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Performance Management Tool: What is OKR  – How to Start

Target Image DownloadPerformance measurement and regular monitoring by way of appraisal of Human Resource is the biggest challenge for any organisation. Various performance tools and consultants with their experience help organizations to gauge performance of resources are available in the industry but OKR Goal Setting stands out. 

Because of success of OKR, after its successful implementation in Intel and later Google, it has become one major tool of Performance management system (PM). In PM It is fundamental requirement of any organization where gaps are identified wrt expected and current performance. As of now, we can safely say that OKR alignment might offer silver bullet for such a problem.

OKR is Objectives & Key Results in its entirety evolved from Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives, MBO. The other tools are Balance Score Card, key performance indicators (KPI) and360-degree comprehensive assessment, electronic performance monitoring and so on.

Why OKR Framework?

With the success of Intel and Google, where innovation is key, John Doer’s OKR finds itself on stage of Performance Management system. Any Startup with innovative ideas, scarce in resource is juggling its survival.

Resource crunch make a startup an easy target for losing focus. The common vision shared by all in the organization helps to steer from raging waters.  LinkedIn, Spotify, etc were all startups with innovating ideas, so the key for startups to make a success is always is Focus and it comes with shared and common objectives from top to bottom.

How OKR Framework helps

As said above OKR is framework where Objectives becomes ‘What is to beachieved’ and KR(Key Result) ‘How’ to achieve it. These objectives are for each of any department. An objective could a spirational and or qualitative.  

A day today example: for a person with obesity, losing weight(Objective), it could be a Stretch to touch his feet in 2 weeks(quantitative& time blound). He can chalk out some KR: Reduce weight by controlled eating Or Walking vigorously every day, minimal use of elevator, Stop eating chips, etc. So, here the key is small & distributed achievable short goals. Thus, the implementation of OKRs is divided into four steps:

Objective is a qualitative goal within a period of time is to set goals for   monthly/quarterly/annual goals of the company, department and employees.

The second step(measurement of target for the specified period) is to determine the key results for each target.

The third step is to implement the established plan.

The fourth step is regular feedback. Each assessment cycle should assess the goal completion and feedback in time, then make appropriate adjustments based on the evaluation results, and determine the OKR implementation plan for the next cycle.

As earlier described, a Goal is to be achieved with proper measures. Doerr’s formula is the best way to explainthe structure of an OKR:I will (…..Objective….)as measured by (….this set of KeyResults…).As Marissa Mayer, a former Google’s Vice President, said: If it does nothave a number, it is not a Key Result.

Lets talk of some more examples:


(What)KEY RESULTS(How)PASSION(Why)Product  CoAwesome Experience Improve  Net Promoter Score Increase Repurchase Rate Maintain  or Low acquisition cost Positive referrals?Engagement  with a digital service Delighted Customer Reduce revenue churn Increase Net Promoter Score Increase engagement by various schemes Increase traffic – weekly visits, etc?Pump  


Customer Reduce Complaints in a specific period Readable tech manual Positive  reaction on social media Increase  referrals Promoter experienced a failed pump in remote location long time back A  Politician Delighted Voter Weekly social media awareness Positive Engagement on social media Increase users Opposition tracking Social Work OKR’s emphasize on Objective is that it should short and can be easy to memorized, shouldn’t be boring, slangs can be used too. As in the above table for each objective, 2 -5 Key Results can be formed. Main Advantage of OKR Because of having short goals, OKR are agile. It helps in innovation, adaptability to change. Different teams can together and discuss OKR, thus it is cooperative cross functional. Clear cut Communication across organization. Shorter Goal setting makes employee engagement effective. Adheres to focus, makes efforts and initiative useful and effective.


OKR allows employees to adjust their personal goals on the basis of maintaining the organization’s overall goals. OKR also has quantitative indicators, but it is focused only on key results, which can promote better achievement of goals, so employees are motivated and willing to improve performance. The success of OKR in Intel, Google, LinkedIn, etc made this PM tool effective and useful.

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