Simple, transparent and works like magic.

A simple goal setting system and to keep track of your progress is to use the ‘Objective and Key Results’ [OKR] methodology. It describes the brands ’what we think is important and why this is important’ plus the ‘how do we get there’ meanwhile smashing departmental silos. 

This quite blew my mind when reading the book. N=1, I never heard about this before and this feels like the best-kept secret of tracking progress. From my own experience implemented in two major projects for the Olympics and this book, it works like magic to keep track and be accountable. 

I like it because of its simplicity, transparency, openness and no-nonsense approach. It gives a tangible measurable direction with accountability and clarity. As all is written down, openly communicated and available for all employees in the company, everyone knows what everyone else is doing and can help each other. 

‘With the eruption of social media, transparency is the default setting for our daily lives. It’s the express lane to operating excellence. Yet at most companies today, goals remain secrets.’ This OKR methodology embraces this transparency to enable the entire company working towards the same goals. Everybody knows the projects the others are working on, therefor it also becomes easier to say ’no’ to requests that are not in line with your OKRs. It makes objectives objective, written down in black and white. 

This is used by brands like  AOL, BMW, Disney, Dropbox, Exxon, Google, Intel, LinkedIn, Oracle, Samsung, Slack, Spotify, and Twitter. If it works for them, for sure it can work for me and you. Described into detail by John Doerr in ‘Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs’.


You set your objective, ‘what’ is the most important for the next three, six or even twelve months. What will move the company — and you — forward. The attribution to the business value has to be clear, otherwise there is no need to invest time and effort in the objective. 

Ideally, you stick to 3 or maximum 5 objectives quarterly to keep your focus. Significant, concrete, action-oriented, and inspirational. And have one owner for the accountability. If you objective doesn’t fit in one line, it is not clear enough. If you wrote it down in 5 minutes they probably are not good, think. 

First you set the company OKR, than the team followed by the individual OKRs. By being open and transparent on all objectives from top to down, the entire company can truly work as a team, and help each other. 

Key Result

This is the ‘how’ you are going to get to the objective. Very detailed and specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic. Most of all, measurable and verifiable. Mostly three to five KR’s are what you need to reach the objective. 

The four direct benefits of the OKR methodology is to bring focus and commit to priorities, to align and connect for teamwork, to track for accountability, and to stretch for amazing.


4–6 weeks before quarter: Brainstorm Annual and Q1 OKRs for Company 
Senior leaders start brainstorming top-line company OKRs. If you’re setting OKRs for Q1, this is also the time to set your annual plan, which can help guide the direction of the company. 

2 weeks before quarter: Communicate Company-wide OKRs for Upcoming Year and Q1
Finalize company OKRs and communicate them to everyone. 

Start of quarter: Communicate Team Q1 OKRs
Based on the company’s OKRs, teams develop their own OKRs and share them at their meetings. 

1 week after Start of quarter: Share Employee Q1 OKRs
One week after team OKRs are communicated, contributors share their own OKRs. This may require negotiation between contributors and their managers, typically in one-on-one settings. 

Throughout quarter: Employees Track Progress and Check-in 
Throughout the quarter, employees measure and share their progress, checking in regularly with their managers. 

Near end of quarter: Employees Reflect and Score Q1 OKRs 
Toward the end of the quarter, contributors score their OKRs, perform a self-assessment, and reflect on what they have accomplished.

An example by Intel 

Objective ‘Demonstrate the 8080’s superior performance as compared to the Motorola 6800’ 

Key Results: 
Deliver five benchmarks. 
Develop a demo. 
Develop sales training materials for the field force. 
Call on three customers to prove the material works.’

Another example 

Objective ‘Win the Indy 500’

Key Results:
Increase average lap speed by 2 percent
Test at wind tunnel ten times
Reduce average pit stop time by one second
Reduce pit stop errors by 50 percent
Practice pit stops one hour per day

Read the book

This is just scratching the surface with the essence described in a nutshell. On my personal recommendation, read this book, try it for yourself and never look back. 

‘Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs’ by John Doerr

https://www.whatmatters.com/ or get the book: https://www.amazon.com/Measure-What-Matters-Google-Foundation-ebook/dp/B078FZ9SYB

More books to read http://www.fleurwillemijn.com/books/

More on OKR

Great video that explains the framework

Great tool to measure OKR progress

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