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5 OKR mistakes to avoid

Friend asked for tips on setting up OKRs. I gave him five pointers on what not to do:

Do not forget to scope OKRs by company culture.

It is different to start using OKRs in creative vs SaaS business. Teams used to objectives and measuring can go deeper than teams that are not. So adjust your expectations based on your team's culture.

Do not confuse OKRs with strategy.

The magic of OKRs is how they guide your team's day-to-day activities. You risk losing your team's interest if OKRs are too big picture. Use a different framework to communicate the general approach part of your strategy. Let it guide the OKR setup. But OKRs work best in the execution layer - so make them actionable and short-term.

Do not make OKRs too difficult.

The obvious one. Your risk losing change momentum if you make the OKR process too complicated. Scope by culture, make OKRs day-to-day and focus on small wins first.

Do not underestimate the need for leadership.

Ideating the objectives is easy. Deciding on the key results is hard. The more actionable you want the OKRs to be, the more your team needs your guidance. Help your team succeed and involve yourself in the process.

Do not make OKRs a separate process

Look for ways to make OKRs part of your team's current routines. OKRs will be forgotten if it becomes one more thing to do. Do you have yearly strategy routines? Make OKRs part of that routine. Are you using employee status software like 15Five? Ask for weekly status updates via that tool. You get the point.

These were the key points I shared.

What did I miss?

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