It’s not just people who like to set goals and then work towards them. Companies and big corporations are actually just as goal oriented, if not more so. The only difference is that their goals are largely based around turnover and market share, rather than quitting smoking or losing weight.
But this is not to say that both types of goal setting don’t have something in common. Nor does it mean that there isn’t plenty you can learn from looking at the way big companies go after their goals.
And as it happens, there is one particular technique that has been used by some of the most impressive companies on the planet in order to help them reach some particularly lofty goals. If it can help Google to create self-driving cars and develop cancer-fighting nanotech, then perhaps it can do something about your list of New Year’s resolutions?
The technique in question is ‘OKR’. This stands for ‘Objectives and Key Results’ and it’s not exclusive to Google. In fact, while Google is one of the companies that has made OKR famous, it was actually Intel that first introduced the concept and John Doerr who helped popularize it. Other companies that have used it include LinkedIn, Twitter and Zynga – so those are some pretty impressive testimonials right there.
How it Works
The way it works is actually deceptively simple: all you do is write down broad goals and then break them down into smaller steps. These two elements are described as the ‘objectives’ and the ‘results’.
To start then, create a heading called ‘Objectives’ and write down 3-5 that you’d like to achieve. Companies do this on a ‘company level, team level and personal level’ but we can focus on the latter for now (unless you want to get your whole family doing this).
So in Google’s case, an ‘objective’ might be something like ‘leading the wearable tech space’ or ‘cataloguing geographical space’. In your case, it might be ‘get a body that [you’re] proud of’, ‘feel healthier’ or ‘find a better job’.
The next stage is then to write down 3-4 quantifiable ‘key results’. These are results that you should be working towards that will help you to accomplish the objective, or that will allow you to mark that objective as complete.
So under ‘feel healthier’, you might put:
- Stop smoking
- Create a habit of attending the gym three times a week
- Eat more vegetables
Note that some of these are ‘binary’ challenges (i.e. pass/fail) while others are spectrums. Still though, they need to be gradable so that you can consider yourself as being successful in each area.
If you want help getting there, then there are a number of online tools such as ‘Weekdone’ that will talk you through the process.
The great thing about OKR is that it helps you to have broad goals and big objectives while at the same time having concrete, short-term goals to work toward. This allows you to chase after those more abstract and long-term ideals like ‘being healthier’ while still doing so in a structured and measurable manner.
The best part? It only takes a couple of minutes, so you’ve really got nothing to lose!