Life gets busy. Has Measure What Matters been gathering dust on your bookshelf? Instead, pick up the key ideas now.
We’re scratching the surface here. If you don’t already have the book, order the book or get the audiobook for free to learn the juicy details.
Wonder why your business isn’t making progress as it should be? Chances are you lack a clear direction. John Doerr’s Measure What Matters outlines essential factors that help businesses and organizations develop and drive good ideas into business opportunities through clarity, transparency, and accountability.
Doerr introduces you to Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), an integral goal-setting approach for large and small organizations to succeed. This approach has been implemented by some of the largest companies in the United States to direct and monitor growth over the long term.
OKRs is a revolutionary framework for goal setting, establishing strategies, and making tough choices that will affect your business in the long term. Initially developed by Andy Grove in Intel, OKRs are now used by many organizations in making key decisions that affect operations. Through OKRs, organizations can align their operations and teams towards a common goal, propagating success.
The book emphasizes why organizations of all sizes should implement OKRs. The approaches provided show you how to make essential decisions end ensure everyone from the top management to the junior employees is on board.
In OKRs, Objective refers to specific results that a company aims to achieve. Key Results is the roadmap you plan to take to achieve the set objectives.
Unlike the common narratives about organizational success, Doerr supports his argument for OKRs regarding the successful implementation at Google and Intel.
Now, let’s get to the point, even if you haven’t read John Doerr’s book, here are essential takeaways from the book you can start implementing in your business.
John Doerr’s Perspective
John Doerr is an American investor capitalist at Kleiner Perkins. In 2009, Doerr was appointed to the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board to advise the Obama administration on how to fix the period’s economic crisis. The 2017 Forbes 40th richest individual in tech, Doerr is the only investor to feature on Forbes’ Midas List of top venture capitalists for two decades consecutively. Doerr also led Kleiner into Google in 1999 with an investment of $12.5 million. He was also among the initial investors of Slack, DoorDash, Amazon, and many other companies.
Doerr is a major facilitator in online learning platforms like Khan Academy and Climate Reality Project’s foundations. But, this is not the main reason he has become popular among investors and organizations. His key insights into organizational growth through his book Measures What Matters is what defines Doerr in the business world. The book about OKRs is a major reference to Google and Intel’s success over the decades.
StoryShot #1: Ideas Are Easy, Execution Is Everything
If you google the “quotes on execution,” you will get millions of results. Is it because millions of people,e are sharing their execution plans and strategies with the rest of the world? Or is it because many people find it difficult to implement an idea? Unfortunately, the latter is closer to reality.
You or someone you know may be very good at coming up with seemingly excellent ideas for business or personal success. But when it comes to execution, many are lost in the wind, either unaware of where to start or just procrastinating on execution plans and dates. Because, for some interesting reasons, you’ll note a huge gap between idea generations and execution even among large organizations.
However, OKRs can help you turn your ideas into sustainable, scalable, and repeatable processes at the work or personal levels. OKRs equate to a shared language of execution. They clarify concepts and streamline expectations—what you want to get done, who’s working on implementation, and anticipated results after execution. They help keep your employees aligned with the ideas both vertically and horizontally.
Validating your idea can help bring everybody you need on board to perform their duties effectively. If you’re unaware of what the market needs but have unproven ideas, implementing the ideas may be guesswork. Maybe you’ll hit the bull’s eye, but high chances are your idea will fail execution. Nonetheless, validating your ideas with concerned stakeholders shows your knowledge about the ideas and possible impact on your business. Besides, you get a chance to prepare your employees for the anticipated changes. In addition, it saves you a lot of headaches, money, and time needed to analyze whether your market niche is ready for the change you’re about to make.
Executing your ideas can be easier if you have a clear direction about where you’re going and the people you need to make the venture.
Planning your execution effectively prevents your vision from being another mere waste of time and resources. Doerr tries to show that it’s important to understand an idea is just an abstract starting point with no clear directions on where to start or end. The execution is the marathon race—you start with a pace and resources you know you can achieve your objectives with. Key results here can help you draw your roadmap from scratch before you begin the execution. To Doerr, if you lay the right structure, the bottom line is to ensure you don’t quit, no matter how bumpy the journey becomes. Your ideas can be game changers if you put the necessary energy and expertise into execution. Still, they can also be a waste of resources if you don’t make a sufficient effort towards implementation.
