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.

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