Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

In 1983 Andy Grove, Intel’s CEO at the time, published a simple yet powerful framework to help answer two important business questions: Where would you like to take the business in the future? And, how are you going to get there? This framework later became known as OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results.

Rooted in Peter Druckers’ MBOs (Management by Objectives), OKRs is a goal-setting framework that guides a team to focus on common goals and track measurable results. An Objective asks the question “what is to be achieved”? and Key Results are specific measures that “benchmark and monitor how we get to the objective”. The framework has been popularized by John Doerr’s book “Measure What Matters” in which he describes how companies such as Google have used OKRs to drive outstanding performance.

In a business simulation class, participants run their own company and define where the company is going and how they are going to get there. This experience provides a great practice environment for goal-setting framework like OKRs. In PriSim’s business simulation courses, participants utilize a framework similar to OKRs called MOST. MOST stands for Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics. The framework guides teams to view the business from a long-term perspective (Mission and Objectives), and a more detailed perspective (the Strategies and Tactics needed to achieve the Objectives).

In the end, it probably doesn’t matter if participants use MOST, MBOs, OKRs, or [fill in your favorite goal-setting framework]. What’s really important is that the framework chosen provides focus and tracks measurable results.

As Peter Drucker once said, “Without an action plan, the executive becomes a prisoner of events. And without check-ins to re-examine the plan as events unfold, the executive has no way of knowing which events really matter and which are only noise.”