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Measure What Matters - OKRs - The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth - John Doerr

Buch-Review - Hannes Kleist - 12.08.2018

Measure What Matters - OKRs - The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth

The classic on how to setup a working goal system in your company.


Google, Meet OKRs

Many companies have a “rule of seven,” limiting managers to a maximum of seven direct reports.

Google ranked number one on Fortune magazine’s list of “Best Companies to Work For.”

Managers become coaches, mentors, and architects. Actions — and data — speak louder than words.

The Father of OKRs

Many people work so hard and achieving so little.

The best way to solve a management problem, he believed, was through “creative confrontation” — by facing people “bluntly, directly, and unapologetically.” Despite Andy’s (Intel CEO) hot temper, he was down-to-earth and approachable, open to any good idea.

Hannes: I believe so too.

Superpower #1: Focus and Commit to Priorities

Values cannot be transmitted by memo,

“When you are tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it.”

OKRs are inherently works in progress, not commandments chiseled in stone.

Key results should be succinct, specific, and measurable. A mix of outputs and inputs is helpful.

Commit: The Nuna Story

Until your executives are fully on board, you can’t expect contributors to follow suit.

Spending hours cascading goals up and down the company, however, does not (help)

Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork

Top-down and bottom-up goals generally settles at around half-and-half.

Superpower #3: Track for Accountability

“We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Hannes: Oh, I love that.

Superpower #4: Stretch for Amazing

For the rest, “stretched” goals could elicit maximum output.


Continuous Performance Management

What business leaders have learned, very painfully, is that individuals cannot be reduced to numbers.

That transformational system, the contemporary alternative to annual reviews, is continuous performance management.

On the other hand, if you don’t have goals, what the heck are you talking about? What did you achieve, and how? In my experience, people are more likely to feel fulfilled when they have clear and aligned targets. They’re not wandering and wondering about their work; they can see how it connects and helps the organization.

It consists of four elements:

Hannes: We are doing exactly this. Nice.

It centers on five questions:

Andy Grove estimated that ninety minutes of a manager’s time “can enhance the quality of your subordinate’s work for two weeks.”

@leads: Shall we introduce monthly or weekly 1:1 sessions?

It should be regarded as the subordinate’s meeting, with its agenda and tone set by him …. The supervisor is there to learn and coach.

Based on BetterWorks’ experience with hundreds of enterprises, five critical areas have emerged of conversation between manager and contributor: Goal setting and reflection, where the employee’s OKR plan is set for the coming cycle. The discussion focuses on how best to align individual objectives and key results with organizational priorities. Ongoing progress updates, the brief and data-driven check-ins on the employee’s real-time progress, with problem solving as needed.fn3 Two-way coaching, to help contributors reach their potential and managers do a better job. Career growth, to develop skills, identify growth opportunities, and expand employees’ vision of their future at the company. Lightweight performance reviews, a feedback mechanism to gather inputs and summarize what the employee has accomplished since the last meeting, in the context of the organization’s needs.

Managers are evolving from taskmasters to teachers, coaches, and mentors.

Unlike negative criticism, coaching trains its sights on future improvement.

Hannes: This is brilliant

Continuous recognition is a powerful driver of engagement: “As soft as it seems, saying ‘thank you’ is an extraordinary tool to building an engaged team

Hannes: this was my idea behind #thanks

Alex: Every two weeks, each person at Zume has a one-hour, one-on-one conversation with whomever they report to.

It’s a sacred time. You cannot be late; you cannot cancel.

An internal Google study of 180 teams, standout performance correlated to affirmative responses to these five questions:

  1. Structure and clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?

  2. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?

  3. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us? 4. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high-quality work on time?

  4. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?

@leads: Let’s review those


You do it because every OKR is transparently important to the company, and to the colleagues who count on you. Nobody wants to be seen as the one holding back the team. Everybody takes pride in moving progress forward. It’s a social contract, but a self-governed one.

These organizations don’t merely engage their workers. They inspire them. They replace rules with shared principles; carrots and sticks are supplanted by a common sense of purpose.

Culture Change: The Lumeris Story


Institute a culture that attracts and retains A players.


  1. Focus on hiring A player managers/ leaders.

  2. Optimize recruitment function to attract A player talent.

  3. Scrub all job descriptions

  4. Retrain everyone engaged in the interviewing process.

  5. Ensure ongoing mentoring/ coaching opportunities.

  6. Create a culture of learning for development of new and existing employees.

He set the tone for what he calls “brutal transparency without judgment.”

Resource 1: Google’s OKR Playbook

Objectives are the “Whats.” They:

Classic OKR-Writing Mistakes and Traps

@leads: let’s review those at the beginning of our session

Resource 2: A Typical OKR Cycle

A Typical OKR Cycle

@leads: We will use this

Resource 3: All Talk: Performance Conversations

Manager-led Coaching To prepare for this conversation, the manager should consider the following questions:

Upward Feedback To elicit candid input from a contributor, the manager might ask:

Resource 5: For Further Reading

For Further Reading Andy Grove and Intel


Bill Campbell and Coaching


[Buy the book on Amazon] (


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Hannes Kleist
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