How OKRs Have Improved Over the Years and Why You Should Implement It Now

In times of crisis, business leaders are looking for answers as to how they can both manage their current situation and thrive post-pandemic. The big buzzword in business that’s sprung up a few times over the course of the last few years, especially during the pandemic, is the OKR business model.


Measure What Matters: A Brief History of OKRs

We can trace back the origins of the Objective Key Results (OKRs) framework to The Father of Management Thinking, Peter Ducker, who came up with a model of business management in 1954 called Management by Objective (MBO). The model was all about setting clear expectations and establishing effective communication between management and their teams. But there was still something about the model that fell short, which Andrew Grove, co-founder of Intel, decided to address in 1968, and that led to the development of the OKR concept.

Venture capitalist John Doerr learned about the OKR framework while working at Intel in 1974, and then went on to becoming an advisor for Google in its early stages. He then introduced the OKR framework to Larry Page and Sergey Grin, who then implemented this framework at Google and it’s still in use to this day.

John Doerr then went on to publish his well-known book on management called Measure What Matters, in which he explains why and how the OKR system works, even mentioning the names of business giants who’ve used it—including, Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

What makes Doerr’s version different from Peter Ducker’s is that it pushes teams to focus more on the numbers rather than the “bigger picture.” Annual reviews imposed by Ducker’s model don’t work in today’s, fast-paced world, and the OKR framework makes up for the lack of employee engagement and strategic approach in the MBO model.

The OKR framework has been proven to turn companies into agile institutions, and it’s been reformed and repurposed time and time again over the course of history by some of the best business professionals in efforts to align the model with the current demands of the global market.

Why you should implement the OKR strategy?

Your teams will achieve goals faster

Andrew Grove’s OKR model is a far stretch from what Ducker’s MBO framework used to be—the human aspect was introduced to the former when it wasn’t there in the latter.

The OKR model encourages collaboration, communication, and clearer expectation setting between management and their teams. It destroys the traditional top-down model of most traditional businesses, which will in turn make teams feel a sense of involvement and responsibility towards the company’s objectives, and that will improve their motivation and engagement.

It’s much simpler to implement

When we think of the transformational aspects of the OKR model, and how it completely tears down the traditional way of business, we feel a tinge of intimidation and fear of the prospect of a long, drawn-out transitioning phase for everyone involved.

But the simple principles that the OKRs are based on helps this transformation to happen on its own and naturally. With the right coaching, you will realize OKRs are not as complicated to implement as you think they are.

It’s much easier to measure and track

Annual reviews and feedback given on irregular intervals can make it a frustrating process for both management and employees when they don’t know exactly what is stopping them from getting closer to their goals.

OKRs are quantifiable—the model helps teams set KPIs that are accurate, measurable, clear, and uncomplicated. This will help both team leaders and their teams clearly understand what went wrong in previous quarters, and what they can do to solve arising issues.

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