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5 Mistakes You Might Be Making in Using Business OKRs

Updated: July 30, 2023

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) can be seen as one way to translate and carry goals. If you think about it, however, you can create good goals and bad goals at the same time. Ultimately, OKRs may be misused, overused, and abused if you are not careful with creating and using them.

If you are setting OKRs, you must note that there are bad consequences if you fail to use them right. Here are a few costly mistakes you might make and what you should do instead.

1. Using OKRs for Performance Evaluation

This is the most common mistake made in setting OKRs. Often, OKRs are used for performance evaluation. The idea is that when people complete tasks, those tasks should be reflected in the OKRs.

However, a basic principle is that an OKR should not be used for performance evaluation. The key to that is that OKRs are never “completed.” They set a goal that is never done.

The best way to deal with this mistake is to keep good track of goals in a separate system. Yet, you still need to go back to the basics of OKRs by clarifying and communicating them.

2. Superiors Creating OKRs for Their Subordinates

Another common mistake is that superiors create OKRs for their subordinates. You should not create OKRs for your subordinates. Instead, you should work with your subordinates to create OKRs. This also means that you should not create OKRs for yourself.

The key to this mistake is not creating goals for others. Instead, you should let others set their own goals.

3. Having Too Many OKRs

The main mistake is that too many goals are set. You should not have too many OKRs. Instead, have OKRs that are manageable.

The main problem with having too many OKRs is that it is too much work for people to work on. When there are too many OKRs, you will doubt that you will ever complete them. This can become demotivating because you cannot achieve what you want.

Try to set fewer goals, but set more significant goals.

4. Using Non-SMART OKRs

One of the most common mistakes that people make is using non-SMART OKRs. If you are not familiar with the acronym SMART, it stands for:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Results-oriented

  • Time-bound

If your OKRs do not meet these criteria, they are not SMART OKRs. If your OKRs are not SMART, you will find that you cannot measure results. Without measurement, it is impossible to tell how well you are doing. You should not use your OKRs for performance evaluation.

5. Not Setting OKRs

The last mistake is not using OKRs at all. Some people do not use OKRs because they think that people are not motivated when they are not rewarded for their success.

OKRs motivate because they let people complete goals. If you do not have a way for people to complete goals, you may just have many people who spend time on tasks that will never get completed.

If you invest time setting OKRs and communicating them, you are more likely to get results.

Final Thoughts

OKRs are one of the most effective ways to create goals that have the best chance of being achieved. It can help you set SMART goals and change the way your business performs.

If you want to apply Objectives and Key Results to grow your business, work with us at SKILLFIRE. We offer an OKR Quick Start program to help you learn the framework and impact your business. Contact us for more information.