Reaching your company’s vision means achieving the goals you set for yourself. The objectives are, indeed, like the steps of a staircase leading you to the realization of the vision of your company. Defining good and smart OKRs is, therefore, a major asset. However, OKR mistakes due to lack of information, jeopardize the goodwill you have to move your business forward.
Here is a list of 14 errors that we have grouped into three steps (before, during, and after the implementation of OKRs) that tell you what to avoid and what to do to correct any errors.
1st step: During the OKR development phase
The implementation of OKRs requires knowledge of their characteristics. Generally, errors that occur before they are implemented in a company are related to the lack of familiarity with the characteristics, the impatience or the structure that the OKRs must-have.
ERROR 1 < List too many goals
It’s not by listing a lot of goals that you make your business grow, but by actually reaching the ones you set for yourself.
Some beginner OKRs managers list a lot of goals because they think they can reach at least some of them if it’s impossible to reach all finally. But, in reality, they forget that this is not a raffle game where we have to make several attempts before falling on the good. The OKR methodology is specific. The less they are scattered in the objectives to be achieved, the better they can focus on the most important ones defined, and the more they can bring your company closer to its vision.
For a quarter, setting a maximum of four goals at each level of the business would be ideal. There is no point in choking with goals.
ERROR 2 < Set goals that are incomprehensible and imprecise
If you set up incomprehensible and inaccurate OKRs, your employees will not really be able to progress. How to achieve a goal that we do not understand and which is also imprecise? The commitment of your employees really depends on how you care about what you want them to do. They cannot be engaged if they do not really understand what to do. Do not miss this important advantage of the OKR methodology which is the commitment of your employees for an error as banal as it may seem but very disparaging.
Set clear goals that your employees will understand if possible at first reading and which will engage them to work hard to achieve them.
ERROR 3 < Set goals not ambitious
One of the specificities of the OKRs methodology is the ambitious nature of the Objectives. You have to aim high so that in the end you end up with a pretty glowing record. Setting goals that are too simple and easily achievable are not the principle and it is not at all what is recommended.
Set ambitious goals.
ERROR 4 < Set Unrealizable Goals
It’s true that you have to be ambitious and aim high, but that should not make you unrealistic. You cannot set unrealistic goals and hope to achieve them. On the other hand, Not being able to reach goals will create a total doubt and discomfort for you and a legitimate frustration for your employees.
For the one-quarter period, which is generally required for OKRs, it would be unworkable to want to be “the best in your entire country” when you are just starting your business; but it would be rather ambitious and achievable to want to be the best in your immediate environment.
Set goals that are achievable and concrete.
ERROR 5 < Define non-measurable key results
Not incorporating measurement into your Key Results would be one of the most serious mistakes in OKRs. Key Results must be scales for your goals. For this purpose, it is important for your key results to include numbers to help you achieve your goals. If you have to go from one place to another, the key results are like the number of kilometers you have to travel before reaching the crossroads leading to that other place from your starting point. In doing so, you know exactly the path to take, you feel more organized and closer to the goal.
Never forget to quantify your goals using Key Results.
ERROR 6 < Objectives not aligned with the company vision.
How to go upstairs without taking the stairs or the elevators. Indeed, the goals are the stairs leading you to your vision. It would be a mistake to define goals that do not fit your vision. Your goals must align with your vision. Alignment also implies that personal and team goals must be aligned with the company’s quarterly goals. This alignment of objectives is an asset for your entire company because instead of forking, you trace a single path that you can follow without fear that the concentration and commitment of your employees are doomed to work contrary to what goes towards accomplishing the vision of the company.
It is, therefore, necessary to align the objectives with the vision of the company for a better concentration of your agents.
ERROR 7 < Confuse OKRs with tasks
Goals are not tasks, Key Results are not either. To consider a task as an objective is a false track. You must be able to tell the difference between a goal, a KR, and a task. An objective is what you want to achieve, the key result is measurement but the task is what you do to achieve the key result and therefore the goal. If ” satisfying customers on your blog ” is the goal, the task would be to ‘’write good articles’’.
It’s time to understand and make a difference between the task and the goal. The goal is what one wants to have while the task is the activity to do to achieve that.
ERROR 8 < Set only top-down goals
Focusing on goal alignment can often lead you to always take goals from the top-down, OKRs always down. This is an error. You have to trust your employees, give them a margin of autonomy with regard to the OKRs. They know what would be good to make more money. By the way, Defining OKRs from the top can frustrate some and demotivate others. Thus, it is necessary to allow a few times that the OKRs are defined from the bottom, which would in no way hinder the concern for alignment.
