Mistakes to Avoid When Setting OKR Goals for the First Tim

The Objective and Key Results (OKRs) framework is a popular tool for setting and measuring progress towards organizational goals. It’s a perfect goal setting and tracking system as it combines the concepts of SMART and quarterly reviews.

The method is popular because it’s simple and flexible enough to scale across entire organizations. In addition, it enhances transparency between managers and employees while also boosting accountability.

Writing OKRs goals is a great team exercise that can bring people together, but it must be done carefully. Continue reading to find out the four mistakes to avoid when setting OKRs for the first time.

Failing to Set Attainable Goals

The biggest mistake made when setting OKR goals is setting massive goals when first starting out. According to Google’s organizational research, the number one reason OKRs fail is that they are too ambitious or unattainable from the start.

In an organization where every team member has a say in writing their OKRs, it can be tempting to set overly ambitious OKRs to demonstrate that you’re a “go-getter.” It can, however, eventually lead to frustration and even disengagement.

If every team member sets unattainable goals, they will be less likely to take full ownership of their success. Goals should always be challenging but not so complex that they are discouraging.

Setting OKRs is not to distance yourself from your team but rather to set realistic goals that everyone can work to achieve. Managers should encourage their team to be ambitious and ensure that the OKRs are achievable.

Writing Goals Without Context

Not every project will have an impact on the company. Also, it’s important to remember that not all projects are equal, and some may only be valuable at the division or department level.

When writing OKRs, be sure to contextualize your goals with the larger company vision. What are you trying to achieve, and how does this goal support that?

To avoid this, employers should divide their company’s overall goals into specific departmental or team-based objectives that can be tracked and measured.

No Time for Reviews

One of the benefits of OKRs is that they force you to review your progress regularly. But if there’s no time set apart for reviews, it’s easy for them to fall by the wayside.

Managers should conduct reviews every quarter. It will give you enough time to make course corrections if necessary. But it’s also important to be flexible and adapt as needed.

If your goal changes halfway through the quarter, you should review your progress more frequently. To avoid this mistake, consider having an ongoing task list outside of your OKRs where you can list out any changes needed.

Inadequate Resource Sharing

One of the benefits of setting OKRs is creating a shared understanding of what everyone is working towards. But if you don’t share the resources effectively, it defeats the purpose.

Make sure you adequately share resources such as people, money, and time. This includes ensuring that team members are aware of each other’s goals and help contribute whenever necessary.

Employee frustration is imminent if some feel like they are doing all the work and not seeing any progress. Companies should also align individual objectives with departmental and company-wide goals.

Now you’re prepared to start setting  attainable OKR goals. 

Writing OKRs can be a great way to boost productivity and collaboration. The key is setting attainable goals without overwhelming employees. Employers should always ask themselves what value their objective brings to the company, whether it aligns with the company vision, and how it supports other team members’ objectives. By following these four steps, you can mitigate some of the most common mistakes made when writing OKRs.