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How To Write Effective OKRs (With 5 OKR Examples)

How To Write Effective OKRs (With 5 OKR Examples)

Looking for some OKR examples and tips on how to write one?

From Google to Amazon, many organizations use the OKR framework to set targets and achieve them!

It helps them create measurable goals, align it to their business objectives and track how they’re achieving it. 

However, before you get to benefit from OKRs, you need to implement them.

How do you do that?

Don’t worry.

We’ve brought in the Roses from Schitt’s Creek to help you out. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to write effective OKRs with the help of five practical OKR examples. We’ll also show you how to use an OKR tool to track your objectives and progress. 

This Article Contains:

Let’s start your OKR training!

What Are OKRs?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a framework for setting goals and determining how you can achieve them. 

Used by individuals, teams and companies, OKRs are split into two parts:

  • Objective (O)

An objective defines what you want to achieve. It should be qualitative, ambitious, actionable and time-bound. 

  • Key Result (KR)

A key result defines how you’ll measure your progress towards your objective. It should be quantitative (measurable) and achievable. Ideally, under each objective, you should have three to five key results

In a nutshell, you achieve a set of key results to complete your objective.

While we agree with David here, here’s an example to better understand OKRs:

Let’s say Moira wants to implement a weekly newsletter program as part of the Town Council’s community program. Her key results could be finalizing the content for the next two months and setting up a deal with the publisher.

We know what you’re thinking — this just sounds like how you’d set goals normally, right?

It is.

But Moira’s example is a simplified version to help you quickly understand what objectives and key results look like. 

OKRs are much more than just setting goals like these. 

And that’s why we’ll cover two common OKR questions before going into showing you some real OKR examples:

1. How is an OKR different from a KPI?

A KPI (Key Performance Indicators) is a metric used to evaluate your performance over ongoing activities or processes. These measurable indicators vary across (and even within) companies. 

For example, Click-through Rate is a marketing KPI whereas Net Promoter Score is a KPI used in customer support.

OKRs and KPIs are like two wigs from Moira’s collection.

Sure they seem similar, but they’re very different.

Here’s how OKRs are different from KPIs:

An OKR helps you set measurable goals and achieve them while a KPI helps you measure the performance or quality of a process.

Remember, OKRs can be split up into an objective and a set of key results to achieve the goal. KPIs are simply key metrics you use to evaluate your progress.

Here’s an example to explain this:

So let’s say your OKR objective was to create a better customer experience, and one of those key results was to achieve a Net Promoter Score of 50 by the next quarter.

Here, your:

  • Objective = Better customer experience
  • Key result = Achieve a Promoter Score of 50 by the next quarter
  • KPI = Net Promoter Score, as it’s the metric you’re using to evaluate your key result’s performance

That’s why, while OKRs and KPIs are distinct concepts, they often go well together.

If you fail to achieve an objective, it could indicate that you need to use new performance indicators for your business. 

Similarly, if a key performance result indicates that a process needs improvement, you can add it as a key result under an objective to improve that process

For example, if KPI results show that the Apothecary’s sales are falling, David and Patrick could develop an OKR to focus on improving their marketing activities. 

2. Are there different types of OKRs?

Just like how we have Alexis and David in the Rose family, we’ve Aspirational and Committed OKRs in the OKR family. 

So let’s find out more about them!

A. Aspirational OKR

Aspirational OKR is like your crazy, ambitious sibling. 

These OKRs are moonshot goals that may be hard to tackle and achieve. However, they could help your company discover new, innovative routes to boost its growth.

Expanding your company to new markets, tripling its revenue in a year or, even, selling the town of Schitt’s Creek are some aspirational OKR examples.

But can you attain objectives that are ambitious?

Yes, you can — if you set various (three to five) key results that balance out each other. 

In Moira’s example that we discussed before, the only KRs are finalizing the content for the next two months and finding a publisher. But this alone isn’t going to help her progress towards the goal within the time frame. 

She also needs to set other key results, like growing her subscriber base by 8% per week to make her goals become attainable — even if they’re ambitious. 

Sure, she may not be able to fully complete it in the planned time frame. But she could achieve around 75% progress in two months and will be able to complete it soon enough. 

I mean, something’s better than nothing, right?

B. Committed OKR 

If aspirational OKR is the ambitious sibling, committed OKR is the more realistic one. So realistic that they’re supposed to be achieved completely – all the time.

Often called roofshot goals, these OKRs are far easier to attain than aspirational OKRs. And since they’re realistic, you’ll also have a clear-cut idea how to achieve them.

For example, Twyla could set an OKR to improve her cafe’s table turnover rate. She could easily go about this by taking orders or serving tables quickly.

