Practical examples of OKRs - The OKRs Owl part 1/4

Practical examples of OKRs - The OKRs Owl part 1/4

Owl with books

Welcome to The OKRs Owl series!

In this series, we’ll be chucking out the Objective & Key Result (OKR) textbooks and taking you into the real world, with practical examples that everyone can relate to.

Why? We often hear that people have a hard time understanding how OKRs work in practice. Reading the theory is one thing, but it doesn't help you day-to-day. So we tend to find that, whilst many people like the idea of OKRs (better transparency, alignment and success), they don’t know how to apply the principles to their own team or organisation.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to step away from the theory and provide some really simple and practical examples of OKRs. Even better, we’ll give you some tips about how you can apply OKRs into your personal life too. It’s all about goal-setting - having a vision of where you’d like to be and knowing how to get there.

The New Year is the perfect time to set some goals for the year. Personally and professionally, there’s nothing like planning ahead to motivate you and get the year off to the good start. So, in the first of The OKRs Owl series, here are some practical examples of OKRs for 2021!

1 Example OKR for a personal fitness goal

Owl working out gym

Objective:

  • Get fit and healthy, so I can run a 10k in April

Key results:

  • Lose 3 kg by end of March
  • Sleep 7 hours per night
  • Exceed 5 portions of fruit and veg every day

Initiatives:

  • Daily jog before work
  • Sign up to 2 evening meditation classes per week
  • Start a food diary

Just a few simple steps towards achieving your goal and a clear measure on whether you’ve got there or not. OKRs should be simple, clear and achievable at a stretch. It’s an agile approach where you break down a big goal into smaller, achievable chunks.

As you start to see progress, you’ll be hungry to achieve more.

2 Example OKR for a customer focused business

Owl in a shop

Objective:

  • Create a happy, loyal customer base

Key results:

  • Reduce customer churn rate to 5%
  • Exceed Net Promoter Score of 8
  • 50% of existing customers subscribe to loyalty programme

Initiatives:

  • Target high risk customers with a special personalised offer 
  • Create a survey to send to a sample of 15% of customers to learn more about their requirements
  • Offer points and rewards on the loyalty programme to encourage adoption

3 Example OKR for better time management at home

Owl with a calendar and pencil

Objective:

  • Spend most of my free time on activities that are positive and healthy

Key results:

  • Reduce daily social media time from 4 hours to 1 hour
  • Learn 150 new French words by March
  • Exceed 10,000 steps per day

Initiatives:

  • Download a social media monitoring app 
  • Sign up for an online language course
  • Walk during and in-between meetings whenever possible

4 Example OKR for improved team efficiency at work

Owl with a graph

Objective:

  • Use our time productively as a team

Key results:

  • Reduce internal meetings from 1 hour to 40 mins
  • Reduce our backlog of tasks more than 3 months old by 50%
  • Achieve 100% of tasks aligned to company goals

Initiatives:

  • Update all of our OKRs weekly and review before meetings to reduce meeting time that would be spent on updates
  • Review all backlog tasks and identify any that no longer align with our goals or have become too old 
  • Integrate JIRA with OKRs software to align tasks to company goals

In example 3 and 4, the focus is on utilising time better. In a personal capacity, you may feel you waste a lot of time mindlessly scrolling social media feeds or doing activities that don’t promote health and wellbeing. 

Your OKRs provide a clear plan for why you want to combat this, how to do it and when you’ll know you’ve got there.

Similarly, in the business example, the focus is also on time management, but this time the objective is different. 

As a team, you may feel you’re letting stakeholders down, missing deadlines or simply not using your time efficiently. Your OKRs can help you agree, as a team, what you want to commit to and how you’re going to tackle the problem collectively.

Staying motivated

At the beginning of each year, setting goals is exciting and you can’t wait to get cracking. But, as time goes on, you start to grow weary, demotivated and complacent. Does this sound like you?

The obvious solution would be to make your goals easier, right? 

Wrong! 

OKRs are most effective when they’re stretch targets. You want to lose a couple of pounds? Make it five. Keen to maintain your customer retention rate? Why not double it?

Setting ambitious OKRs is hugely motivational because as the saying goes, “shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” One caveat to this is how your organisation perceives success and failure. If your employees will be penalised for failing to achieve their OKRs, then you’ll need to take a long, hard look at your company culture and make some big changes before you begin. 

In true agile fashion, the idea of ‘initiatives’ is to carry out a series of small tests to see what works and what doesn’t. Failure is an opportunity to learn, tweak the plan and move forward together. You will learn what works and what doesn’t; you will do it as a team; and you will progress beyond your starting point. That’s the idea here..

To find out more about creating a safer and more supportive team culture, read our blog post on Psychological Safety


OKRs in practice

You can find more practical examples of OKRs in some of our previous blog posts:

How to write OKRs (with examples)

OKRs vs. KPIs - what’s the difference?

What are OKRs - their meaning and tips for writing them

Frankly, the best way to get a feel for how OKRs work in practice is to try them out! You could read a million articles about OKRs and still be less than 100% sure about how they would apply to your own business. So, our advice is to try them for yourself.

You don’t want to commit to, and pay a lot of money for, something you don’t fully understand yet, and nor should you. 

At Just3Things, we provide a free, no obligation trial of our OKRs software. This gives teams the chance to test our OKRs software with no commitment to sign up. It’s the best way to get a hands on understanding of how OKRs really work.

It’s simple to get started; as easy as flipping a switch! At the end of the trial, if you’re not keen, you can walk away with no hard feelings! But if you like what you see and feel optimistic about the value our OKRs platform could deliver more long-term, we can get you fully up to speed on how to use the software to maximise its potential.

You’ll get all the training you need and benefit from fantastic customer support once you’re up and running. 

Eager for the next part?

In part 2 of The OKRs Owl series, we talk about How to start with OKRs, how "forcing function" can help with this, and why the best way to test out OKRs is to jump in feet first. Follow us on Linkedin to stay up to date on our latest news and be notified when the next blog post is ready to read!

Here are the other parts of the series:

  1. Practical examples of OKRs (that's this one!)
  2. How to get started with OKRs
  3. How to measure OKRs
  4. Goal-gradients and motivation

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