In an interview with Harvard Business Review, John Doerr says there are five key OKR benefits. These five benefits spell out the acronym “F.A.C.T.S.”, which we will now discuss more in detail.
What does F.A.C.T.S stands for?
OKRs create clear FOCUS for the company, team, and individual
Focus is the first benefit when setting OKRs as we start by defining the direction for the whole company, and have teams and individuals write OKRs to align with the overarching, company objectives and key results. Most often, it is recommended to have 2-4 Objectives, with not more than 3-5 Key Results for each Objective. Anything that is not about the current Objectives can be freely moved to the backlog for the next sprint. Due to this necessity to limit the number of things to focus on, OKRs clearly bring to the surface the handful of initiatives that can make a real, immediate difference while deferring less urgent ones. In other words, OKRs help the company agree on the main focus for the sprint and make sure teams and individuals deliver the results that are bringing value to the business.
The whole company is ALIGNED and moving in the same direction
Alignment is often the main goal and benefit of OKRs as they connect the team and individual goals and activities towards the company’s strategic mission. More specifically, top managers set company-wide OKRs, and it is recommended to preferably collaborate and sync with all the teams before finalizing the company OKRs. Then, based on them each team sets their OKRs to help achieve company-wide objectives. And finally, based on the team Objectives, each individual sets their Goals and Milestones accordingly. An example of connecting goals and milestones of employee development to company, team OKRs can be found in this blog.
However, this does not mean that all teams/individuals have the same shared OKRs, but in fact, it means that teams/individuals would be approaching a bigger overarching Objective from a team-/individual-specific perspective, expertise, skill, and knowledge. Overall, OKRs make sure the whole company understands what is important right now and ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction.
Employees demonstrate genuine COMMITMENT to moving the company forward
Commitments imply that all agreed OKRs will be achieved, and schedules and resources will be adjusted to ensure that they are delivered to move the company forward. Commitment cannot be assigned as it rather comes naturally to the teams/individuals who are trusted to do the right thing. However, it is of high importance to transparently track these commitments. That is why each team/individual must create very clear signals for everyone that they are working towards their OKRs, goals & milestones and showing how they have invested their time and energy in the best possible way. Whether this is done through a Google Sheet or an OKR software like Talbit, updating and sharing OKR progress every single month will show that you know what kind of you are playing, what you are striving for, and what you have contributed to realizing the company strategy through personal skill development.
OKRs lead to organization-wide TRANSPARENCY
When the company gets full visibility, easy access to OKRs, and have meaningful discussions led by the OKR process, transparency is certainly achieved. It initially comes from communicating company Objectives:
and then encouraging everyone to participate in these discussions and share ideas. Such sharing, open and transparent communication in the company is crucial for healthy work relationships, nurturing trust.
Besides, with an OKR-based application like Talbit, plan, progress, problems, comments, updates, and feedback related to the company, team, and individual are clearly structured and easy to access. This quick access and transparency not only saves time in meetings and helps business processes run faster since people know what is going on in the company’s life, but it also boosts engagement and fuels accountability. When a team’s OKRs are seen by others, there is no place for procrastination and excuses. Moreover, when OKRs are delivered, others can see how valuable the teams/employees’ work and skill development are, and in turn, the teams/employees themselves can feel appreciated and motivated.
OKRs help STRETCH, achieving beyond expected
As John Doerr says,
“I would rather have the objective be to go to Mars, and if we fall short, we’ll get to the moon. This is how you make moonshots”
OKRs are structured in a way to help teams/individuals think out of the box. Though the ambitious Key Results are clear with measurable outcomes, the teams/individuals have freedom in deciding which plans are more likely to deliver on the desired outcomes and can try different approaches and tactics until the Key Results are achieved. In other words, OKRs inherently push organizations to strive further, eke out a little more than what they thought was possible, find creative and innovative solutions, and achieve remarkable results.
The bottom line
F.A.C.T.S. is why so many companies use the OKR system. As we can see, remarkable success in strategy execution may be gained through strong focus, high organizational alignment, genuine employee commitment, organization-wide transparency, and innovation . Allowing each employee to connect their personal growth to the company’s growth in an autonomous way not only produces better strategic results but creates purpose and motivation.
The benefits of OKRs are not circumstantial or accidental. You can enjoy them fully only if you are being intentional in your goal-setting process and follow the main principles and guidelines.