 
And there you have it — the “theory” part of your OKR training is over!

So let’s now get down to the practical application!

How To Write Effective OKRs (With 5 Practical OKR Examples)

To write good OKRs, you only need to use a simple formula.

Don’t worry. 

It’s so easy that even Roland could do it on his own!

Here’s the formula:

I will: (your objective)

As measured by: (your key results)

But before we use this formula, here are some OKR best practices to keep in mind when writing OKRs:

  • Objectives should be inspiring or ambitious
  • Always set timeframes for your objectives
  • Ideally, each individual, team or department should have three to five objectives
  • Key results should have measurable outcomes 
  • Have around three to five key results for each objective

Let’s now dive into writing OKRs…

5 Practical OKR examples

Here are five practical sample OKRs to help you understand how to write one:

1. Company-wide OKRs

Company-wide OKRs are broad objectives that an organization’s managers, as well as employees, commit to. 

They also clarify what the company’s key priorities are right now. 

Launching a new product or doubling your revenue in a year are some sample OKRs for this. 

Note: Many department-specific OKRs overlap with company OKRs. For example, enhancing customer service functions as an overall company OKR as well as a customer support OKR.

Okay, let’s get down to creating a company-wide OKR.

Let’s say that Johnny wants to improve the motel’s customer experience so that they’ll be able to win at the next Regional Hospitality Awards.

Here’s what he can write down:

I (or we) will: Improve the motel’s customer service by the end of Q3 2020

As measured by: 

  • Achieve a Net Promoter Score of 50 or above in Q2
  • Resolve critical customer issues under 1 hour
  • 40% faster data processing on the hotel’s app compared to Q3 

Here’s why this OKR works:

  • It’s an ambitious goal (has a short timeframe)
  • Has key results that balance each other (to get a high promoter score you should be able to resolve customer issues quickly)
  • All key results are measurable (have numbers)

Johnny and the others can now take the necessary steps to achieve each key result and win that award.

2. Sales OKRs

For our next example, let’s look at sales OKRs.

Sales OKRs help you improve your sales engagement and also motivate your sales team to perform better. 

As these teams usually play a big role in your company’s revenue, it’s vital to set the right objectives and track the right key results.  

Without that, your sales team (and finances) could end up like Jocelyn:


To help avoid that, here’s a sales OKR you could use.

Let’s say Johnny wants to improve the Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) of his video product

His sales team’s OKR could look something like this:

I will: Achieve $100k in MRR in Q3 2020

As measured by:

  • Increase customer retention by 30% over Q2
  • Increase monthly subscriptions by 10%
  • Reduce monthly churn rate from 2% to 1%

With this OKR, Johnny’s team has a concrete objective — it clearly says what to achieve and by when. 

And as each key result is measurable, it’ll be easy to check if the OKR has been achieved or not by the end of the quarter.  

3. Marketing OKRs

You can’t improve sales without boosting the efforts of your marketing team as well, right?

So let’s help David create some marketing OKRs to boost his Apothecary’s marketing activities. 

As he wants to focus on social media marketing in Q3, the OKR of his marketing team could look something like this:

I will: Increase social media reach in Q3

As measured by:

  • Increase the number of Twitter followers by 30k
  • Get 5k or more views on YouTube videos
  • Double the social media conversion rate as compared to Q2

Thoughts, David?

4. Human resource OKRs

While the previous OKR examples were relevant to a sales or marketing team, they’re not the only important ones for your business.

Remember, your sales and marketing team isn’t the only department that has a major influence on growth and profitability! Even your HR team will need OKRs — and Ted’s here to help with that. 


Let’s say he wants to improve employee job satisfaction in his veterinary clinic. 

His OKR could look like:

I will: Provide a better employee experience for my vets in 2020

As measured by:

  • Increase monthly employee NPS score from 50 to 80 
  • Interview 5 employees every two months, to better understand their needs
  • Conduct 2 employee engagement activities (such as team building games) each month

Similar goals can be implemented for all your HR activities, from hiring and recruitment to building the company culture.

5. Personal OKRs 

Sure, OKRs can be used at various levels in an organization. 

But that’s not all.

You can even use OKRs to move ahead in your personal life! 

Known as personal OKRs, these targets help you focus on what’s important in your personal life. These objectives can be anything from losing weight to spending more quality family time.

This sounds like one of those New Year resolutions, right?

Nope.

Unlike OKRs, resolutions are mostly flimsy goals that aren’t measured or reviewed using any metric. 

(Which explains why most of us drop our New Year resolutions after a couple of months!)

Let’s understand personal goals with the help of Alexis.

Let’s say she wants to set personal OKRs to help her achieve a healthier lifestyle. 

