Table of Contents
Venture capitalist John Doerr unveils the impact of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), revealing how it fueled the growth of tech giants like Intel and Google. In 1999, Doerr invested $12.5 million in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s startup, emphasizing the need for tough decision-making and timely data. Originating from Doerr’s Intel days, OKRs define objectives and specific actions for measurable results. Transparent at all levels, this goal-setting system directs effort, fosters coordination, and enhances workplace satisfaction. In “Measure What Matters,” Doerr presents case studies with narrators like Bono and Bill Gates, guiding a new generation of leaders to harness OKRs’ transformative power.
What is “Measure What Matters”?
“Measure What Matters” is a book written by John Doerr, a venture capitalist and former Intel executive. The book was published in 2017 and focuses on the concept of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a goal-setting framework that Doerr popularized. OKRs are a system for setting, communicating, and tracking goals within organizations, and they are designed to help companies and individuals focus on what really matters.
In the book John Doerr explains the history and development of OKRs, drawing on his experiences working with companies like Google and Intel. He discusses how OKRs have been instrumental in the success of these companies and provides practical guidance on how to implement them effectively.
The book outlines the basic principles of OKRs, which involve setting ambitious but achievable objectives and key results that are measurable and time-bound. The OKR framework encourages transparency, alignment, and accountability within organizations, making it easier for teams to work towards common goals.
John Doerr also shares numerous real-world examples of how OKRs have been used in different organizations and industries, highlighting the impact they can have on performance and innovation.
“Measure What Matters” is a valuable resource for business leaders, managers, and individuals looking to improve goal-setting and performance measurement within their organizations or personal lives. It provides insights into how OKRs can drive focus, agility, and results in a wide range of settings.
Why OKRs are so cool!
What exactly is an OKR?
OKRs transform missions into achievable milestones. It’s a succinct way to capture the essence of what we aim to achieve with OKRs. Whether you’re pursuing a grand vision you’re passionate about or one handed down by your CEO or leadership team, saying you’re going to “eradicate poverty” or “create the world’s best mattresses” is insufficient in addressing the pressing question: “What are the next steps?”
Before we dive into crafting our own OKRs, let’s ensure we have a solid grasp of the definitions.
To clarify, OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results.
Objectives (the “What”):
An Objective represents what you intend to accomplish. It outlines your goal that aligns with your mission and specifies a deadline for its achievement. While we have developed some criteria over time to refine Objectives, for now, consider them as the top-priority tasks your team must complete within the next 30-90 days. Objectives serve as constant reference points and rallying calls for your team.
Key Results (the “How”):
Understanding how to make progress toward your Objectives is crucial. Objectives need to be accompanied by a roadmap that guides you in determining whether you’re making headway in reaching your goals.
To put it simply, think of Key Results as measurable milestones that track your advancement toward your Objectives. Typically, you’ll have 3-5 Key Results for each Objective.
What makes a good OKR?
OKRs represent your highest priorities for the upcoming 30-90 days. More importantly, they signify meaningful change, improvement, and growth. Therefore, they may often appear to demand exceptional, above-and-beyond performance. And that’s precisely the goal!
When we talk about OKRs, we’re aiming for remarkable achievements. These include:
- Propelling disruptive innovations.
- Establishing a competitive edge over rivals.
- Earning recognition as an industry leader within your category.
If, upon evaluation, your OKRs seem to merely describe incremental changes or easily achievable goals, it may be time to think more ambitiously. Furthermore, OKRs must provide clear guidance on what to do next. It should be evident whether you and your team are meeting the success criteria.
Part 1: OKRs in Action
Chapter 1: Google, Meet OKRs
In Chapter 1 of Measure What Matters John Doerr introduces the concept of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) at Google and their transformative impact. It narrates how OKRs were introduced to Google and their subsequent influence on the company’s culture and success.
- Introduction to OKRs as a goal-setting framework that enhances focus, transparency, and accountability.
- The importance of setting clear, measurable objectives and key results.
- The role of OKRs in aligning the workforce and fostering a culture of goal achievement.
- Google’s adoption of OKRs and the impact on the company’s rapid growth.
