Measure What Matters – Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork

Three watchwords for entrepreneurs:

  • Solve a problem
  • Build a simple product
  • Talk to your Users

Goals for Growth

As company scale, people need to see the CEO’s priorities and how they can align for maximum impact. And they need to see that it’s okay to make a mistake, to correct it and move on. You can’t fear screwing up.

The Same Page

Studies suggest that only 7% of employees “fully understand their company’s business strategies and what’s expected of them in order to helpĀ achieve the common goals.”

The answer lies in focused, transparent OKRs. They knit each individual’s work to team efforts, departmental projects, and the overall mission.

Cross-Functional Coordination

A Transparent OKR system, as Laszlo Bock points out, promotes freewheeling collaboration. When goals are public and visible to all, a “team of teams” can attack trouble spots wherever they surface. You kick off virtuous cycles that reinforce your ability to actually get your work done. And the management tax is zero-it’s amazing.

Measure What Matters – Superpower #1: Focus and Commit to Priorities

Measuring what matters begins with the question: What is most important for the next three (or six, or twelve) months?

Google’s mission statement: Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

“When you’re the CEO or the founder of a company … you’ve got to say ‘This is what we’re doing’, and then you have to model it. Because if you don’t model it, no one’s going to do it.”

Communicate with Clarity

Leaders must get across the why as well as the what. “When you are tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it.”

Key Results: Care and Feeding

Objectives and key results are the yin and yang of goal setting – principle and practice, vision and execution. If an objective is well framed, three to five KRs will usually be adequate to reach it. If you’re certain you’re going to nail it, you’re probably not pushing hard enough.

What, How, When

The best practice: a parallel, dual cadence, with short-horizon OKRs (for the here and now) supporting annual OKRs and longer-term strategies.

Clear-cut time frames intensify our focus and commitment; nothing moves us forward like a deadline.

Pairing Key Results

The more ambitious the OKR, the greater the risk of overlooking a vital criterion. To safeguard quality while pushing for quantitative deliverables, one solution is to pair key results – to measure “both effect and counter-effect” e.g.Pairing Quantity Goal and Quality Goal.

The Perfect and the Good

Don’t allow the perfect to be enemy of good. Remember that an OKR can be modified or even scrapped at any point in its cycle. The “right” key results surface weeks or months after a goal is put into play. OKRs are inherently works in progress, not commandments chiseled in stone.

Less is More

As Steve Jobs understood, “Innovation means saying no to one thousand things.” The one thing and OKR system should provide par excellence is focus. This can only happen if we keep the number of objectives small.

Measure What Matters- Chapter 2. The Father of OKRs

MBO (Management by Objectives)

In 1960s had been adopted by a number of forward-thinking companies, e.g. Hewlett – Packard, which led to productivity gains of 56%.

Most common trap goals were centrally planned and sluggishly tricked down the hierarchy. Most deadly of all, MBOs were commonly tied to salaries and bonuses.

MBOsIntel OKRs
“What”“What” and “How”
AnnualQuarterly or Monthly
Private and SiloedPublic and Transparent
Top-downBottom-up or Sideways (~50%)
Tied to CompensationMostly Divorced from Compensation
Risk AverseAggressive and Aspirational

Andy Grove’s Basic OKR Hygiene

Less is more: “A few extremely well-chosen objectives, impart a clear message about what we say YES to and what we say NO to. Limit three – five OKRs per cycle lead companies.

Set goals from the bottom up: to promote engagement, teams and individuals should be encouraged to create roughly half of their own OKRs, in consultation with managers.

No dictating: OKRs are a cooperative social contract to establish priorities and define how progress will be measured.

Stay flexible: if climate has changed and an objective no longer seems practical or relevant as written, key results can be modified or even discarded mid-cycle.

Dare to fail: “Output will tend to be greater, when everybody strives for a level of achievement beyond [their] immediate grasp. Such goal setting is extremely important if what you want is peak performance from yourself and your subordinates.”

A tool, not a weapon: The OKR system is meant to pace a person – to put a stopwatch in his own hand so he can gauge his own performance. it is not a legal document upon which to base a performance review.

Be Patient; be resolute. Every process requires trial and error. An organisation may need up to four or five quarterly cycles to fully embrace the system, and even more than that to build mature goal muscle.

Measure What Matters – Chapter 1. Google, Meet OKRs

OKR is short for Objectives and Key Results.

Objective is simply WHAT is to be achieved, no more and no less. By definition, objectives are signifiant, concrete, action oriented, and (ideally) inspirational.

Key Results benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective. Effective KRs are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic. Most of all, they are measurable and verifiable.

The dark side of goal setting could swamp any benefits, e.g.: Enron’s recklessly inflated sales targets. “WARNING! Goals may cause systematic problems in organisations due to narrowed focus, unethical behaviour, increased risk taking, decreased cooperation, and decreased motivation. Use case when applying goals in your organisation.”

The 4 OKR “superpowers”: Focus, align, track, and stretch.

Superpower #1 – Focus and Commit to Priorities: High-performance organisations home in on work that’s important, and are equally clear on what doesn’t matter.

Superpower #2 – Align and Connect for Teamwork: OKR transparency, everyone’s goals – from the CEO down are openly shared.

