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10 OKR Mistakes To Avoid & How To Do It Right For Business

Avoiding OKR Mistakes: Best Practices for Business

The Objectives and Key Results (OKR) concept is a performance management technique that entails a strategic framework for setting and monitoring objectives and their corresponding outcomes. Introduced by Andy Grove at Intel in the 1970s and popularized by John Doerr at Google in 1999, OKR has become widely recognized in the business world.

The “how?” to using OKR is by following the SMART principle. To be SMART with your OKR means to set specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, and timely objectives and key results.

Successfully implementing OKRs requires a nuanced understanding of the intricacies involved in crafting and executing the concept. Avoiding certain pitfalls is essential to prevent potential setbacks.

Here are 10 common mistakes to steer clear of in OKR implementation, along with their correct applications.

To learn how OKRs can help take your team to the next level, enroll in our OKR Mastery course and earn a 35% commission when you invite others to join this course!

1. Keeping Vague OKR:

Vague OKR lacks the cutting-edge specificity that good OKR demands. An example is setting a goal for December 23rd or setting a goal for the end of the year. December 23rd carries more specificity to it than the end of the year.
Solution: Be specific with OKR, use numbers, and a specific day of the month.

2. Setting Too Many OKRs:

Setting too many OKR tasks makes the concept an overwhelming one to achieve. Such a vast list can be distracting, which may undermine the whole idea of OKR due to ambiguity.
Solution: When you set objectives, have 3-4 key results. Also, pick 2-3 of the essential results to prioritize and stick to them. Unachieved objectives but yet important, can be carried on to the next quarter.

3. Setting Unmeasurable OKR:

Without being able to break down your objectives and key results, you cant work towards it. This implies that if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.
Solution: Break down your key results with measurable units. Or employees should discuss with their employers each others’ roles in achieving the set objective.

4. Keeping OKR Uninterpreted:

Keeping OKR uninterpreted to the employees is as good as not having OKR in place. It can also mean keeping it private.
Solution: The employer must carry his team along in other to avoid redundancy of employees by sharing with them the specificity of their objectives.

5. Setting OKR from Top to Down:

Setting OKR from top to bottom/down is often the traditional way of setting OKR. However, this method is ineffective, because, usually, wrong goals are set.
Solution: To avoid setting the wrong goals, it is better to have the people doing the work, also setting the goals.

6. Making OKR into Performance Review:

The purpose of OKR is not to evaluate the performance of employees, nor is it a tool to be used by the HR to compensate employees.
Solution: Avoid using OKR for performance review. If you do not, employees will set achievable personal goals to see that compensation keeps increasing. In the long run, OKR will be neglected.

7. Setting Business as Usual OKR:

Performance management is supposed to be the forward-looking process used to set goals and regularly check progress toward achieving those goals. This implies that doing the same thing you have been doing is not an effective use of performance management.
Solution: OKR must be written in such a way that it highlights what the team believes it can achieve by improving what is already being done.

8. Confusing OKR with Tasks:

OKR is not a to-do list. OKR is also not a note made to check your daily routines.
Solution: Make a result-oriented list. OKRs are designed to convey goals, what you are trying to achieve. Therefore, avoid using OKR to do things but instead to achieve the long term goals.

9. Using Ineffective Tracking and Scoring:

Employers can’t just enforce rules or new goals down on the subordinates and expect them to follow the plans to detail.
Solution: The employer must check-in weekly depending on their team’s need to check the progress and effectiveness of the performance management in play. The acute scoring system should also be in place.

10. By tracking your goal within just a month, OKR loses its touch of following a goal.

Instead, it is limited to tracking the task in that specific month. It is also possible that the result will come after a month. For obvious reasons, if key results ought to be carried out the next month, the opportunity to do so is no more there.
Solution: Having a quarterly or annual management approach gives place to the timely accomplishment of OKR.

If you’ve faced any of these errors in your use of OKR, and it has led to adverse effects, abandoning the concept mid-cycle is a viable option. Rather than discarding it entirely, you have the opportunity to rectify the mistakes. If you prefer not to handle the corrections independently, engaging an OKR coach can provide guidance in utilizing one of the most widely adopted performance management techniques.

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Hey, I’m Shone Fone Ng. I’m determined to make a business grow. My only question is, will it be yours?

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About Shone Fone

Shone Fone is a Serial Entrepreneur for 10 SMEs since 1997, businesses ranging from equipment supply, manufacturing, equipment maintenance and ISO 17025 calibration service, HRM software development and training. He also an award winning entrepreneur of Asia Pacific Top Excellence Brand – Book of The TOP Recognition.

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How to build

winning teams with KPI?

Hey, I’m Shone Fone Ng. I’m determined to make a business grow. My only question is, will it be yours?

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
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