The 5 Superpowers of OKR’s

“If you seek to achieve greatness, stretching for amazing is a great way to start.” John Doerr


Set a goal that requires you to rethink the way you do things.

Astro Teller, leader of Google X, illustrated the power of Moon-Shot-Goals when he said …

“If you want your car to get 50 miles per gallon, fine. You can retool your car a little bit. But if I tell you your car has to run 500 miles on a gallon of gas, you have to start over.” (WSJ)

Moon-Shot-Goals ignite creativity and innovation, not simply greater productivity and efficiency.

The gospel of OKR’s – Objectives and Key Results:

John Doerr has been preaching the gospel of OKR’s since the 80’s. He learned the system from Andy Grove (9/2/1936 – 3/21/2016), former CEO of IBM.

What and how:

Doerr explains, “The objective is WHAT I want to have accomplished. The key results are HOW I’m going to get it done. The objectives are typically longer lived. They’re bold and aspirational. The key results are aggressive, but always measurable, time-bound, and limited in number.” (HBR)

Timing and OKR’s:

Short-term goals impact daily behavior.

Long-term goals define success and establish direction.

The 5 superpowers of OKR’s:

The acronym FACTS explains the 5 superpowers of OKR’s.

  1. Focus. OKR’s explain what matters most. “Innovation means saying no to one thousand things.” Steve Jobs
  2. Alignment – common purpose and creative latitude. Micro-management is mismanagement.
  3. Commitment and accountability. Establish weakly check-ins.
  4. Tracking. Make everyone’s KR’s public and trackable. People want to know if they’re succeeding.
  5. Stretching. A pattern of 70% attainment indicates OKR’s are functioning effectively. 100% achievement means the KR’s were too low.

(The above list is adapted from, “How VC John Doerr Sets (and Achieves) Goals”)

Note: Some operational KR’s need to be achieved 100%. 

What makes Moon-Shot-Goals a good thing? A bad thing?

What does a Moon-Shot-Goal culture look like?