To set ambitious OKR, it is essential that they are measurable. To be measurable, an objective should have three to five key results that support it.
These key results should push the organization and teams to do more. They should be ambitious and challenging to attain. If an OKR feels too easy, it’s likely that it represents business as usual and needs to be revised.
1. Focus on Key Results
In order to set ambitious OKR, they must have actionable key results that are measurable. These should be a stretch for the team and push just beyond what they believe is possible, driving higher performance.
A common mistake is setting unachievable objectives or easy ones that don’t challenge the team. These goals can demotivate the team and lead to a lack of productivity.
The goal is to make the team feel uncomfortable and challenged. This helps the team to focus on what matters and how they can move the needle in their area of the business. Low-value objectives that even if fully achieved won’t create real organizational benefit should be reworded or dropped altogether. This prevents a team from hoarding resources and sandbagging.
2. Create Aspirational OKRs
Creating aspirational OKRs will encourage your team to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. It can also help them find solutions that might not be obvious. For example, a professional development OKR might focus on expanding into new markets to help diversify your customer base and establish a competitive advantage in your industry.
To ensure that your OKRs are truly ambitious, they should bring value to the company. If your goals aren’t bringing value, your teams will be less motivated to work on them.
Ideally, each of your objectives should have a clearly defined direct owner and a weekly check-in to discuss progress. This can be done during a workshop with top management or with individual teams, depending on your organization. It’s important that everyone understand how their goals connect to the bigger picture.
3. Create Committed OKRs
To get the most out of OKRs, teams must be committed to achieving them. This requires a collaborative process, rather than simply issuing directives from leadership. A good way to ensure this is by identifying a directly responsible individual (DRI) for each objective and key result.
Then, they should be tasked with overseeing the implementation of those key results and regular check-ins throughout each business quarter. This will keep goals top of mind and help identify any roadblocks quickly.
Additionally, it’s important to ensure that OKRs align with organizational goals and enterprise initiatives. This helps keep everyone on the same page and encourages accountability at every level of the organization.
4. Track OKRs
It’s essential to track your progress on a regular basis, with calendar reminders. It is also a good idea to share OKRs with your team (where appropriate).
This helps everyone keep their focus on the big goals, and can help identify any problems quickly. For example, if a Key Result has been missed it is important to identify why and use that learning for the next OKR cycle.
Ambitious OKRs inspire people and motivate them to achieve great things. But it’s important to make sure they are realistic. After all, if you set too many ambitious goals, it can be difficult to know which ones to pursue. If you want to create a rocket ship, you can’t build it with bricks. You have to innovate and think outside the box!
5. Stretch Yourself
Creating ambitious goals can inspire teams and push them out of their comfort zone. They need to be realistic, measurable, and achievable. Creating a goal that is too unrealistic can be risky and it may lead to frustration or disengagement.
Using a goal-setting framework like OKR helps teams establish ambitious goals that encourage creativity and motivate employees to innovate. It’s important to track progress, and celebrate milestones along the way.
For teams that use OKRs, it’s helpful to schedule midpoint check-ins. During these meetings, executives should finalize their executive OKRs in GitLab and identify any top level dependencies for team-level OKRs. This can help prevent sandbagging, where teams set objectives that are too easy. The best teams have goals that are aspirational and make them uncomfortable, but they are also focused on delivering key results.