- The commitment of top-level executives like Larry Page and Sergey Brin to OKRs.
- The transparency and accountability brought by OKRs to Google’s goal-setting process.
Chapter 2: The Father of OKRs
This chapter of Measure What Matters delves into the history of OKRs, attributing their origins to Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel. It explores Grove’s contributions to the development of the OKR methodology and his influence on organizations that embraced it.
- Andy Grove’s significant role as the “Father of OKRs.”
- The principles of setting clear objectives and measurable key results, emphasizing “intellectual honesty.”
- The adaptability of OKRs to different organizations and industries.
- Andy Grove’s contributions to Intel and the successful implementation of OKRs at the company.
- The “intellectual honesty” principle and how it fosters transparency and accountability in goal-setting.
- The legacy of Grove’s influence on the OKR methodology.
Chapter 3: Operation Crush: An Intel Story
Chapter 3 of of Measure What Matters provides a detailed case study of Intel’s strategic use of OKRs during the microprocessor wars. It illustrates how OKRs contributed to Intel’s strategic focus, competitiveness, and victory over competitors.
- Intel’s use of OKRs as a key factor in surpassing competitors like Motorola.
- OKRs’ role in strategic alignment and effective goal prioritization.
- The sense of ownership, accountability, and flexibility that OKRs bring to an organization.
- Intel’s successful utilization of OKRs to gain a competitive edge during the microprocessor wars.
- The adaptability of OKRs in addressing the ever-changing landscape of the tech industry.
- The role of regular OKR check-ins in monitoring progress and ensuring goal achievement.
Chapter 4: Superpower #1: Focus and Commit to Priorities
This chapter of of Measure What Matters introduces the first superpower of OKRs, which is the ability to focus on critical objectives and commit to their achievement. It emphasizes the importance of clarity and dedication in goal-setting.
- The role of OKRs in selecting and dedicating resources to high-priority goals.
- The commitment required to achieve objectives effectively.
- Striking a balance between setting ambitious yet attainable goals.
- The concept of focus and commitment demonstrated through the use of OKRs in various organizations.
- The practical impact of OKRs in prioritizing and allocating resources effectively.
- The success of companies that have used OKRs to align their workforce and achieve strategic objectives.
Chapter 5: Focus: The Remind Story
In this chapter of Measure What Matters John Doerr presents the case of Remind, a company that overcame challenges related to focus and execution using the OKR framework to improve performance and achieve its objectives.
- The application of OKRs to address issues related to focus and execution.
- The role of OKRs in prioritizing and directing resources effectively.
- The importance of clear, measurable key results in tracking progress and maintaining alignment.
Examples Listed in the Chapter:
- The Remind Story as an illustration of how OKRs were used to enhance focus and execution.
- Real-world examples of companies that have successfully overcome challenges through the application of OKRs.
- The practical benefits of OKRs in improving goal-setting and performance within organizations.
Chapter 6: Commit: The Nuna Story
In Chapter 6 of Measure What Matters John Doerr focuses on Nuna, a company in the healthcare sector, and how personal commitment to OKRs played a pivotal role in transforming the healthcare industry.
- The impact of personal commitment to OKRs in driving transformative change in a specific industry.
- The role of OKRs in providing a structured framework for setting ambitious objectives.
- The cultivation of a culture of accountability and dedication through OKRs.
- The Nuna Story as a practical example of how personal commitment and OKRs can drive change in the healthcare sector.
- The adaptability of OKRs to diverse industries and their potential to foster positive change.
- The significance of OKRs in aligning an organization’s workforce and mission for collective success.
Chapter 7: Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork
This chapter of of Measure What Matters introduces the second superpower of OKRs, which is the ability to align teams and promote collaboration through public and transparent OKRs. It explores the challenges and rewards of fostering alignment and teamwork within organizations.
- The role of OKRs in aligning teams by providing a shared focus on common objectives.
- The impact of public and transparent OKRs on creating a culture of openness, collaboration, and alignment.
- The challenges and rewards associated with aligning diverse teams within an organization.
- Real-world examples of companies that have harnessed the power of alignment and teamwork through OKRs.
