Running a business

What are OKRs, Objective Key Results?

Whether you are running a business or are an ambitious individual with your own goals and aspirations, OKRs can be a valuable tool for everyone. They allow you to set goals and see results clearly. 

Learn what an OKR is, how you can use them in your business and life, and see all you’re truly capable of achieving.

What is an OKR?

An OKR is an acronym that stands for Objectives and Key Results. This is a tool that teams or individuals can use to set clear objectives and measurable goals. Many small and large companies use OKRs because they are a great way to track progress and create alignment for the team.

What is the difference between OKRs and KPIs?

If you’ve heard of OKRs, likely, you’ve also heard of KPIs, but what’s the difference between these two measuring tools? Well, we know that OKRs are objective-based goals that you can measure. KPIs, on the other hand, stands for key performance indicators and refers to a set of quantifiable measurements that are used to measure a company’s overall performance. 

The difference between them is the distinct intention made behind the goal setting. KPI goals are made to be obtainable while OKRs are more purposeful and maybe less likely to achieve, but they help to push people to do more and strive for further greatness.

OKR Examples

Setting OKR goals should be ambitious; they can truly be anything you or your team wishes to complete. It’s good to dream big when identifying an OKR framework. To get a better idea of this strategy, consider these OKR samples below:

1. Objective: Sell $10M in bookings

Key results:

  • Win 1,000 deals worth $10M in bookings by 12/31/22
  • Generate 50,000 marketing qualified leads

2. Objective: Grow our organization

Key results:

  • Grow revenue to $2M
  • Launch the new product
  • Reduce churn to <5% annually through customer success

So when considering making OKRs remember that you need an objective or goal, as well as the results that come from reaching them, as laid out like the example above. Therefore, think through the focus of each action you are aiming to reach and the ways in which you can achieve these high-level initiatives. 

Where did OKRs Come From?

OKRs first appeared in the small business vernacular in 1954. They have origins in MBOs, or Management by Objectives, which was invented by Peter Drucker. MBOs were further developed by the co-founder of Intel, Andy Grove, who turned MBOs into what we now know as OKRs. 

With the influence made by John Doerr, both a former Intel and Google employee, OKRs became even more widely known, as it was implemented by the CEO for the workers of Google.

Types of Objectives and Key Results

Since OKRs are used for long-term, strategic goal setting, you can use them in a variety of ways to target all sorts of purposes. The four different types we will be unpacking are committed, aspirational, personal, and career OKRs. Each of these is different, but they each can push yourself and your organization to be even better.


Committed OKRs are goal-setting commitments and initiatives that teams and individuals agree will be achieved. These types of OKRs must get done at some point or another, whether quarterly, annually or even further afield. Therefore, resources and schedules can be subject to change when considering the need to know committed OKRs. 


Aspirational OKRs are more of an idealistic approach. Rather than actually attaining, they’re what we want to achieve, which might not always be possible. However, these types of OKRs are still beneficial because by setting these ambitious goals, even if you fall short of them, you will still get to accomplish something that you may have never done before!


We all have some sort of personal goal. Whether it’s in our minds, written down, scattered on a vision board, or something we are just so passionate about, we can’t stop telling everyone we meet about it. Everyone has personal goals. By applying the OKR goal-setting framework to your personal goals, you are creating a successful system for yourself.


For some, setting up personal goals vs career goals may be challenging, but you should try to separate the two. Using OKRs to achieve your career initiatives will make all of your professional aspirations that much more obtainable. Not only are you writing it down, but you’re devising a plan, documenting results, and actively thinking about it, which can help to push your career to the level you want it to be at.

OKR Objectives and Key Results Tools

Now that you know all about OKRs and how useful they can be when it comes to business goals and operations, it’s time to put this knowledge to use. It can be advantageous to have a resource or tool to assist you in managing your and your team’s OKRs.

If your organization would like to implement these OKR tools and software, consider trying out some of these examples below: 

  • CultureAmp: This key result tool helps companies gauge how their employees mesh with their work environment, whether they are engaged and focused, or could use some one-on-one time and development-focused training. Set goals for employee engagement and development and performance management to help improve your company overall. 
  • Peoplegoal: Keep your workforce accountable to the goals and deliverables you have set in place by using Peoplegoal. This management framework helps owners and managers keep an expert eye on these results-driven outcomes, steering their team in the right direction. 
  • SimpleOKR: As the name suggests, this tool is simple to use yet offers invaluable insight into the process of setting, measuring, and reaching your company goals. Use measurable objectives to clearly establish business priorities and easily share with everyone to keep all teams aligned and working towards the same goals. 
  • Engagedly: Using this key result tool is great for identifying and setting goals for your team and your company. Schedule check-ins, use performance reviews and competency assessments and give real-time feedback to help your workforce progress through their goals. 

Implementing and achieving objective key results is easier when you use them alongside employee time tracking. Manage and monitor your team’s time using quality software. QuickBooks Time offers an easy way to track time on the go and simplifies your internal processes.

The QuickBooks Time tracking software allows you to record time by individual project, making it even easier to track the OKR results you may be looking for. Start tracking for free today.

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