How Rapid-growth Companies Like Google Set and Achieve Goals

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    How Rapid-growth Companies Like Google Set and Achieve Goals A step-by-step guide to increasing focus, clarity and growth for any Objective - Key Results

  • Ideas are important, but they are easy compared to execution. - John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

  • The combination of great execution, advances in technology anda strong sense of purpose has enabled companies and ideas to grow and spread at un-

    precedented rates.

    Here are a few examples of what has been achieved by some of todays fastest growing


    Dropboxs referral program increased its user-base by 3900% within 15 months

    Instagram acquired 2.2 million users with a growth-rate of 160,000 signups per week

    within their first 6 months

    Pinterest grew to 10.2 million users within its first 2 years

    If youve ever wondered how the people behind these companies orchestrate and

    achieve such incredible growth, we will walk you through a framework thats simple and

    easy-to-implement but highly effective and designed to maximise the efficiency and focus

    of any venture. (Its also a great way to manage personal goals and get results.)

    This guide is intended to help individuals and teams that are looking for a simple way to

    improve on their execution, create clarity and prioritization.

  • Originally developed at Intel in the 1970s, the system that helped propel Google from 40 to 40,000 employees is called OKR (an ac-

    ronym for Objectives-Key Results).

    Google have been successfully using OKR since 1999. Other organizations that have exhibited

    rapid growth have also been reaping great benefits from this system, organisations like Linkedin, Zyn-

    ga(the company behind Farmville and Facebooks most popular Poker Platform, Asana

    (which was founded by one of Facebooks core team members), Twitter, Dropbox, Oracle and

    many more.

    The objective of this step-by-step guide is to make you understand OKRs to the extent that

    you will easily be able to implement and benefit from OKRs within your own organisation.

    We will provide you with information on tools and further resources that you can use to get

    started with setting up your own OKRs right away.

    In the next section youll learn what sets exceptional companies apart from the rest of the pack

    and how a simple system like OKRs is helping complex organisations like Linkedin maintain

    focus and growth.

  • Game-Changing Goals

    The best organisations are started because their founders wanted to create something that makes

    peoples lives better in a meaningful way, they wanted to build something that has an impact.

    Tesla wants to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market

    electric cars to market as soon as possible

    Googles mission is to organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful

    SolarCitys mission is to help homeowners and businesses adopt clean power while saving on energy


    Steve Jobs mission was to make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that

    advance humankind.

    These aspirational goals are the drivers and motivators that attract the exceptional individuals that

    make these companies great.

  • Do These Business Problems Sound Familiar To You?

    Great enterprises marry a huge sense of purpose with amazing operational excellence,

    unfortunately its very easy to lose focus of whats really important in both start-ups and

    more mature enterprises.

    Startups often struggle to maintain clarity because of a lack of experience, a deficit of people and

    the vast variety of tasks that need to be accomplished.

    More developed businesses tend to have difficulties because its not easy to align the efforts of all

    their departments and teams towards the companys most important goals.

    OKRs allows for organisations of all sizes to maximise focus on both their most important

    aspirational and operational goals.

  • OKRs provide a framework that enables your company to comminicate the most important objectives to every member of the organization

    Every individual and team will know the following information:

    What matters most to the organisation

    Is the organisation on track towards achieving its goals

    How achieving his or her personal goals will contribute towards helping the organisation as a whole and how to identify these goals

    Whether he or she is on track towards achieving his or her own personal goals

    How every other team and individual is contributing towards the organisations goals

    The underlying idea of the framework is to keep everyone in the organisation focused on the 5

    things that matter most, not the 20-30 things.


    Setting Effective Objectives/Goals

    7 Questions That Will Help You Identify Your Most Important Objectives:

    The entire organisation, every group and every individual is given 2-5 main objectives that consist of 3-5 measurable key results. If you achieve slightly more than half of these key results you will have met your overall objective. If you achieve all your key results youre doing an exceptional job.

    One approach for working out the right objectives for your venture is to ask yourself the following questions:

    What problem is your organisation solving?

    How do you intend to solve this problem?

    What makes your solution better, what sets you apart from competitors or other solutions?

    What are the 3 - 7 vital activities that you will need to maintain on a regular basis to keep your business

    growing on a regular basis?

    How will you be attracting more resources (time, money, great employees) to your organisation?

    What resources(time, money, great employees) will you need to be using in order to solve the problem?

  • After considering these questions, itll be much easier for you to establish your ventures most im-

    portant operational and aspirational objectives.

    How To Set Goals That Will Beat Even Your Own Expectations

    We recommend that you set stretch objectives that are seemingly impossible to fully achieve, as

    achieving 65% of the impossible is waaay better than achieving 100% of the ordinary. Setting strech

    goals is more fun, challenging, motivating and will set you on a completely different path than the

    easily achievable route. Its also good to set goals for a 90 day period, as this creates a greater sense

    of urgency and will at the very least minimise procrastination.