- The benefits of open and transparent communication in fostering collaboration and alignment.
- How OKRs can help resolve conflicts and ensure that individual goals support the broader organizational mission.
Chapter 8: Align: The MyFitnessPal Story
In this chapter of of Measure What Matters John Doerr provides a case study of MyFitnessPal, demonstrating the complexities and rewards of aligning teams and individuals using the OKR framework. It highlights the challenges and successes encountered by the company in its journey to align teams effectively.
- The complexities of aligning diverse teams and individuals within an organization through OKRs.
- The importance of clear communication and buy-in from team members to ensure alignment.
- The role of alignment in fostering a culture of collaboration where teams work together to achieve common objectives.
- The MyFitnessPal Story as an example of the challenges and rewards of aligning teams and individuals through OKRs.
- The practical application of OKRs in addressing specific organizational issues and driving success.
- How aligning teams can lead to enhanced collaboration, efficient resource allocation, and the achievement of common goals.
Chapter 9: Connect: The Intuit Story
This chapter of Measure What Matters delves into the Intuit Story, showing how OKR transparency fortified the open culture of a software pioneer and promoted connections among employees. It explores the role of OKRs in enhancing communication and fostering connections within the organization.
- The impact of OKR transparency on reinforcing an organization’s open culture, promoting communication, and building trust.
- The importance of openly shared OKRs in helping employees understand their contributions to the company’s overall objectives.
- How OKRs encourage employees to support each other’s efforts and promote collaboration.
- The practical application of OKR transparency in enhancing organizational culture and creating a sense of connection among employees.
- The benefits of fostering open communication and trust through the use of OKRs.
- How OKRs can reinforce an organization’s culture and promote collaboration, innovation, and teamwork.
Chapter 10: Superpower #3: Track for Accountability
This chapter explores the third superpower of OKRs, which is the ability to monitor progress and hold individuals and teams accountable for their objectives. It emphasizes the role of OKRs in fostering a culture of accountability and responsibility within organizations.
- The use of OKRs as a system for tracking progress and ensuring active pursuit of goals.
- The importance of regular tracking in holding individuals and teams accountable for their objectives.
- How OKRs help organizations identify areas where performance falls short and enable course correction.
- The concept of accountability and responsibility fostered by OKRs, as demonstrated in real-world case studies.
- How regular tracking through OKRs allows organizations to make data-driven decisions and adapt to changing circumstances.
- The practical benefits of using OKRs to monitor progress, make improvements, and drive goal achievement.
Chapter 11: Track: The Gates Foundation Story
This chapter of of Measure What Matters presents a case study of the Gates Foundation and its use of OKRs to address global health challenges and fight devastating diseases. It illustrates the practical applications of OKRs in addressing significant global issues and achieving ambitious goals.
- The Gates Foundation’s leverage of OKRs to address global challenges and diseases, highlighting the adaptability of OKRs.
- The role of accountability and regular progress monitoring in OKRs for effective resource allocation.
- How OKRs can be used to track and achieve ambitious, world-changing objectives.
Examples Listed in the Chapter:
- The Gates Foundation’s use of OKRs to address global health challenges and diseases, making a significant global impact.
- The adaptability of OKRs to address critical global issues and their potential to drive positive change.
- The practical application of OKRs in making data-driven decisions and responding to ever-evolving global circumstances.
Chapter 12: Superpower #4: Stretch for Amazing
In chapter 12 of of Measure What Matters, John Doerr explores the fourth superpower of OKRs, which is the ability to empower individuals and organizations to set and achieve seemingly impossible goals. It highlights the role of OKRs in driving innovation and breakthrough achievements through the concept of “stretch goals.”
- The power of OKRs in encouraging individuals and organizations to set audacious, seemingly unattainable objectives.
- The concept of “stretch goals” and their potential to lead to transformative outcomes and breakthrough innovations.
- How OKRs promote a culture of continuous improvement and innovation within organizations.
- Real-world examples of organizations and leaders using OKRs to set and achieve audacious, market-defining goals.
- The practical impact of stretch goals in driving teams to think creatively and develop innovative solutions.
