OKR vs. KPI: Why does your company need performant strategies for measuring productivity and results

How do successful companies accomplish their short and long-term goals? The answer stays in OKRs and KPIs! Pursuing the success of your company means that you have to understand how fundamental it is to measure performance. OKRs, for example, are essential in the business world, measuring  key results and objectives. Would you like to learn how to use these tools in order to take the success path for your company? Keep on reading!

Summary:

  1. KPI vs. OKR – What is the difference between OKR and KPI?
  2. KPI and OKR – Why you should choose OKR

 

KPI vs. OKR – What is the difference between OKR and KPI?

If you are an expert in performance marketing, you’re most likely already familiar with the terms OKR and KPI. If not, don’t worry, Mirro has all the answers that you need! These two strategies can look similar because their ultimate goal is to measure and establish short and long-term planning for the success of your company.

An easy way to understand the differences between OKRs and KPIs is to picture a simple scene from the day to day life: for example, you want to achieve some personal goals, such as spending time with your family or going on a trip, but cooking or grocery shopping takes so much of your time, that your objectives cannot be met; so, in order to fulfill your needs, you have to make a plan and be efficient with your time and life purposes. 

Each employer has set professional goals that they would like to achieve, and the opportunity to do so, from their position, is a fundamental element of satisfaction in this regard. Organizations benefit when team members have clear objectives, as this helps meet the overall goals of the company. Colleagues who can see a future in the company and feel supported in their professional efforts by the organization they work for are more likely to stay in the company and evolve with it. And for this, the OKR and KPI techniques are the best options.

What is the OKR technique? 

OKR is an acronym for Key Objectives and Results and is a popular management strategy when it comes to a company’s objectives. The technique was developed in the 1980s by Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel. OKR is a bold strategy that implies the understanding of the company’s goals through a set of specific and measurable actions for each team member of the organization. How does it work? It starts by setting a goal!

OKR has two basic elements to start with:

  • Objectives. In this stage, the objectives of the company are identified and implemented. Although the goals should be ambitious, they must also be smart and reachable. 
  • Results. The results must be quantifiable, achievable, even difficult, but not impossible to succeed. With their help, you can track the progress of the team and the staff and you can understand the obstacles, so your company can develop and improve.

 

What is a KPI? 

Once the objectives have been set, indicators are needed to measure progress. So, that’s what KPIs do – they show the status of the company’s goals. A good KPI is one that you know what to do when it changes. Typically, a KPI is expressed in percentages or averages and has to answer the question “Why?”. Therefore, KPIs start with setting goals – so the objectives (OKRs) are being translated into indicators (KPIs). 

In short, a KPI must be essential, actionable, and divisible, in many cases being a temporary strategy. 

 

Can OKR and KPI work together? 

Of course, KPIs and OKRs can work well together! For example, if KPI results show that sales are dropping, the company may implement a bold OKR based on the key results of an existing KPI. This combination can help the company stay focused on improving the marketing strategies, profits, or any other aspect that can help it develop and be successful.

 

2. KPI and OKR – Why you should choose OKR

The OKR methodology was adopted by Google in 1999 and has proven to be fundamental in the success of this company. To date, every level and every department of the company continues to use OKR, which seems to have a major impact on the fact that Google is one of the top companies. 


The OKR methodology promoted by Mirro provides objectives that are set at a company level and aligned with both individual and team goals. When each team member has a clear understanding of their own purpose and how they can help others achieve their objectives, group projects can function more effectively.

So, here are the reasons why OKRs are the best choice for you company:

  • Short-term objectives. One of the most important features of OKR that separates it from other goal setting methodologies, such as MBO (Management By Objectives) is the duration for which goals are set. OKR recommends that targets be set monthly or quarterly, depending on the company’s current needs. Therefore, team members will be more productive and can also bring visible results more often.
  • Focusing on constant improvement. Managers and team members review OKR results on a weekly basis to track progress and also identify the difficulties that may prevent goal achievement. This routine helps to keep everyone’s attention on the main objectives, as well as ensuring that they can get help whenever they need it. The OKR methodology also recommends setting ambitious targets – if the goals seem too easy, then they are probably requiring adjustment and a much more ambitious performance management plan.
  • Adaptability. OKRs are designed to help individuals and teams contribute to the company’s vision, but there are some situations in which one or more objectives no longer correspond to the company’s short-term goals. In such cases, the OKRs may be modified or removed with new ones that are more appropriate to the current situation. As it is the case of every ambitious project, not all conditions remain constant. Some tasks that may seem important at first are no longer needed due to a change of perspective. Here at Mirro we have the flexibility to change the tasks at any time and add new ones when needed, at any stage of the project, thus saving valuable time.