StoryShot #2: Communication Is Key
How do you relay your ideas across the board? Do you focus on informing key executives, or do you take time to bring your ideas into a sense of junior employees? How you communicate, what you communicate, and whom you share your information with can be the difference between success and failure.
Communication is a key element in organizational growth and development. It should get into your mind that your organizational success depends on how you communicate your objectives, allow your employees to make decisions, and get feedback on things they don’t understand.
You must establish clarity among teams and individuals participating in a significant organizational project. Setting the objectives is one thing but communicating the aim of all stakeholders is a different thing. You need to make everyone understand the objectives and Key Results required to determine whether you’re on the right track.
You must make people find meaning in their roles. Your employees don’t want to follow and work on your company objectives blindly. They want to establish meaning in what they do. They want to understand how their skills and time contribute directly to the organization’s long-term mission.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to explain how and why you’ve come up with particular goals and how individuals working on them contribute to the overall organizational vision. Hence, you need to get clear of the whys and whats. Your employees need more than motivation to perform effectively. They need to understand the meaning of what they do and the value they contribute to the organization. The process cannot, therefore, end at unveiling OKRs at your quarterly or annual all-hands meetings. Providing personal touch and critical understanding at the team and individual levels can create an essential communication avenue in your organization.
StoryShot #3: Create Value In Goals
Goals are the ultimate endpoint in every action. If you don’t have clear goals in your project, you can lose track in the middle or lack a clear idea of achieving results.
A lack of goals in an organization is signing a death warrant for your company. You’ll be irrelevant within a short period. But how do you even do a project without a goal? When you don’t have anything to work for, it is difficult to convince anyone that you have a vision for your life or business.
Goals provide a sense of clarity to businesses and the people involved. Your employees will feel more active and engaged in the organizational projects when they have a tangible goal they are working to achieve. In addition, having a goal can help you measure the performance of various teams and assign essential duties based on expertise to increase productivity.
Accomplishing a goal helps your team track their progress through the entire process and feel proud of the milestone they have traversed to attain an organizational goal, which keeps them motivated. As a result, when your employees experience job satisfaction and feel motivated, you retain and attract top talents in the job market.
OKRs are essential to developing your goals. The Key Results allow your teams to see the path required to achieve the intended goal.
StoryShot #4: Focus On Conversation, Feedback, And Recognition (CFRs)
Do you have healthy and continuous performance management at your organization? This can be achieved through CFRs.
The top-down relationship is not healthy for your organizational growth. When the executive interacts with junior employees in instruction and implementation strategy, you risk a major failure. When the top executive team sets itself aside from the junior employees, the latter feels neglected and valueless in the company. They only focus on completing assigned roles without much interest in the value they bring to your company.
Establishing CFRs is a major step to implementing OKRs. in a CFRs approach, you establish a horizontal relationship across the board.
- Conversations: this refers to less hierarchical, authentic, and structured information exchange between members of the executive and junior employees. Both sides share information and exchange ideas on the best approach to improve performance.
- Feedback: This is bidirectional or networked communication between employees at the same or different levels evaluating performance and providing important feedback on the effectiveness of work done to the organizational growth. Feedback is an opinion based on observation and experience. When you make feedback, your employees understand how you perceive them and their work. Learning how to give constructive feedback in a way that employees can absorb and consider the opinion genuine is an essential skill.
- Recognition: This focus on appreciating and expressing gratitude to deserving persons and groups. Recognition improves transparency, accountability, and empowerment among teams and individuals.
StoryShot #5: Be Patient With The Process
Want to begin a new venture and get immediate success? It’s understandable but realizing any significant business or personal growth is not a splint—it’s a marathon race. Most of you want to start a business today and become a global company within a year. But. It’s not that easy. Even the best plans take time to implement and mature. They also encounter multiple difficulties along the way.
Even the most critically analyzed process requires trial and error to determine what does and doesn’t work. Doerr shows that even the most successful OKRs for corporates had to undergo a trial-and-error process. Many companies stumble for a considerable period before realizing the benefits of their OKRs ventures.
When you plan to expand your business, you probably don’t have a clear view of the entire roadmap. You may also not understand the principal purpose of the new venture. As a result, it may take a lot of time and resources to align everything in order, including elements not planned or abandoning non-essential aspects on the way.