Giving the grassroots opportunity to set goals while accompanying them in the process to ensure alignment will motivate them, make them creative. They will feel important in the process and will commit more.
ERROR 9 < Misallocation of resources needed to complete OKRs
Do not make the mistake of assigning goals to your employees without the resources to achieve them. Indeed, the realization of OKRs may require financial, material and human resources. In setting a goal, ask yourself if the necessary means are available to deal with the obstacles to achieving it. There is no point in defining objectives that are unfortunately good to forget for lack of resources.
Add the OKRs, the resources needed to achieve them to avoid frustration, disengagement from your employees who cannot perform the activities as it should without a real allocation.
2nd Step: During the OKR achievement phase
During the realization of OKRs, some errors can be noted. They relate to the monitoring and the public nature of the OKRs.
ERROR 10 < Keep hidden OKRs
One of the characteristics of the OKR methodology is its public character. It can be seen in some companies that OKRs are hidden throughout the organization. This is bad practice. Do not think that by hiding the OKRs, you allow your affected employees to be better focused. By doing so, you are preventing communication between your employees who could help each other to achieve these goals and therefore the vision of the company.
It is better to make the OKRs public through a dedicated application such as Happierco, to serve as an appropriate platform where everyone can have access to the OKRs and make their contribution to the building.
ERROR 11 < Do not follow progress every week
It is clear that after the establishment of the OKRs, some employees are waiting for the end of the quarter to summarize and see the level of success. To do so is to ignore the importance and attention of the OKRs methodology. OKRs require regular monitoring per week. If you program your OKRs for a quarterly period, then for 12 weeks in general, you must improve every week, follow your progress so well… so that in the tenth week, you will obtain a rate of 10% success per week, you reach a considerable level in achieving your goals.
The follow-up of your OKRs must, therefore, be done every week so that the forgetfulness does not settle down and that you reach a satisfactory level in the achievement of the objectives quarterly with a 10% success per week.
ERROR 12 <Do not appoint a person responsible for monitoring OKRs
Everyone’s duty is almost never realized because everyone thinks someone would do it but in the end, nobody does it. In terms of OKRs, it would be a mistake not to appoint a progress monitor. It is true that everyone should follow up, but it would be more efficient to appoint an official of the OKR by attributing it to the team. This allows knowing who has failed in their duty.
Appointing an OKR officer in each team is important because it makes the job more serious since it will have to get them to better reflect the regular follow-up they have to make, which leads to the long-term performance of their team.
3rd step: At the end of the OKRs methodology
The errors are at this level relating to the evaluation of the work done and to some decisions related thereto.
ERROR 13 < Determine compensation and performance of employees from OKRs
Some entrepreneurs and/or managers determine the remuneration and performance of employees based on the results obtained by the OKRs. In a way, it could be understood but in reality, it is a serious mistake to do so. In fact, you might think that by doing so, you will boost your employees’ motivation and performance, but the trap that lies before you is that you set goals quickly and easily to prove their performance. moreso, it may happen that certain obstacles beyond their control, such as a misallocation of the resources needed to implement the OKRs, force them to be unable to achieve them. So, if you determine their remuneration from the OKRs, you will create frustration and disengagement for your employees.
The determination of the remuneration and performance of your employees should not depend on the OKRs because such a decision would not benefit you in some cases.
ERROR 14: < Do not evaluate the completion of OKRs at the end of the period
It’s an error to begin another period without an evaluation of the last one. At the end of the period, you must evaluate your OKR in order to measure your accomplishment. You can know that by at least reaching meeting up with 60% and 70% of your goals. If you achieve less than that, it is not a sign of failure. Maybe your objectives were too high. In the same way, if you achieve 100% of your goals, they were not ambitious enough. Each level has the result of its OKR and analysis of how the rate has been achieved. If an objective has not been achieved, you can continue working on it in the next period, but only if it is still relevant.
If you achieve less than that, it is not a sign of failure. Maybe your objectives were too high. In the same way, if you achieve 100% of your goals, they were not ambitious enough. Each level has the result of its OKR and analysis of how the rate has been achieved. If an objective has not been achieved, you can continue working on it in the next period, but only if it is still relevant.
It’s important to learn from the past OKR data to improve the next. So, never forget to evaluate yourself in order to do more.
Note that these 14 errors do not constitute an exhaustive list of OKR mistakes because there are always errors that would typically depend on how you structure your organization or business, the lack of experience but with time and application, you could perform your OKRs with best practices and avoid errors as much as possible. Do not forget at all to celebrate your small or big wins. This will encourage your team to perform more next time.