Objectives and Key Results is a management framework designed to help organizations achieve breakthrough results by focusing on what matters most, driving engagement, and aligning employees from top to bottom. Championed by Google, the system is now benefiting thousands of organizations, large and small, around the world.
If you want to learn more about OKRs, beyond the click bait articles on the web, there are a number of books that should be on your reading list in order to deepen your understanding and increase your odds of a successful OKR implementation. Here are a few must reads:
Measure What Matters
Measure What Matters by John Doerr. Released in early 2018 this book has taken the business world by storm with its inspiring message of finding the right objectives to lead your business, and creating the key results that gauge your success. Doerr shares his personal experiences with OKR at Intel, then weaves his way to Google where he was an early investor. From there Doerr demonstrates how OKR has to help startups and high profile organizations alike, (look for quotes from Bono and Bill Gates). John Doerr is largely responsible for the surging popularity of OKRs in business today.
Objectives and Key Results
Objectives and Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment, and Engagement with OKRs by Paul R. Niven and Ben Lamorte. Full disclosure, as you can see from the names, I’m a co-author of this book. In this how-to text we guide the reader through every facet of an OKR implementation – all the way from crafting a mission for creating context, to creating high-quality OKRs that drive the organization toward its Big Vision. This is a book light on theory and heavy on practical implementation, providing tips, tools and disciplines for organizations looking to benefit from OKRs. If John Doerr made OKR popular, this book makes OKR accessible.
Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke. This fun and easy read uses the story of a fictional startup company to highlight the challenges and, ultimately, the benefits of OKRs. Wodtke has a deep knowledge of, and background in, OKR and uses the pages to share a number of important lessons that should form part of any successful OKR implementation.
As OKR continues to gain prominence in board rooms across the world, I anticipate you will see a number of new works on OKR in book stores and trade journals. In the meantime, if you’d like to burrow a bit deeper down the history of OKR and learn more about the man and organization credited with our modern use of the model, consider picking up “High Output Management” by Andy Grove.
Finally, if you’re interested in some history…some prescient history…dig into Peter Drucker’s 1954 classic, “The Practice of Management.” There you’ll learn about the system many consider to be the forerunner of OKR. Hint – it has the word ‘Objective’ in it…