Your organization may need to set up at least four quarterly cycles to review and re-evaluate the process before yielding results. Prioritizing valuable processes is key to minimizing inconveniences and frustrations.
Therefore, developing and executing OKRs will not be a smooth process for your organization. Don’t just be inspired by Google’s and Intel’s success history. Digging deeper into the challenges and trial and error process adopted during implementation can help you remain patient with your process while making the right steps towards your objective.
StoryShot #6: Focus And Commit To Priorities
Want to set a hundred goals and work on them at the same time? Well, it doesn’t work like that. Priorities matter in every aspect of the business. Establishing multiple goals is not a bad idea, but executing them simultaneously can be regrettable. Once you overload your team with so many unrelated assignments, they can end up being confused and failing to deliver on any of them.
An essential superpower of OKRs is prioritizing essential goals. Doerr emphasizes developing three to four ideas and selecting four to five key results. To a small or large organization, focusing on a few objectives and manageable key results can allow your team to concentrate on essential roles. Developing priorities and committing to achievement increase accountability for every team member.
When you set priorities, you are more likely to follow through to ensure you perform your duty effectively. Priorities call for commitments. However, when you try to switch priorities between two or more unrelated objectives, you may waste time and be confused.
When you prioritize an objective, you give your team a clear path and a foreshadowing of what success looks like. The key result indicates success and progress when they all relate to how the final result may look like.
Your key results must be specific, measurable, and concise to ensure you have the required focus and priorities. In addition, success in key results must lead to achieving the set objective. If your key results show anything other than the set objectives, you haven’t applied OKRs.
StoryShot #7: Align And Promote Teamwork
You probably have been in a situation where many employees work on the same task. In addition to redundancy, this can lower productivity at the workplace. A lack of alignment is a common issue among large organizations. While some CEOs think assigning the same job to many employees gets that job done quickly, it is, unfortunately, an obstacle to the execution of the objective.
Assigning the right number of employees to specific duties promotes collaboration and transparency. It is easier to measure the work done by each team or individual than when all employees focus on the same task.
When you have clear objectives, OKRs can help you avoid such mistakes by exposing redundant tasks and those with minimal value to your organization. In addition, in an OKR framework, senior and junior employees have unlimited access to others’ goals and have a chance to critique and correct any mistakes.
Shared goals are more likely to be achieved than private goals. When you set public goals, each employee accesses their roles while contributing important information to other teams with related activities. With such an approach, you minimize failure by detecting errors in advance. Even the most junior employee feel connected to a common goal.
StoryShot #8: Track Accountability
If you’re the kind that sets goals and forgets, you can’t achieve OKRs. OKRs are breathing and living goals that can evolve and adapt to the changing needs of your organization. OKRs are meant to be flexible and adaptive guidelines that can dance to the tune and adjust to emerging markets’ needs.
Your organization requires frequent changes to adapt to the emerging trends in technology and markets. When your goals fail to consider future changes, they can become irrelevant even before implementation.
Fortunately, OKRs can enable your organization to adopt a strong, dedicated, cloud-based software management system where your team can navigate through the digital dashboard and create, edit and track emerging trends.
A platform like a cloud makes everyones’ goals visible to all team members. This not only enhances internal networking but also creates a sense of accountability among employees. Everyone focuses on perfecting their goals while implementing the best ideas from their colleagues.
In addition, constant tracking of OKRs encourages an important value. Team members yearn to know how their work is progressing and have it visually presented and incorporated into the long-term organizational vision.
Tracking OKRs will help you focus energy, time, and resources in the right direction. It will also allow employees to compete positively toward achieving the main objective. Consequently, you achieve your goals and promote employees’ learnability and career development.
Final Summary And Review of Measure What Matters
John Doerr’s Measure What Matters provide essential insight into business success. Implementing OKRs is an important factor for small and large organizations.
Whether you plan to expand your line of products or venture into the global market, considering OKRs will help you make a difference and join the league of the most successful global organizations.
Now, let’s go through the key insights again:
- Ideas are easy, execution is everything
- Communication is Key
- Create Value in Goals
- Focus on Conversation, Feedback, and Recognition (CFRs)
- Be Patient With the Process
- Focus and Commit to Priorities
- Align and Promote Teamwork
- Track Accountability