- How OKRs inspire organizations to set bold and ambitious objectives, encouraging teams to strive for excellence.
Chapter 13: Stretch: The Google Chrome Story
In chapter 13 of of Measure What Matters , John Doerr presents a case study of how Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, used OKRs to build and expand Google Chrome into the world’s leading web browser. It illustrates the practical applications of OKRs in achieving market leadership and innovation.
- The value of OKRs as a tool for setting and achieving stretch goals that drive innovation and market dominance.
- The role of visionary leadership, exemplified by Sundar Pichai, in leveraging OKRs for extraordinary success.
- How stretch goals can lead to remarkable achievements, even in highly competitive industries.
- The Google Chrome Story as an example of how OKRs were used to achieve market leadership and innovation.
- The practical application of OKRs in motivating and aligning teams to achieve ambitious milestones.
- The importance of setting bold objectives that inspire teams to strive for excellence and drive innovation.
Chapter 14: Stretch: The YouTube Story
This chapter of of Measure What Matters explores the YouTube Story, focusing on how CEO Susan Wojcicki set an audacious billion-hour goal using OKRs. John Doerr demonstrates the practical application of OKRs in driving a company’s audacious vision.
- The use of OKRs to set and achieve audacious, market-defining goals, exemplified in the YouTube Story.
- The role of visionary leadership, demonstrated by Susan Wojcicki, in leveraging OKRs for extraordinary success.
- How stretch goals motivate and align teams to achieve ambitious milestones.
- The YouTube Story as a practical example of setting audacious objectives through OKRs and achieving remarkable results.
- The application of OKRs to inspire teams to strive for excellence and drive innovation in highly competitive industries.
- The significance of bold goal-setting and the transformative potential of stretch goals in organizations.
Part 2: The New World of Work
Chapter 15: Continuous Performance Management: OKRs and CFRs
In this chapter of of Measure What Matters, John Doerr explores the concept of Continuous Performance Management and its integration with OKRs. It emphasizes how regular conversations, feedback, and recognition are essential to achieving excellence in organizations.
- The shift from traditional annual performance reviews to Continuous Performance Management.
- The importance of combining OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) with CFRs (Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition) for holistic performance improvement.
- How ongoing discussions and feedback support employee growth and align with organizational goals.
- The adoption of Continuous Performance Management at Adobe, which combines regular feedback and OKRs to enhance performance.
- How the integration of CFRs with OKRs has helped organizations create a more engaged and motivated workforce.
- The benefits of transitioning from annual reviews to a dynamic and feedback-driven approach.
Chapter 16: Ditching Annual Performance Reviews: The Adobe Story
In this chapter of of Measure What Matters John Doerr delves into Adobe’s approach to performance management, emphasizing the move away from traditional annual performance reviews. It showcases how Adobe’s commitment to ongoing feedback and discussions aligns with its core values.
- Adobe’s decision to eliminate annual performance reviews and replace them with Continuous Performance Management.
- The role of regular feedback, conversations, and recognition in nurturing a culture of continuous improvement and alignment with organizational values.
- The benefits of a performance management approach that prioritizes real-time interactions and engagement.
Examples Listed in the Chapter:
- Adobe’s successful transition to Continuous Performance Management and its positive impact on employee performance and engagement.
- The practical applications of regular feedback and discussions to drive excellence within the organization.
- How organizations can align performance management with their core values for greater success.
Chapter 17: Baking Better Every Day: The Zume Pizza Story
In Chapter 17 of of Measure What Matters, John Doerr explores the story of Zume Pizza, a robotics pioneer, and its use of OKRs to foster teamwork, leadership, and the pursuit of the perfect pizza. It illustrates how OKRs can drive continuous improvement and innovation within a company.
- Zume Pizza’s commitment to using OKRs for team alignment, leadership development, and product innovation.
- The role of OKRs in fostering a culture of continuous improvement and customer-centric innovation.
- How setting clear objectives and key results can lead to tangible improvements in product quality.
- The Zume Pizza Story as a practical example of how OKRs can drive teamwork, leadership, and product excellence.
- The use of OKRs to create a culture of ongoing improvement and innovation, resulting in a superior product.
