Silicon Valley companies grow faster and perform better than other companies. What is the secret of their success? Their excellent results are mostly due to a goal setting method called the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). Companies like Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and others love OKRs mainly because they bring these 5 benefits: 


As every happy start-up (and every other company), you are probably struggling with setting priorities and focusing on what is really important. The reduced number of goals (maximum 5 per team) allowed by the OKR goal setting method, creates focus in the organization and disciplines efforts on the priorities previously agreed. If you are a team that is creative and comes up with an excellent idea every day, it can sometimes be hard to say no. When OKRs are set and once everyone is committed to the most important objectives, it becomes easier to say no to less important ones. 


OKRs are an excellent way to get everybody understand what´s important and to work towards the common objective and how success is going to be measured. As your company grows, it becomes more difficult to keep all teams aligned and to avoid overlapping or even roadblocks on the way to achieving goals. OKRs unite qualitative (Objectives) and quantitative (Key Results) goals. The Objectives are inspiring and awakens the creativity in your teams, whereas Key results will appeal to more data and numbers oriented people in your organization. A strong OKR set will achieve cohesion throughout the whole company around a critical goal, strategy or priority. It will help everybody work for what matters most. 


OKR is a very fast way to set goals. Its simplicity and clarity makes the whole process of goal setting easier and smoother. Setting bold goals, what Google calls “stretch goals”, enables the team to become more ambitious and furthers initiative and out-of-the-box thinking. Bold goals stimulate people to look for creative and extraordinary ways and make them achieve extraordinary results. At a first glance it might seem counterproductive, as if you were setting your team for a failure. However, ambitious goals attract the most creative minds and set an inspiring working environment. When you reach for an unattainable goal, even an average result might mean an extraordinary result! To prevent your teams to fear failure, be clear about the thresholds of measuring success (for example, 70% achievement is considered success). 


Studies have shown that committing to a goal can help improve employee performance. Reviewing goals regularly increases business performance. When employees revise or review their goals on a monthly basis, they are more likely to score well. Also, public sharing of progress with your teams, considerably increases possibility for success. Just seeing progress can be very motivational as can be writing down your goals. At the workplace, the implications of all this can be huge. 

OKR model boasts a bottom-up goal setting approach, which connects the employees with the company’s objectives and offers them a direct insight into their immediate impact on company´s performance. When employees can see why their work matters, the overall engagement improves. 


Transparency and simplicity of OKRs enable the team to understand the goals and priorities of the organization and improves the communication, as well as make the team see how each individual can contribute to the common company objective. Transparent communication at the management level and management vs. individual level about objectives, achievements and results, improves the quality of the communication. The discussion will naturally revolve around priorities, objectives and the level of achievement and not so much around individual performance that can sometimes be less rational and biased than discussing measurable goals and results. With transparent and publicly announced goals, companies can stay aligned and can avoid a culture of secrecy and politics.

If you want to know more about OKRs and about what they are, read this post.