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How do you decide what key results should be? - OHNO | Whats holding your team back this week?
When using the goal setting framework (OKRs), one of the most discussed topics is how do you decide what your key results should be. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to learn the answer. For the sake of the examples below, let’s assume that our objective is to land a man on mars by 2024. The popular line of thinking is that OKRs should be stretch goals. I think this works in some-cases but I don’t believe in being too dogmatic about anything. If stretch goals work for you – go for it. One important thing. Key results should ideally have a number in them. It should be very easy to work out if you reached it or not. Good key result = Get 1,000 new customers Bad key result = Get lots more new customers. Here are some questions to ask next time you’re setting key results. #1. Once we’ve landed a man on mars, what would be true of our organisation at that point? Think of this question like this. You’re standing around at mission control, cheering with your team and you’ve just watched the footage of the first man landing on mars. What would have to be true right now? Maybe you; Would need at least 10 rocket trips completed You would need to have built your new mission control computer system. You would want no fatalities during test missions. This question helps you visualise success in the right way. #2. What could we do today to get us there? This question prompt is more immediate actions – and a warning. This question tends to raise outputs more than outcomes. Sometimes this is okay. In our example we might answer the following Learn how to make rocket fuel with 99% accuracy. Hire our first astronaut. Watch all videos of Nasa Apollo 11 mission documentation learnings. These answers can be good to get some of the foundational work done. It can get the team going. If you only have very broad outcomes, like (build 10 rockets) it doesn’t really help your team break the problem down. #3. What is critical to avoid? Not many teams ask this – but it’s important. We’ve heard of the popularity of to-don’t lists. Things we want to stop doing, bad habits we’re trying to break. Sometimes thinking of things that don’t help you get to your goals can make good results. For instance, Zero defects in flight control software. No staff turnover on engineering team during launch. These can be mindful barriers. By pointing them out early, it will prompt your team to act and adjust, to avoid hitting these roadblocks.