Using OKRs effectively to achieve amazing results usually takes a few cycles. See closing OKR period for how to review and learn from the previous period OKRs.

As you embark on defining OKRs for the new quarter, here are few things to remember:

  • OKRs are not cut in stone and if circumstances change mid-cycle, it is okay to drop, add or modify them.

  • For improved focus, limit objectives at any levels to at most 5. And no objective should have more than 5 key results.

  • While some of the individual and team OKRs will be cascaded from the top-level organizational OKRs, empower your team members to define some of their OKRs based on the organizational priorities. 

  • It is okay if not all OKRs are directly aligned to organization or team OKRs - as long as the individual and manager understand how the OKR indirectly aligns to the top-level OKRs, it is okay.

Here are three steps to get defining OKRs for the new period:

  1. [For Managers] Draft organization's OKRs for the new cycle. Involve key stakeholders to draft the organization-level objectives and key results for the new period. Use the organization's mission, annual objectives and previous period OKRs for context in drafting the the company OKRs for the new period. Publish them and invite teams and individuals to craft their OKRs based on these top-level OKRs. Ensure everyone understands that you are seeking their input through the OKR process before the top-level OKRs are finalized.

  2. Teams and Individuals should draft their OKRs based on the top-level, organizational OKRs. In addition to looking at the top-level OKRs, they should look into OKRs of peers to identify any assumptions and dependencies, and resolve them.

  3. Get all OKRs reviewed: Alignment is crucial to the OKR process. As long as your work lines up across the organizational network - vertically and horizontally, the company can make huge strides in a quarter. That is why it is essential to review OKRs with the manager. Having another pair of eyes looking at them doubles the chances of alignment across the board. Once reviewed, make adjustments, lock your OKRs and get cracking!

It sometimes takes as many as three to four quarters to get into a rhythm. However, organizations across the globe have perfected the process over time and reaped great benefit, and so can you. OKRs are here to stay.

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