While it is definitely true that OKRs are one of Google's secrets for success, OKRs are a suitable goal-setting and management tool for all types and sizes of companies. Why? First of all, OKRs existed before Google started using them. OKRs actually helped turn Google into what it is now. Second, OKRs help every organization and even individuals (as we will see later), as small it may be, set clear goals and focus. Every organization wishes for Excellence and Operational success, and that can only be achieved with focus and alignment throughout the whole company. 

Now, let´s see the types of organizations OKRs are beneficial for.


In organizations with many departments, it’s critical for all members —across departments, teams, top to bottom, and across functions—to have an insight into the company´s top common goal. It makes them all strive for the same thing, it helps alignment across the board, avoids overlapping or even blocking, and it accelerates the process of achieving that goal. 

It is important that the goals are transparent and visible to everybody in the company. In this way, everybody feels responsible for the company´s success, it prevents company politics and secrecy, and it allows for everybody to be able to contribute into the goal-setting process. 

Actually, individuals are more likely to attain the goals if they feel the goals were not imposed on them, but they helped define them. Recording operational goals (e.g., grow market, increase revenue, hire talent etc.) and aspirational goals (e.g. revolutionize a market, launch a star product etc.) is what drives operational excellence and pushes the organization onto a completely new level. How do you think Google made it from 40 to 40,000 employees? 

Since OKRs are a great motivational tool and allows for moonshots, out-of-the-box thinking and creativity, it is also an effective tool for retaining and attracting top talent.


As companies try to gain a market or maintain competitive advantage, OKRs keep employees driving toward the same goals and keeps them focused. OKR goal setting also helps to keep clear priorities, it allows for freedom and creativity to flourish, and to improve company communication. 

It is a great tool to help teams align and never to lose sight of the final company objective. 

It is also great to avoid time-wasting reports. With a simple glance, you will have an insight into your team’s success. 

The cadence, however, can be slightly different to one used in bigger corporations. SMEs may want to evaluate goals and check confidence levels more frequently than bigger organizations. It is also the case, that some small and agile companies (like Spotify) adapt OKRs to their needs and check for need to adjust goals every 6 weeks, not quarterly like the majority, and adjust the strategy every 6 months and not yearly like most do.


Is it useful for startups to use OKRs even if they haven´t validated their business model yet? Definitely. If you are a startup you can set a time-bound goal to validate a business model with key results to measure it, or you can set an objective to raise investment funds or to have an MVP. 

Since most of the startups will find themselves having to pivot quite a few times, it is so much more important not to lose focus and your guiding principles and values. You can pivot your product or business model, but if you change and lose focus as far as mission or values are concerned, one of the founders or (god forbid!) investors might lose interest or motivation.

Now it is up to you to decide whether it is time to start using OKRs as a goal setting tool in your startup. It is definitely a good and simple way to improve performance, transparency and focus in your business. It has proved to be a good fit for a variety of companies of different sizes.


So, we have seen examples of different sizes of companies. What about setting individual personal goals? Can OKRs work in private life?

The answer is a definite YES, absolutely!

Whatever your personal goal is (lose weight, have a healthy lifestyle, be successful, finish university…), you can definitely use OKRs to achieve your goals. First you have to define, what success or achievement means to you. Once you do that, write it down on a paper and put it somewhere where you can always see it and be reminded of your goals. It has been proven that even writing down and seeing your goals regularly, improves your chances to be successful. Objectives and Key Results offer a simple and clear structure that is meant to keep you on track to achieve your targets. You can start by setting your overall personal goal and then break it down into quarterly objectives. Use measurable key results to track success. Take time to design your objectives and results. It will take at least one or two days. They have to be clear and logical so you can track you progress. And progress will eventually take you to the place where you want to be!

As you can see OKRs are a clear path that takes you or your company to success!