Her OKR could be this:

I will: Practice a healthier lifestyle 

As measured by:

  • Run 2kms every morning
  • Include fruits and vegetables in at least 2 meals in a day
  • Meditate for 1hr each day

As she can evaluate her key results each day, this won’t end up like those “new year, new me” ideas. 

How To Use An OKR Tool To Manage Your OKRs

Now that we’ve covered five different OKR examples, we’re sure you can write one on your own.  

Great, right?

But wait. Your OKR training isn’t over yet.

How’re you going to implement your OKRs and track them?

Using a piece of paper or a spreadsheet isn’t a good idea in 2020. 

Plus, it could confuse your team members as they’re going to wonder if you’re seriously considering that in this digital age:

Luckily, all you need is a powerful OKR tool like ClickUp to set and track your OKRs easily!

What’s ClickUp?

ClickUp is the #1 project management tool in the world.

Used by 100,000+ teams in companies from startups to giants like Airbnb, Google, Netflix and Nike, ClickUp is the only tool you need to implement the OKR framework

From helping you set measurable goals to tracking its progress, this OKR software is perfect for Agile and Scrum teams to manage their OKRs.

How do you think the Roses manage their new businesses?  

By using ClickUp (we hope!)


Here’s how ClickUp makes OKR management a piece of cake:

1. Implement OKRs with Goals  

When David decided to start the Apothecary, he didn’t just sit there planning his OKRs all day. Once he determined them, he implemented them — which is exactly what you should do! 

How?

Using ClickUp’s Goals!

Goals are high-level containers that break down your objectives into small, measurable Targets.

Which means that:

  • Your objectives = ClickUp Goals
  • Your key results = ClickUp Targets

Here’s how you use Goals:

Step 1: Create a Goal

Creating Goals in ClickUp is super easy.

Just go to “Goals” in ClickUp and click on the “+ New Goal” button.

And voila! Your Goal (your objective) has been created!

 

Step 2: Edit that Goal

Once you’ve created your Goal, you can customize it according to your needs.  

You can edit:

  • The Goal’s name
  • Deadline
  • Who’s responsible for it
  • Which team members can access it
  • The description, so that you can clearly explain the objective

Step 3: Set your Targets

Remember, ClickUp’s Goals are high-level containers that are further broken down into Targets.

So the next step is to set these Targets (the key results).

And for that, you only need to click on the “Add Target” button and your Target will show up under your Goal. 

 

Step 4: Edit those Targets

Just like how you edited your Goal, you can now edit your Targets. 

For each Target, you can set:

  • Target name
  • Who’s responsible for it
  • What it tracks (number, true/false, tasks, currency)

Step 5: Add more Targets

To add more Targets to your Goal, repeat steps 3 and 4.

Step 6: Track your progress

Goal? Set.

Targets? Ready.

What’s left? 

To tackle them and track your progress. 

Once you start on your Targets, you can easily track your Goal’s progress in ClickUp.

It’ll show:

  • Your progress for each Target (key result)
    For example, if your Target was to increase the Apothecary’s marketing spend by $50k/month, you can track how much money you’ve spent so far.
  • How your Target progress has contributed to your Goal’s (objective) progress
    For example, if you’ve completed a quarter of all your Targets so far, your Goal progress will be 25%. This is an easy way to track how close you are to achieving your objective.

2. Monitor your team’s progress with Reports

ClickUp’s Goals help you know how your team is progressing through their OKRs. 

But that’s not the only handy feature in this OKR software.

You also get tons of accurate reports that give you deep insights into your team’s performance


ClickUp gives you reports like:

  • Task Completed Report: shows the tasks each team member completed
  • Worked On Report: highlights the total number of tasks each member worked on during a particular day, week or month
  • Workspace Points Report: gamify workflows to make OKRs super fun for your team
  • Who’s Behind Report: displays which members have unfinished or “work in progress” tasks  
  • Time Tracked Report: shows how much time your team spends on their tasks 

 

Implementing OKRs and tracking performance has never been this easy!

Right, Johnny?


But wait.

We’re not done yet — because these aren’t all of ClickUp’s features!

This powerful OKR tool also gives you a wide variety of features, like:

Conclusion

Writing OKRs doesn’t have to be complicated.

I mean, it’s not as hard as trying to sell a town that’s in the middle of nowhere!

Just use the OKR examples and key practices we covered here to help you write yours. 

However, just writing OKRs isn’t enough.

You also need an OKR software like ClickUp to help you implement and track your OKRs easily.

With features like Goals and Reports, ClickUp has everything you need to manage your objectives and key results.

Sign up today to achieve your OKRs just like how the Roses did!

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