One of the most important skills that a modern leader can possess is the ability to align their entire workforce to the big vision of the company, that's why talking about how many objectives should your company have to become is very important!
Companies like Amazon, Google, and LinkedIn have goal-setting strategies in common. These are Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
It is not a new concept. Despite the coming of many other management concepts and leadership principles, OKRs is still one of the most powerful organizational goal-setting frameworks available today.
OKRs are meant for an organization to have a clear view of where they are headed or what they want to achieve in the month or quarter.
It helps companies to realize their full potential as well as drives focus, prioritization, and accountability. The framework keeps team efforts in line with company goals.
So how do these big companies do it? How many objectives should your company set? You will find answers to these questions as you read further.
Set Your Objectives Right
For OKRs to be successfully implemented, the objectives have to be set right. Your objectives should answer the question of “WHAT”.
CEOs would have broader objectives as their roles encompass many aspects of the company. Teams and business units may have a more limited scope when setting objectives as theirs would depend mainly on the department or management team they support.
Regardless of the kind of objectives you need to set, they must be specific, clear, and concise.
When setting an objective, you need to push yourself to the limit. Be ambitious! Do not set goals simply to sustain the existing way of doing things. Be one or two levels higher than where you were a month or a quarter before.
How Many Objectives Should Be in Your OKRs?
Limiting the number of objectives between 3 and 5 is the best. OKRs are meant for shorter, greater impact goals. Each objective should have a due date.
In most companies, OKRs are created every quarter. The following are the reasons why this is so:
OKRs Drive Prioritisation
The major reason why you want to have fewer objectives is that you really want to focus on what matters.
You may want to accomplish so many things for your organization, but without efficient prioritization, you won’t be able to progress quickly.
The same thing will happen to the team members/teams of your company. They could be working on so many things just to catch up with their OKRs, but there’s a lesser chance that they would be able to get things done at the end of the quarter.
When executing OKRs, you should go as slow and steady as possible. Before the quarter starts, call for a meeting with the key stakeholders in order to brainstorm on priority goals. Other goals can wait till the coming quarter.
OKRs Have Specified Periods
OKRs should be ambitious, but also realistic. When setting your objectives, take into consideration the due dates given to your teams or employees.
If you are having quarterly OKRs, then set objectives that can be attainable in three months.
OKRs are meant to Be Flexible
It is important to set long-term goals that will be incorporated into your high-level organizational objectives. This is why annual OKRs are widely practiced. However, quarterly OKRs are unavoidable because they are meant to be flexible, not rigid.
Thus, when unforeseen circumstances occur, you can easily adjust your objectives to ensure that your team adapts.
What OKRs Pioneers Say
Try Setting One at a Time
Christina Wodtke, an American businesswoman and OKRs expert, advises that companies should make one objectives and key results.
This is a good OKR approach especially if you are implementing OKRs for the first time. Since there is only one, it is more likely to be a high-level objective.
Objective: Grow my business’ profit by 15%.
- Put up a marketing team and hire a new VP by the end of the third quarter.
- Increase monthly revenues by 15%.
- Promote website on social media and increase customer engagement by 40%.
Maximum of 5 Objectives
John Doerr suggests having a maximum of 5 objectives with four key results under each one. In his deck presented by Rick Klau of Google, Doerr provided some OKR guidelines to determine how many objectives to set in OKRs:
- A maximum of 5 objectives with 4 key results under each one.
- 60%+ objectives from the bottom up.
- No one should dictate. All must mutually agree.
- One-page OKRs are best. Two pages should be the maximum.
- OKRs should not be used as performance measures.
- When grading, 60-70% means “GOOD” and 100% means “BAD”.
- Continue incomplete key results only when they are still relevant.
By combining both Wodtke’s and Doerr’s ideas, you can determine the ideal number of objectives that will work for your company.
Remember that less is better. It boosts focus and prioritisation, leading to high-impact results.
Did you like this article?
If you liked this article and you are looking for a way to align everyone in your organization, let’s have a call or simply download our OKR Guide. We also offer OKR consulting and OKR training, but our approach differs from other companies, we believe OKRs should be fully integrated with your product development.