What is an Example of a Bad OKR?

example of bad OKR

What are bad OKRs?

Bad OKRs are generally unclear, difficult to measure, and not aligned with the overall business goals. When Objectives are vague, overly ambitious, or not in sync with the organization’s strategic priorities, they can cause confusion and misalignment among teams. 

Likewise, poorly defined key results that are too subjective, unquantifiable, or easily manipulated can impede effective performance evaluation.

OKRs creating mistakes you should avoid

Creating effective OKRs requires careful attention to avoid common mistakes. Here are 10 important factors to keep in mind:

  1. Lack of alignment: Ensure that OKRs are directly aligned with organizational goals to maintain focus and cohesion.
  2. Overly ambitious objectives: Avoid setting unrealistic or overly ambitious objectives that can demotivate teams and lead to unattainable results.
  3. Vagueness in key results: Clearly define and quantify Key Results to avoid ambiguity and ensure objective evaluation of progress.
  4. Neglecting regular check-ins: Regularly monitor and update OKRs to adapt to changing circumstances and keep teams on track.
  5. Excessive or inadequate key results: Strike a balance between setting enough and not too many key results to maintain focus without diluting efforts.
  6. Ignoring employee involvement: Involve employees in the OKR-setting process to foster engagement, ownership, and commitment.
  7. Failure to prioritize: Prioritize objectives to prevent teams from being overwhelmed and to concentrate efforts on high-impact goals.
  8. Disconnected OKRs: Ensure OKRs are interconnected across teams and departments to promote collaboration and alignment across the organization.
  9. Static OKRs: Adapt OKRs as needed, responding to changes in the business environment and avoiding rigid, unchanged objectives throughout the cycle.
  10. Lack of learning and reflection: Encourage a culture of learning by reflecting on both successes and failures during and after the OKR cycle, fostering continuous improvement.

What do bad OKRs look like? Examples of bad OKRs

Bad OKRs are characterized by vagueness, lack of specificity, and an absence of measurable outcomes.

Here’s an example of a bad OKR:

Objective: Increase brand awareness.

Due date: 1 quarter

Key Results:

  • Generate 1 million social media impressions
  • Secure 5 news mentions in prominent publications
  • Increase website traffic by 20%

These key results may appear measurable, but they only focus on outputs such as impressions, mentions, and traffic. They don’t consider meaningful outcomes.

This OKR needs specific metrics like “increase conversion rate by 5%” or “improve brand association score by 10 points” to measure its impact on the business.

Additionally, the objective itself is too generic and lacks ambition. A better approach would be to identify a specific target customer segment and create Key Results that align with their behavior, such as “convert 10% of website visitors into leads.” 

By prioritizing outcomes and aligning efforts with specific goals, OKRs become powerful tools for driving strategic impact.


A badly crafted OKR can harm both the organization’s performance and the engagement of its employees. An ineffective OKR lacks clarity and specificity and fails to align with the overall business goals.

When objectives are unclear or key results are too vague, it becomes difficult for employees to grasp their priorities, leading to confusion and a decline in motivation. 

Moreover, setting unattainable or excessively ambitious goals without considering the team’s capabilities can lead to burnout and decreased morale.

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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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