Superpower #3 – Track for Accountability: OKRs are driven by data.

Superpower #4 – Stretch for Amazing: OKRs motivate us to excel by doing more than we’d thought possible.

CFRs (Conversation, Feedback, Recognition) – Continuous performance management instead of annual performance reviews.

5 Questions you need to be asking in life

The author of the book “Wait, WHAT?” book, James E. Ryan, spoke about how he never stop to ask questions in life. You need to be asking the right questions. Here are the 5 questions you need to be asking in life.

  1. Wait, … what?…
  2. I wonder .. why. I wonder … if
  3. Couldn’t we at least ….
  4. How can I help …
  5. What truly matters?

Bonus questions: Did you get what you want out of this life, even so?

Try asking some of this question in you day today, and see how it effect you in a positive way.

10 Steps to Building a successful Online Course

Here are the 10 steps to building a successful online courses.

  1. Transformation journey for your audience
  2. Brainstorm the content. Use Post-it 10 – 10 Break and 10 Brainstorm
  3. Organisation of the idea
  4. Outline and sharing the outline. Kill what is not necessary
  5. Pre-sell to 20 people, why?
  6. Build the Community, e.g.: FB Group
  7. Build the course, produce the lesson
  8. Collect feedback from student
  9. Refine the course to make it great
  10. Be Confident

7 Steps to be a good Coach

Here are the 7 steps on how to be a good coach. If you are coaching someone and you want to make sure they are going to get a good outcome and you also get something in return, here are the steps that you can use.

  1. Ask them what is on their mind
  2. Then ask them what else they have in their mind
  3. Ask what is the real challenge
  4. Ask them what do they think the problem is, and what do they look to achieve
  5. How can you help them
  6. What do you say “NO” to
  7. What is the most valuable/useful from the coaching session

I hope the above will help you to be a better Coach.

Original – part 2

In the old days, when people are digging up the coal mine, sometimes there are poisonous gas, and to know for sure they sent a canary to the mine, if it came back that means the are no poisonous gas. You need to be the canary in the coal mine.

Some of the philosphy of Ray Dalio the founder of the biggest investment firm Bridgewater are :

  • brings problem to be discussed
  • stop problem log
  • he setup baseball card with stats about his employee using 77 principles.

Listen like you are wrong and argue like you are right.

Interview your employee for ideas of improvement when they start and not when they leave.

You will need to activate the “Go” button, don’t have to do this yourself, but ask people impacted to deliver the message.


If you think that entrepreneurs are more risk averse compared to the rest of us, then think again. Most of them are not.

You will have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince. The biggest idea comes from quantity, so get used to it.

Research had shown that if you spend 6 minutes on generating idea, it makes one to be better when doing an assessment.

On a separate research one group of people was asked to list 3 good things in their life, and the other group is asked to list 12 good things in their life, the group that was asked to list 12 things feels their life is bad, because it is much harder to list 12 things that are good, so their impression is that their life is bad. On the other hand if the question is turn around to list 12 things that are bad in their life, it makes them feel good about life because it is much harder to list the bad things, so their life wasn’t that bad.

Procrastination is the source of creativity, E.g.: Leonardo da Vinci didn’t finish the MonaLisa until later after he pause and learn about how light and shadow works.

Sometime you will need to wait until you are a bit sleepy for random ideas to pop in, the subconscious mind have much more creative idea than our conscious mind.

Use the mid point time to re-plan and re-discuss an idea.

In the world of entrepreneurs, pioneers have less chance of survival, while the settlers have much higher chance of success as the can learn from the mistake from the pioneers and make the corrections accordingly.

Be an experimental innovators, good things come to those who wait.

Captivate – Chapter 14 Engage, how to turn people on

The author explain about the science of popularity. It seems that popular people are more attuned to people’s popularity. Popular people makes us feel good.

You impress people by mentally turn on their reward system. The key to this is Attunement: When we attuned we are more aware of those around us. To achieve there are 2 action to take.

1.reciprocity effect, we like people who likes us, we give back what we received.

This whole book is built around this, to summarise :

  • hack #1 – social game plan, how to interact
  • hack #2 – triple threat, how to be confident and build trust
  • hack #3 – conversational spark: How to make others to respond in kind
  • hack #4 – highlighter: brings the best out of people
  • hack #5 – Thread theory:inspired people for a “me too” moment
  • hack #6 – Decoder: incentivise people
  • hack #7 – speed read : show how we like to be treated
  • hack #8 – appreciation language : How to appreciate others
  • hack #9 – primary value: respect other people’s values
  • hack #10 – story stack: How to trigger conversation with others
  • hack #11 – own it: empower others
  • hack #12 – Franklin effect : the more vulnerable we are the closer we can get to others
  • hack #13 – Nut job: How to be calm, direct communication
  • hack #14 – Attunement : pay more interest in someone

2. Belonging. We want to be valued, needed, understood, accepted for who we are. As a human being we have 5 basic needs : Physiological, safety, love belonging (having commonality), esteem ( meaningful conversational sparker), self actualisation (find primary value & help them realise it)

3. Curiosity. We can have our curiosity cured.