- How OKRs can be used to align teams and improve processes in a variety of industries.
Chapter 18: Culture
In this chapter of of Measure What Matters John Doerr discusses the role of OKRs in catalyzing and nourishing organizational culture. It highlights how OKRs can influence and reinforce culture, aligning it with the company’s mission and values.
- The connection between OKRs and organizational culture, with OKRs serving as catalysts for cultural change.
- The significance of CFRs (Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition) in nurturing and sustaining culture.
- How culture can be a powerful force in driving organizational success and aligning teams.
- How OKRs can be used to reinforce and reshape an organization’s culture, as demonstrated by the Lumeris Story.
- The role of CFRs in sustaining culture and aligning it with an organization’s core values.
- The practical benefits of using OKRs to drive cultural change and improve employee engagement.
Chapter 19: Culture Change: The Lumeris Story
This chapter of of Measure What Matters explores the story of Lumeris, an organization that underwent culture change using OKRs. John Doerr illustrates how OKRs can help overcome resistance to change and align teams with a new cultural vision.
- The challenges of introducing cultural change in an organization and overcoming resistance.
- The role of OKRs in driving cultural transformation and aligning teams with new values and priorities.
- The importance of communication, transparency, and leadership in successfully changing organizational culture.
- The Lumeris Story as an example of how OKRs can be instrumental in reshaping an organization’s culture.
- The practical applications of OKRs in addressing cultural challenges and improving employee engagement.
- How OKRs can help organizations navigate cultural change and achieve alignment with their mission.
Chapter 20: Culture Change: Bono’s ONE Campaign Story
In this chapter of of Measure What Matters John Doerr delves into how the ONE Campaign, led by Bono, used OKRs to drive cultural change and align its teams in the pursuit of a shared mission: saving lives in Africa.
- The use of OKRs to align teams and drive cultural change in a high-profile nonprofit organization.
- The role of OKRs in uniting teams with a shared mission and instilling a sense of purpose.
- How OKRs can be leveraged to create an organizational culture that emphasizes impact and social responsibility.
- The Bono’s ONE Campaign Story as a real-world example of how OKRs can drive cultural change and inspire teams to make a positive impact.
- The practical benefits of using OKRs to align a nonprofit organization with its mission of saving lives in Africa.
- How OKRs can instill a sense of purpose and commitment to a shared cause within an organization.
Chapter 21: The Goals to Come
This chapter serves as a conclusion to Part 2 of the book and discusses the future of OKRs and their continued relevance in the ever-evolving world of work.
- The evolving landscape of work and the enduring importance of OKRs in driving performance and innovation.
- The need for ongoing adaptation and improvement in goal-setting and performance management practices.
- The role of OKRs in guiding organizations toward future success and growth.
- This chapter of of Measure What Matters provides reflections on the book’s content and the continued relevance of OKRs in contemporary work environments.
- It offers insights into the future potential of OKRs and their ability to adapt to changing business dynamics.
- The chapter encourages organizations to embrace OKRs as a valuable tool for navigating the challenges and opportunities of the future.
- “Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results” by Christina Wodtke – This book provides a practical guide to implementing OKRs, helping readers understand the methodology and apply it effectively in their organizations.
- “High Output Management” by Andrew S. Grove – Written by one of the pioneers of OKRs, this book offers valuable insights into management practices, goal-setting, and leadership.
- “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries – While not specifically about OKRs, this book discusses principles related to continuous improvement, innovation, and efficient goal-setting.
- “Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters” by Richard P. Rumelt – This book delves into the importance of crafting effective strategies, which is closely tied to the principles of clear goal-setting and key results.
- “The Four Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals” by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Stephen R. Covey – This book focuses on a goal-setting methodology that emphasizes a narrow focus on a few “wildly important” objectives.
- “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan – This book explores the importance of execution and achieving results in organizations, providing valuable insights into effective goal management.
- “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth – While not directly about goal-setting, this book delves into the importance of perseverance and determination in achieving long-term objectives.
- “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg – This book covers various aspects of productivity, including goal-setting, and offers practical strategies for achieving better results.