I’ve always been a
productive person
, but coming up with long-term, meaningful
goals has never been my strong suit. So whenever New Years would
come around, I always felt like my resolutions were typical and
easy to forget after two months: Improve my Japanese speaking
skills… Learn how to be a better Strategic Planner…

Over the last year, our leadership team introduced a
goal-setting framework called OKRs, which stands for Objectives and
Key Results. In previous jobs, I’ve been asked to incorporate
other goal-setting frameworks like MBOs (Managing by Objectives)
and SMART goals. But our CEO suggested an easy fictional case
Radical Focus
, which revealed how OKRs helped a
struggling team, and it had me intrigued! I decided to find a way
to track my OKRs using LiquidPlanner with a small group of people
on our team. And I’d like to share my five most-important
learnings (and tips) with you.

1. Connect With Your “Why”

The OKR framework is a bottom-up goal setting model. It flips
goal setting on it’s head, and starts with the team members.
Individuals have the opportunity to reflect on what
will motivate them to contribute and drive the company forward
while collaborating with their managers to make sure there is
alignment. This bottom-up approach really appealed to me, because
it allowed me to connect with the “why” of my goals and
ambitions, and encouraged me to find myself in the company

2. Get Your OKRs Out of Your Head

Ever heard of analysis paralysis? It’s a real thing.

When it comes to thinking of your OKRs, it’s easy to paralyze
yourself by thinking about them too much, or stewing on them inside
your brain. Here are a few tips, having been through it myself. You
can try some of them, or all of them, depending on what works best
for your style:

  • Start writing them down. In your notebook, on a post-it, or a
    Google doc — just get them out of your head and documented
  • Share your ideas with your manager. They can help you
    brainstorm and shape your objectives and key results
  • Set up a meeting with other team members who are also setting
    up their OKRs. Chances are they are feeling analysis paralysis too
    — so you can all help each other get unstuck.
  • Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. When you have
    a rough draft that helps you get started, kick off!

3. Track It!

Once we had our first set of OKRs drafted, we knew we had to
collectively make them (and our progress) visible to each other.
What better tool to use than LiquidPlanner? Here’s how we set it

First, we set up a custom
that helped us label which projects or tasks were
OKR-related versus non-OKR related.

We could then easily see how much time we were spending on
strategic work versus non-strategic work by setting up
Donut Charts
in our Dashboards.

The Objectives part of the OKR is often a very high-level,
aspirational description of what you want to accomplish and key
results are your benchmarks to assess your progress. It can be
difficult to figure out what you need to do, in order to achieve
that objective, so I really liked this advice when it came to
tackling bigger goals:

4. Break Up Your Bigger Goals into Smaller Steps

Don’t feel like you have to create your entire project in one
sitting. When you’re first getting started with OKRs, give
yourself some grace, and start small. Trust me. Get the first few
tasks into LiquidPlanner, then get going!

We found success by creating a widget in our OKR dashboard to
pull in our OKR tasks. It looks like this, and was easy to set up
because we filtered to the custom field we set up earlier.

Oh, and make sure to track your wins! We celebrated each week
when we completed an OKR-related tasks. Here’s how we set up our
Analytics Table widget to pull in our completed OKR tasks:

5. Check yourself!

When it comes to staying on top of long-term goals, everyone
responds differently to accountability tactics. Here are lots of
tips… find what works best for you!

  • Review your OKRs with your manager in 1:1 meetings
    • OKRs are meant to help you focus on the right work, and
      managers should be the defender of your time. Often times we get
      distracted by “squirrels”. You know, that request the other
      team urgently asked you to look into? Your manager can help protect
      your time from “squirrels” so you have the time for
      business-critical work.
  • Hold weekly team stand-ups
    • Set up a weekly 15-minute stand up meeting with your team to
      review your OKR dashboard. Everyone can celebrate the tasks they
      completed that chipped away at their OKRs, and review and confirm
      that their upcoming OKR tasks are still relevant to themselves and
      the team.
  • Keep your goals front and center
    • I printed out a little list of my goals, and cut out Post-it
      notes so I could stay updated on my percentage complete throughout
      the quarter. Keeping this taped to my monitor is still a helpful
      daily reminder for me.
  • Use the
    Daily Digest email feature
    from LiquidPlanner to be reminded of
    your upcoming tasks. Once you start putting your OKR tasks into
    LiquidPlanner, it’ll be a great overview to start your day.

If you want to learn more about OKRs for yourself, your team, or
your organization, I’m including a few helpful resources below.
Even though we’ve already gotten started with 2020, it’s not
too late to apply a new framework to help you tackle your

[Free Webinar]
Tracking Your Goals in LiquidPlanner Using OKRs

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation
Rock the World with OKRs, John Doerr

Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with OKRs,
Christina Wodtke

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Top 5 Tips for Implementing OKRs on Your Team
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