    Linkedins Jeff Weiner set OKRs as something you want to accomplish over a specific period of time that leans toward

    a strech goal rather than a stated plan. Its something where you want to create greater urgency, greater mindshare

    You are sending a signal to the rest of the organization that this matters

    Lets get started by setting your ventures first objective. Keep in mind that this objective should have

    the following properties:

    It should be qualitative and inspirational, it should be exciting enough to get people out of bed in the

    morning without a lengthy battle with the snooze button.

    It should be time bound, either weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly (our experience has shown that

    90 day high-level OKRs work the best for us, we then break the 90 day goals into shorter-interval

    objectives (monthly and weekly)

    Now take action and write down your first objective.


    The Method To Achieving Seemingly Ridiculous Goals

    Now that youve set your first objective, we will need to set key results to will help you determine

    how close you are to achieving your goal. Key results also define what you have to accomplish in or-

    der to reach your objective.

    Heres an example that will make things clearer.

    Lets say your objective was to Become the leading online retailer in the electronics industry within

    the next year. You can determine your key results by asking yourself what are the n things that you

    would need to keep track of in order to ensure youre reaching your objective.

    These key results should have the following properties:

    They will need to be measurable and quantifiable

    Completing a key result will get you closer to achieving its parent objective and thus lead to

    objective grading

  • In our example of becoming the leading online retailer for electronics Key Results could look

    as follows:

    Objective: Become the leading online retailer in the electronics industry

    Key Results:

    Rank #1 for all Google queries related to purchasing electronics

    Build an online store with an intuitive UX that will allow buyers to make a purchase in under a minute

    Build an outstanding logistics system that will allow for the nationwide delivery of purchases within 48 hours

    Create an outstanding customer support system that will receive average ratings of 4.5 out 5 stars

    If you look at the key results above you can clearly see that they are all measurable. Ranking #1 on

    Google, a UX that allows users to purchase within 60 seconds, being able to deliver within 48 hours,

    getting a 4.5 star rating, are all results that can be easily measured. Completing each result will also

    vastly improve the likelihood of the organisation becoming the industry leader.

    Now write down a set of key results for the objective you wrote down in the previous section.

    You should now have a good understanding on how to set OKRs. In the next section we will show you

    how to apply OKRs at scale and how to best use them on an organisational level.


    OKRs at Scale - Taking Your Business To The Next Level

    Now that weve discussed how to set individual OKRs, well now show you how OKRs are even more

    helpful at an organisational level. This section will show you how to apply OKRs at scale in order to

    discipline thinking, focus effort and improve communication across organisations of all sizes.

    Lets revisit our OKR example from earlier and assume that the organisations most important objec-

    tive is to Become the leading online retailer in the electronics industry and assign this objective to

    the companys CEO.

    Our Key Results are as follows:

    Rank #1 for all Google queries related to purchasing electronics

    Build an online store with an intuitive UX that will allow buyers to make a purchase in under a minute

    Build an outstanding logistics system that will allow for the nationwide delivery of purchases within

    48 hours

    Create an outstanding customer support system that will receive average ratings of 4.5 out 5 stars

  • Organizational Key Results become Team Objectives

    The first key result Rank #1 for all Google queries related to purchasing electronics result now

    becomes the objective for the companys Online Marketing and SEO Teams.

    The second key result Build an online store with an intuitive UX that will allow buyers to make

    a purchase in under a minute result now becomes the objective for the companys

    UX Design & Development Teams.

    The third key result becomes the objective of the companys operations and logistics team and so on

  • And like we did in the previous chapter, each team or department will assign a new set of key results to their objectives:

  • The key results of the departments or teams then become the objectives of individuals or smaller teams who in turn assign new key results to these objectives:

  • In order for OKRs to work at an organisational level it is vital that every individual, team and

    company OKR is visible and accessible to everyone in the organisation.

    This ensures that everyone in the organisation is working towards the same result and promotes

    greater collaboration amongst individual employees, as employees can now contribute towards

    other peoples objectives and exchange favours because they can see what everyone is working on

    at any given point in time.

    When youre introducing OKRs within your organisation the following multi-step process could be


    Step 1) Ask individual employees to set atheir personal OKRs

    Step 2) Set a regular time for managers to review OKRs with their team members in 1 on 1 meetings.

    (We have found that weekly reviews have proven to work)

    Step 3) After practicing OKRs for 2 weeks gather your teams and departments and have them set their OKRs

    based on the companys most important aspirational and organisational objectives and provide every member

    of the organisation with access to view all the OKRs. These should then be regularly reviewed and assessed on a

    company or departmental level. (We do the departmental reviews on a fortnightly basis.)

    Great, you have completed the guide on OKRs, now all you need to do is implement what youve

    learnt! On the next page we will provide you with a like for tools that will allow you to apply what

    youve learnt immediately.

  • Some helpful links:

    Click here to access Cove, which is in our opinion on of the best tools for implementing OKRs (Price $5 per user per month with 30 day free trial - no credit card required)

    Click here to access Weekdone (Another OKR tool that is FREE for the first 3 users)

    Click here for a video presentation from Google Ventures to learn about OKRs in depth (Highly Recommended)