power of an OKR is their ability to help you focus on what's most important to moving your company in the direction of where you want to go. They get rid of all the extraneous stuff and help you to focus and make decisions within that focus area.
It’s that focus and the ability to execute toward that focus that creates serious magic and will put your business on rocket fuel. As John Doerr, the author of Measure What Matters and the guy who brought OKRs to Google says, “Ideas are Easy, Execution is Everything”. More than anything else, OKRs help you to execute on the stuff that is actually important in your company. I’ve never found anything else that is so effective.
The OKR Google goal setting system is truly transformational. Though it may look overly simple and just like another goal setting system, if you apply it correctly you'll see tremendous results in your business—it certainly works for Google.