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Just seeing the acronym “OKR” is enough to send shudders through legions of knowledge workers. All too often it means a goals process that’s bloated, tedious, irrelevant to what’s actually important, and that ultimately yields a lot less value than the effort put in.

This has got to stop.

the wall of

MISALIGNMENT

Michael Girdley

@mgirdley

OKRs are a disaster of a system

Vaga Bond.

@alfaruqstories

I hate OKRs. This is a reminder.

(Yes, it’s because I hate filing forms & any type of paperwork.)

Keith Rabois

@rabois

I hate OKRs.

Joshua Bloch

@joshbloch

I hate OKRs and similar rituals. I enjoyed working for Google, but the best part about not working for Google anymore is that I'll (probably) never have to do another OKR.

Laura Melon

@surminus

The more I hear about OKRs, the more I irrationally hate OKRs

Chloe Condon

@ChloeCondon

They're called OKRs because you should look at them and say "OK R U SERIOUS?" when you review them with your manager, right?

Scott Berkun

@berkun

Just to be clear, sports and knowledge work are not the same.

And also I generally hate measurements and OKRs since they are so easily and commonly abused.  

I'm primarily curious about attempts to capture/assess/measure the value of teamwork, however goofy or flawed.

Luke Wroblewski

@LukeW

annual OKR scoring:
"you didn't hit your goals. set more realistic targets next year."
"you hit your goals. set more aggressive targets next year."

lwright72

@lwright72

OKRs = fancy name for goals. Most companies still do them poorly and employees hate it. Changing name does not help.

Kevin Yien

@kevinyien

Behind every product you hate but still use regularly, there's a product manager just trying to hit their OKR. OKRs are incredible impediments.

Matt Aimonetti

@mattetti

Hot take Friday: OKRs are absolutely terrible for innovation as they force focus on short term thinking & strategies

Kelly Sommers

@kellabyte

Before OKR’s: The organization I was in had extremely low turn over and MANY team members over 10 years in the organization.

After OKR’s: 6 months later 10x the industry average turn over rate and 34 years worth of experience in the org quit in the same week.

Join us by taking a pledge to reaffirm Objectives and Key Results as a lightweight process that enables breakthrough results, puts employees first, and that drives laser focus and crystal clear transparency. Taking the pledge affirms:

Not just for execs

We embrace OKRs because we care about outcomes more than output. By being outcome-focused, we foster autonomy for teams and individuals. We’ll look for opportunities to delegate leadership of our goals to whoever is closest to the work, not just assigning ownership to executives. We commit to regularly reviewing progress of our goals so that this isn’t a “set and forget” activity, but instead a continual conversation about priorities and a way to make everyone’s work more purposeful.

Set less, focus more

We know that too many priorities is the same thing as having no priorities. Our OKRs are an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the parts of the business where we want to make huge leaps and big changes. Therefore, we’ll avoid the temptation of writing goals for everything and will instead manage our “business as usual” activities through health metrics and KPIs. We know this means not every team or every person will be working on OKRs each quarter. At all costs we’ll avoid writing key results that are simply tasks and will instead stay focused on outcomes. We commit to setting fewer goals in our desire to achieve radical focus.

Just say “no” to individual OKRs

We understand that rolling out OKRs to every individual employee will inevitably lead to “planning hell” and incredible complexity. We also acknowledge that explicitly tying OKRs to performance management (including promotions and compensation) is doomed to fail since it encourages individual performance over team/company performance and will discourage employees from committing to stretch goals. Instead, we’ll focus on OKRs as a team activity. If we do set individual goals around career growth, we commit to explicitly de-linking that process from our strategic goals.

We’ll resist cascading goals

We thrive on agile, cross-functional teamwork across all levels of our organization. We therefore avoid a “cascading” goals process where managers at each level simply break down goals into subgoals for their direct reports. Instead, we leverage simultaneous top-down (executive) and bottom-up (team) alignment of goals to create a more flexible network of cross-functional priorities. We know that this approach keeps OKRs agile and enables innovation and breakthrough results.

If it sucks, we’ll fix it

Continual improvement is an integral part of our OKRs process. We commit to regular reflection and retrospectives, and seek to make our goals planning and execution better each time we do it. We seek out best practices, and then document them in a living playbook. We believe that OKRs (like any business process) should remain flexible and commit to making the process fit the culture and values of our organization.

COUNT ME IN!

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