OKR Goals

6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing OKRs

New to OKRs or thinking about implementing them in your organisation? In this piece we look at 6 common mistakes to avoid when implementing OKRs.

If new to Objective and Key Results(OKRs) here’s a short list of 6 common mistakes to avoid when implementing OKRs in your organisation.

1. Too many Objectives

Setting too many objectives as a company, team or individual is a typical mistake we see the most when starting out. When there are too many objectives none tend to be accomplished and people lose interest, declaring OKRs just aren’t for them. Instead, get your people focused on coming up with 2-3 priority objectives to start & grow from there. Less is more here.

2. Everyday To-Do’s as OKRs

OKRs are designed to be future-focused, aspirational and ambitious. Again when starting out, we see a lot of teams creating objectives that end up with a list of tasks as key results. Tasks do play a role in the delivery of OKRs but not as the objective or a key results.

Instead of thinking about key results as a list of things you are going to do in order to deliver on an objective, shift the focus to measurement and ask yourself ‘How will we know if we were successful or not?’

3. Set and Forget approach

Don’t treat your plan to roll out OKRs as a New Year’s resolution. Adopting OKRs has to become a core part of the culture of your organisation and with committed cadence to checking in on overall progress. While Companies OKRs might have an annual or multiple years focus in terms of objectives, we encourage quarterly OKRs for teams & individuals

Regular 1:1’s or check-ins around progress & future plans bring a rhythm that delivers results while supporting your people to grow & succeed.

4. Objectives set are not aspirational enough

Many traditional goal-setting frameworks focus on your people hitting 100% of their goals. This can be a limiting factor in what could potentially be achieved. One of the benefits of OKRs is the idea of stretch goals. Setting OKRs that challenge, drive innovation & push people to succeed with better outcomes at 70-80% completion than they would have otherwise. One thing to remember, stretch goals should always be challenging but not impossible to achieve.

5. Creating OKRs in silos

Your people need to talk to each other when setting OKRs, otherwise achieving alignment will be impossible. A primary focus on just cascading all goals in your business should also be avoided.

Involve & trust your teams to create their own goals. Share publicly the company OKRs and help them understand how they can align & contribute to the delivery of the overall company strategy using OKRs.

6. Breaking OKRs linked to compensation

We’re a firm believer that performance outcomes and compensation are two separate events regardless of how goals get set & measured. In the context of OKRs, the focus should always be on setting stretch, creative goals. If employee compensation is solely linked to the completion of goals, people and teams will be less likely to push the limits of what they can actually achieve & objectives set will not be aspirational enough. Encourage the right kind of behaviours and results by separating the two.

OKRs bring the agile method of goal-setting to life for the rest of your organisation. They allow you to successfully align your people & business strategies while delivering on business outcomes that your people are proud of and understand. With a focus on some of the common mistakes in implementing OKRs, we hope your new world of working with OKRs will be one that delivers on the future potential offered.

At Frankli, we’re on a mission to help people optimise their performance. We bring simplicity and transparency to your experience through goal-setting, real-time feedback, 1:1s, pulse surveys and review cycles.

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