OKRs and KPIs together can work very well. However, since OKRs describe a bold, long-term goal, KPIs are influenced by these metrics. Therefore, if you want to have a successful business, you should put the spotlight on the OKR – it focuses on constant improvement, so they can be flexible and achievable. For more details, see the subscription plans offered by Mirro!

 

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Keep Teams Connected and Aligned – Adopt OKRs to Enhance Performance

We created the Objectives feature in Mirro after the Key Results framework, believed to be the winning approach to keeping teams connected and aligned towards the same results. OKRs are a great way to improve team cohesion and boost individual motivation, and in a few clicks, you will master them too.

A Deep-Dive into the OKR Framework

It’s quite possible that some of you are here because of the buzz created around OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, currently featured in numerous modern team performance tools. However, are OKRs enough to ensure usability? Perhaps. Is it also enough to ensure growth solely based on the successful use of OKRs? Read on and let’s reach that conclusion together.

John Doerr is recognized as the main figure behind this goal-setting approach, and his book –  “Measure What Matters  – can certainly be held responsible for all the companies deciding to experiment with OKRs themselves.

Since we fully support these initiatives to the best of our abilities we have also  implemented OKRs in the Mirro platform so that other companies can easily adopt them as well.

But first things first Let’s start by breaking down the two main ideas behind OKRs:

OBJECTIVES are:

  • Significant – this aspect is what separates an objective from a task – it will show you where you want to go. If your objective is to merely cross the street, you’ll surely get no further.
  • Action-oriented  – groups or individuals can align with an objective and ideate the means to conquer the feat, the timing, and the specific milestones that pave the road ahead.
  • Inspiring – objectives should represent the directions that the company should always follow, the zenith if you will. Therefore, they should speak to each and every one of your people in order for them to join you on this

Objectives are the WHAT of our purpose. They bring people together and call for action. A “What” is measured in “achieved” or “not achieved”, nothing else really matters. Don’t focus on metrics just yet.

KEY RESULTS are:

  • Specific – the right people for the job will always know if these are up to them, and, subsequently, how they can contribute.
  • Time-bound – key results ensure a certain rhythm and remind people of the bigger picture.
  • Realistic but aggressive – again, an OKR is not a task. A key result should be reachable, but the feeling of achieving it shouldn’t compare to a minor day-to-day accomplishment
  • Measurable – numbers, percentages, growth factors, pin them down here – they belong in key results.

The Key Results show HOW I’m going to get my WHAT done.

As Steve Jobs once (or twice) said, ‘one more  …

Here they are, easily explained. OKRs, made simple and clear.

So, are you now ready to get to work and implement your OKRs to start experimenting with different setups, and reach stretch goals in no-time? Ready to fire up your shiny brand – new OKR tool and rock-and-roll?

PLEASE DON’T, not yet! To spare you of an upcoming year of still-unachieved goals and of then ditching a potentially beneficial framework, read on for another couple of minutes.

We got to this point forgetting what might be the most important question thus far: WHY are we doing it?

Before you roll up your sleeves, ask yourself this: what’s your mission, what are your company values? Who and what do you stand for?

The goal is to think OKRs – not only to set and follow – think, feel, and live OKRs.

People adhere to inspiring goals when they live in that reality – don’t break OKRs from culture, from your values, don’t treat them as a standalone initiative.

Associate recognition with completed OKRs – remember that Mirro also links recognition to company values, and goes full circle, so apply that in your day-to-day business as well. Make success as visible and transparent as possible and let it inspire, all by using OKRs.

Setting OKRs top down or bottom, in 3s-or-4s-or-no-more-but-no-less-than(s) is, again, not the case.

Let’s think about  Agile and the different frameworks that fit the mindset. It’s the same with OKRs – they’re also a mindset and they’re better off in a company that sets them true in accordance with its values.

Moreover, they’re a mindset to take home with you and implement even in your private life, while staying true to your very own values.

To conclude, here’s Mirro’s WHY in terms of OKRs: making people perceive their work from a different perspective. One of cohesion. That has always been our WHY.

Setting OKRs top down or bottom, in 3s-or-4s-or-no-more-but-no-less-than(s) is, again, not the talk.

We referred to Agile and different frameworks that fit the mindset. It’s the same with OKRs – they’re a mindset and they’re better off in a company that sets them true to its values. 

They’re a mindset to take home with you and implement in your private life and true to your values. 

Here’s Mirro’s WHY in terms of OKRs: Making people perceive their work from a different perspective. One of cohesion. It’s always been our WHY.