Infographic: 10 common OKR mistakes and how to avoid them

Table of contents

As you set Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to guide your efforts, sidestep pitfalls that can derail progress. This guide outlines actionable steps to optimise OKRs and unlock your potential (we’ve also included an infographic, which you can download and share). With insight into what helps and hinders goal achievement, you can navigate more effectively toward accomplishing your most important priorities.

1. Vague objectives:

Clearly articulate the purpose and expected outcomes of each objective to eliminate confusion and misinterpretation. Your objectives should be easy to understand by anyone in your organisation. Use straightforward language that leaves no room for ambiguity, fostering a shared understanding among team members.

2. Neglecting alignment:

Align team-level objectives with organisational goals to create a unified and cohesive strategy. Conduct periodic reviews to ensure that individual and team objectives contribute to broader organisational success. Foster an environment where teams can openly communicate how their work aligns with overarching objectives.

3. Overcomplicating metrics:

Select metrics that directly measure progress toward the objective without introducing unnecessary complexity. Prioritise simplicity in metric selection to facilitate easy tracking and understanding. Establish a consistent method for measuring metrics to avoid confusion and ensure accurate assessment of progress.

4. Ignoring regular check-ins:

Implement regular check-ins, such as weekly or bi-weekly meetings, to discuss progress, challenges, and adjustments needed. Allow for flexibility in the OKR process, making adjustments as needed based on feedback and changing circumstances. Encourage ongoing communication and feedback to address issues promptly and keep the team on track.

5. Setting unrealistic goals:

Encourage ambitious goals that challenge the team while ensuring they remain within the realm of feasibility. Use historical data and industry benchmarks to set realistic expectations and avoid setting unattainable goals. Adjust goals based on feedback and performance, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

6. Lack of transparency:

Establish channels for transparent sharing of progress, challenges, and achievements. Use collaborative tools and platforms to provide real-time visibility into OKR progress across teams. Create a culture where team members feel comfortable reporting successes and setbacks to promote transparency.

7. Static OKRs:

Periodically review and update OKRs to align with changes in business priorities, market conditions, or internal dynamics. Embrace an agile approach, allowing for adaptation and evolution of objectives as circumstances change. Encourage teams to reflect on OKR outcomes and suggest adjustments for future cycles.

8. Siloed teams:

Facilitate collaboration between departments and teams to ensure a holistic approach to achieving organisational objectives. Encourage the creation of inter-departmental objectives to break down silos and foster a sense of collective responsibility. Establish communication channels that promote the sharing of information and resources across different teams.

9. Not sharing ownership:

Involve employees in the OKR-setting process to harness their insights, expertise, and commitment. Foster a sense of ownership by allowing employees to contribute to goal-setting, creating a more engaged and motivated workforce. Encourage ongoing feedback from employees regarding the relevance and achievability of objectives.

10. Failing to celebrate wins:

Acknowledge and celebrate achievements, both big and small, to boost morale and motivation. Reinforce the connection between individual and team accomplishments and the overall success of the organisation. Use celebrations as opportunities to recognise hard work, dedication, and the positive impact on organisational objectives.

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10 common OKR mistakes and how to avoid them

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Jeremy Yancey

Head of Content, Tability

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