July 30, 2021
Reasons why OKRs in Business Fail- and How to Avoid Them
Objectives and Key Results can serve as an excellent tool for organizations looking for innovation and embracing a goal-oriented culture of high aspirations. These are important for businesses that want to grow faster while keeping their employees aligned and agile. Even the OKR secret sauce at Google indicates that organizations embrace OKR methodology to reduce the gap between strategy and execution. In short, if you have a vision or an ‘ultimate goal’ for your business, then OKRs help you reach there during a specific period.
Today, business leaders adopt objectives and key results to empower their teams to focus on priorities, encourage ambition, and shift their mindset towards an outcomes-led approach to ultimately bring success.
In the book, Measure What Matters, John Doerr says, “OKRs are a shared language for execution. They clarify expectations: What do we need to get done (and fast), and who is working on it? OKRs keep employees aligned, vertically and horizontally.” But there are various reasons why OKRs in business fail 90% of the time and do not bring the most anticipated success. Let us explore some of the key reasons-
1. Not Setting OKRs Correctly
Objectives indicate what you ‘want’ to accomplish, and key results reflect how you will achieve them. If OKRs are not set correctly, you may fail to achieve the desired targets. Therefore, objectives and key results must be clear, meaningful, and ambitious, including the stretch goals that drive the teams to participate and perform beyond expectations.
2. Setting and Forgetting
Few companies use OKRs merely as a goal management software and forget to track the progress at the end of an OKR cycle. However, success needs the company CEO to set OKRs and then funnel them down to the managers and their teams to achieve audacious goals and measure outcomes. Leaders must conduct regular check-ins to see individual engagement and progress towards achieving the desired goals.
3. Too Many Objectives and Key Results
John Doerr recommends that ‘For each objective, you must not link more than five measurable and time-bound key results.’ Therefore, less is always better. Setting too many objectives and key results may drag your team down a level as they waste their time and effort doing multiple things. Also, teams may lose their focus on the more important goals while doing the least important things.
4. Not Having the OKR ‘Champions of Change’
Businesses go through many changes, especially when they transform from traditional goal-setting methods to the modern OKR approach. A small group of business leaders and their teams who can ensure the successful rollout of OKRs are called the Champions of Change. In the absence of an OKR Champion, organizations may fail to adapt to the workplace changes and drive people for success.
Don’t Let OKRs Fail
You may end up spinning too many plates if you make any of these mistakes. This is the reason why OKRs may fail 90% of the Time. To be successful, ensure that OKRs in business are attainable and well-defined. OKRs also help unite everyone within the organization while discussing the top priorities and embracing a transparent work culture.