Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth

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Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth

 “As much as I hate process, good ideas with great execution are how you make magic. And that’s where Objectives and Key Results come in”   Larry Page, Google Cofounder and Alphabet CEO
 

What really matters and how will you measure it?

What has made Google one of the most valuable companies in the world and ranked by Fortune magazine as number one on the list for ‘Best Companies to Work For?’ While there are many reasons for their success, Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google, credits OKRs – Objectives and Key Results – as changing the course of the company forever.

The concept was introduced to Google by the book’s author, John Doerr, one of the world’s most successful investors. Doerr learnt about OKRs from Andy Grove who he worked with at Intel and who he credits with being the greatest manager of his or any era. Doerr’s own OKRs when he first joined as an intern were pinned by his desk so that everyone could see what his focus was: Objective: Demonstrate the 8080’s superior performance as compared to the Motorola 6800

Key results:

  1. Deliver five benchmarks
  2. Develop a demo
  3. Develop sales training materials for the field force
  4. Call on three customers to prove the material works

Doerr first outlined OKRs to Google as ‘a management methodology that helps to ensure the company focuses efforts on the same important issues throughout the organisation’. Good OKR systems that inspire employees and improve performance should:

The author views structured goal setting as like a Swiss Army knife, suited to any environment – from a survival tool for smaller start-ups to demolishing silos in larger organisations. Hundreds of companies, like Google, Spotify, Disney, BMW and LinkedIn are using them to align staff to corporate goals. The book provides in-depth contributions from organisations that have used OKRs, including:

MyFitnessPal

Adobe

In the practical resources section of the book, which includes details of Google’s recommendations for setting OKRs, Doerr outlines a typical OKR timeline for an organisation setting company, team and contributor goals. This process continues throughout the year as progress is tracked and brainstorms for OKRs begin for the next quarter:

Company:

Team:

Employees:

Setting goals like these has moved on from the classic Management by Objectives of the 60s which focussed on the what, not the how, and often got buried as they sluggishly trickled down the hierarchy. Doerr believes that Objectives and Key Results can be used by anyone in any type of organisation, and even by children at school. They will be refined as time goes on, but Doerr has found them a proven force for operating excellence – they have worked for Google and many others, so why not for you?

About the author

John Doerr is an engineer, venture capitalist and chairman at Kleiner Perkins and was appointed to the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board in 2009. John was an original investor and board member at Google and Amazon, helping to create more than half a million jobs and the world’s second and third most valuable companies. Doerr works with social entrepreneurs for change in public education, the climate crisis, and global poverty and serves on the board of the Obama Foundation and ONE.org. In February 2009, Forbes ranked Doerr as the 105th richest person in the US with a net worth of $7.5 billion in 2018. More information can be found at https://www.whatmatters.com

“Measure What Matters is about using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a revolutionary approach to goal-setting, to make tough choices in business. Doerr shares a broad range of first person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations. This book will show you how to collect timely, relevant data to track progress — to measure what matters. It will help any organization or team aim high, move fast, and excel.”
UK Business Insider

“I’d recommend John’s book for anyone interested in becoming a better manager.”
Bill Gates

“Measure What Matters deserves to be fully embraced by every person responsible for performance, in any walk of life. John Doerr makes Andy Grove a mentor to us all. If every team, leader, and individual applied OKRs with rigour and imagination, all sectors of society could see an exponential increase in productivity and innovation.”
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great**
Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr reveals how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth—and how it can help any organization thrive.In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up whom he’d just given $12.5 million, the biggest investment of his career. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy, and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world (or even to survive), Page and Brin had to learn how to make tough choices on priorities while keeping their team on track. They’d have to know when to pull the plug on losing propositions, to fail fast. And they needed timely, relevant data to track their progress—to measure what mattered.

Doerr taught them about a proven approach to operating excellence: Objectives and Key Results. He had first discovered OKRs in the 1970s as an engineer at Intel, where the legendary Andy Grove (“the greatest manager of his or any era”) drove the best-run company Doerr had ever seen. Later, as a venture capitalist, Doerr shared Grove’s brainchild with more than fifty companies. Wherever the process was faithfully practiced, it worked.

In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve; key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. Everyone’s goals, from entry level to CEO, are transparent to the entire organization.

The benefits are profound. OKRs surface an organization’s most important work. They focus effort and foster coordination. They keep employees on track. They link objectives across silos to unify and strengthen the entire company. Along the way, OKRs enhance workplace satisfaction and boost retention.

In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations. This book will help a new generation of leaders capture the same magic.

 

Book Details

Author: John Doerr

ISBN: 978-0241348482