How To Build A Robust OKR System For Your SMB Or Startup

Organizations set lofty goals and targets for their employees, departments, and the entire corporation to accomplish every year. These goals are often not met, however, because of inefficient processes. It’s time to look at your goal-setting process and see where you can make adjustments when things don’t go as planned. An organization’s failure rate rises when everyone on the team isn’t heading in the same direction, and no clear priorities are established.

OKR System For Your SMB Or Startup

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By an OKR management approach, the world’s most successful enterprises have avoided traps and tracked the development of measurable goals. This method simplifies the tracking of goals by breaking them into smaller focus areas.

The output and overall success of companies with and without an OKR management strategy are vastly different. SMBs or startups that utilizes OKR are found to be:

1. Are more able to perform their duties.

2. Become more productive at the office.

3. Contribute to the growth of the company.

How are OKRs useful for SMBs?

Google, Netflix, and Adobe have been using OKRs for a long time now. Okr management serve as a tool for tracking progress and improving alignment between the corporate vision and its workforce. The use of OKRs in SMEs may be an effective means of enhancing business performance at all levels. Using OKR management can help your startup or small business achieve greater success. Here are a few grounds for your consideration:

a. They motivate

The importance of aligning an employee’s job to the department’s and the company’s goals cannot be overstated. When everyone in the company is aware of and committed to the company’s goals, it fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie.

The daily actions of employees are in line with the vision of the firm, and as a result, employees are more focused on what is important to the organization. Nearly two-thirds of companies with high levels of employee alignment rank among the top quartile in financial performance.

b. Facilitates clarity and strong communication

A key component of any successful OKR management approach is the alignment of objectives across the company. It is possible to communicate from the bottom up and from the top down when a clear strategy is in place. One of the primary issues that small firms have as they expand is keeping lines of communication open and fast when only a few people are involved.

c. Hasten growth

OKR tools that have been thoughtfully crafted can spur a team to greater heights of performance than they had previously imagined. As an effective tool for optimizing current procedures and accelerating business expansion, OKRs can help you achieve your goals.

When setting “moonshot” or “strategic goals,” Google has made the concept well known. Setting challenging objectives isn’t only about pushing your team to their limits; in fact, most experts think that achieving 70% of a moonshot OKR is the best degree of achievement. The purpose of objectives is to inspire and be aspirational; therefore, setting stretch goals can be beneficial, especially in smaller firms and startups. 

Setting ambitious OKRs with a 70% success rate can be more effective than setting mediocre ones with a 100% success rate (although “roof shot” targets that are less aggressive can still be part of an OKR management plan aimed towards growth).

d. Anticipate future concerns

Chains of command and decision-making quickly become more complicated when organizations grow and hire additional team members. Putting processes in place early on can help you avoid the “growing pains” that plague so many companies. This will prevent you from scrambling to pull together solutions on the fly when your company expands rapidly.

Making OKRs a success for SMBs

OKRs aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution for any business, regardless of its size. There must be a systematic approach taken in order for OKR management to be effective in your SMBs and startups. This includes creating a plan, seeing it through, and making sure that everyone is on board.

a. Communicate the plan

As a first step in implementing OKRs, make sure that everyone on your team understands what they are, why they are necessary, and what their responsibilities will be. Focus on how OKR software will help both the organization and its employees.

It’s best if you have a written game plan for your team to follow. The following items should be included:

1. A schedule for putting together OKRs.

At the start of the financial quarter, many companies set OKRs, while others choose to work on half-yearly cadences.

2. “OKR flow-chart” for your company

This calls for both vertical and horizontal alignment of OKRs.

3. A step-by-step guide on how to write effective OKRs.

Key Results should be quantifiable, whereas Objectives should be lofty and qualitative.

b. Devote attention to the process

This is more difficult than it appears. As a guide, consider the following suggestions:

1. Identify a single person who will be responsible for the OKR management program. There is no limit to the number of people who can serve as an OKR Champion. A key consideration is whether or not the organization will accept the OKR Champion’s authority to carry out their responsibilities under the program if you choose to do so.

2. Regularly check in on the status of your OKRs. Confidence rating systems are a popular method for accomplishing this, and they’re ideal for small teams.

c. Don’t link OKRs to performance reviews

It’s good to avoid using your company’s OKRs as performance evaluations or as part of the overall review process at your startup or small business. In the absence of a formal evaluation procedure, it may be tempting to tie OKR achievement directly to pay and promotion considerations. Then again, there are a few good reasons not to.

Because they encourage your team to think beyond the box, “moonshot” goals are an excellent choice for OKRs. A moonshot target can be completed with as little as 60 to 70 percent of the effort. It’s possible that praising or punishing a team for completing all OKRs to the letter would lead them away from achieving their genuine moonshot objectives. If they want to succeed or avoid failure, they’ll likely establish more modest goals. This is known as ” sandbagging “because it undermines the purpose of utilizing OKR software in the first place.

Need more help in guiding your SMB and Startup towards high growth and revenue? Reach out to us today! 

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Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

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