LinkedIn manages its teams using a task-tracking system called ‘Objectives and Key Results,’ abbreviated as “OKRs.” First developed by Andy Grove at Intel, the strategy was popularized by John Doerr from Kleiner Perkins…
In Grove’s famous manual “High Output Management,” he introduces OKRs by answering two simple questions: (1) Where do I want to go? (2) How will I know I’m getting there? In essence, what are my objectives, and what key results do I need to keep tabs on to make sure I’m making progress? When you think about it, these questions are very personal, speaking to the core of how people spend their days. It makes sense that everyone within an organization should have their own OKRs every quarter. The important thing is tying these individual OKRs to team OKRs and, ultimately, organizational OKRs. This alignment packs power and efficiency.
Understanding the personal nature and motivating potential of OKRs, (LinkedIn CEO Jeff) Weiner defines them more broadly. They should be about “something you want to accomplish over a specific period of time that leans toward a stretch goal rather than a stated plan. It’s something where you want to create greater urgency, greater mindshare.” For all these reasons, OKRs should become more important the more senior an employee becomes. When you’re in a leadership position “you are sending the signal to the rest of the organization that ‘this matters,’” Weiner says.
OKRs should definitely not be easily achievable. Low expectations may seem to yield glowing results, but they eventually stall people, teams and companies in the long run. OKRs shouldn’t be too malleable either. They’re supposed to be quarterly beacons, not shifting from week to week. Along these lines, Weiner prefers that his team members set three to five OKRs for themselves in any given quarter.