I had lunch yesterday with my now-retired business partner and mentor, Dr. Jerry Newman. 

Since 1977 he has been teaching CEO’s and business managers that their
People systems and Pay need to align with business goals, and that all should be objectively measured.

You know, since Jimmy Carter was President… I was wearing polyester striped bell-bottoms, and during the stagflation years before Reagan and the economic growth of 1981-2008 and 2016 until now.

Not new news, people! 

I also just read “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr- who worked with Google and Intel and the Gates Foundation to do just that.

Here is are some excerpts– I recommend you read the whole book!

Summary of Measure What Matters — the OKR Framework

Objectives (Os)
• Simply WHAT is to be achieved
• Significant, concrete and action oriented
• They are a vaccine against fuzzy thinking
• The objective is the direction

Key Results (KRs)
• They benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective
• KR should be succinct, specific, and measurable
• The KRs typically include hard numbers

They are expressed in this format:

We Want to:
• {Objective}

As measured by this set of KRs:
• {1. Key Result}
• {2. Key Result}
• {3. Key Result}

One of the most sought benefits of implementing an OKR [Objectives and Key Results] strategy is corporate alignment. 

Four benefits of the OKR system: Focus, Alignment, Tracking and Stretch, were used by DR Andy Grove when he was CEO of Intel to return to its “rightful, dominant market position.”

  • Superpower #1: Focus and Commit to Priorities
  • Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork
  • Superpower #3: Track for Accountability
  • Superpower #4: Stretch for Amazing

The New World of Work

  • Continuous Performance Management
  • Culture -Conversations, Feedback and Recognition that supports your ideal culture

Some of my favorite excerpts:

 “We don’t hire smart people to tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” — Steve Jobs 

Getting the entire organization focused on the company’s most crucial Objectives is key to employee engagement and ultimately success in the market. 

Studies suggest that only seven percent of employees genuinely understand their company’s strategies, and, what’s expected of them to help reach these corporate objectives. 

What is the connective tissue that enables this alignment? OKRs, (Objectives and Key Results) can provide the linkage and visibility to create true alignment in any organization. 

Doerr uses a football team analogy to illustrate why connecting Objectives is a blend of top-down and bottom-up planning. Setting successful OKRs requires a balance of cascading Objectives and Key Results down through the organization, and input from employees into their personal Objectives. (With the important caveat that personal Objectives must be in support of, connected to, the company’s top priorities). 

The top-down cascading connects everyone in the organization, creating alignment; and the bottom-up planning gives individuals a greater sense of ownership, creating engagement. 

Doerr quotes an exasperated CEO who states, “At any given time, some significant percentage of our people are working on the wrong thing. The challenge is knowing which ones!” 

“Ideas are easy, execution is everything.”