Common mistakes of implementing OKRs

OKR is known to be a robust methodology that has the power to align your team around common goals, encouraging them to reach beyond their limits. However, a few companies implement it the wrong way and fail to experience any benefits of OKRs. Let us talk about a few of the common mistakes companies make around implementing OKRs and how to correct them. 

Mistake 1

Too Many Objectives or Key Results

OKRs are not intended to replace your to-do lists or project management. The OKR methodology intends not to track every activity undertaken by your team. You thus need not have too many objectives or key results.

Correction 1

The design of the OKR methodology is such that your team can focus on what matters the most. The best practice is to have 3-5 objectives per department, with 3-5 key results under each objective.

Mistake 2

Following the Top-Bottom Approach to Set OKRs 

OKRs are not meant to be a traditional way for your management to set goals behind closed doors. It is not the manager’s responsibility to decide their team’s key results. 

Correction 2  

Goal setting through OKRs should be a collaborative process. Your team must set their objectives themselves and see how they can contribute to the overall organizational goals. This level of autonomy would increase motivation and accountability. 

Mistake 3 

To Begin with Challenging Moonshot Objectives 

The two primary types of objectives are Moonshots (that you aim to achieve by 70-80%) and rooftops (that you plan to hit 100%). Don’t set moonshots in the beginning. Missing your goals every single time might demoralize your team. 

Correction 3 

Let your team use the OKR methodology by setting rooftops in the first 2 to 3 shorter OKR cycles. It would be best if you switched to moonshots later. 

Mistake 4 

Lack of Communication and Checking Often Enough 

OKRs are not about “set it and forget it.” Once you have set your objectives and key results for a cycle, you cannot wait till the end of the period.  

Correction 4 

Go for weekly team check-ins and deeper dives in 1:1 meetings. If anyone is lagging in the progress where you expect them to be, make plans to help them achieve it and move to the next OKR.

Mistake 5

Connecting Performance Reviews With OKRs 

Do not include OKR results in your performance reviews. This way, your employees would lower their OKR results naturally. Trying to hit these results by 100% to get the next promotion leaves the entire OKR process ineffective. 

Correction 5 

As objectives are aspirational, achieving them by 70-80% is good. Avoid individual OKRs and focus only on team-level objectives.

See Unlock:OKR Live in Action