OKRs, or “Objectives and Key Results,” were an integral planning tool during my time at Opendoor. We did these quarterly to align the company top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top around specific goals (Objectives), while setting measurable outcomes (Key Results) to track our progress towards each – an organisational “where do we want to go?” (Objectives) and “how will we get there” (Key Results). I decided to apply these to my personal life in 2020.
OKRs are not for everyone. As my Grandfather put it to me a few weeks ago, “Blake, my goal this year is just to make it to the end upright.” Fair enough 🙂 Or like me last year, sometimes letting things unfold is the way to go. I kept 2019 fairly open-ended outside of training for UTMB. Coming out of 2019, however, I had a clearer picture for where I want to go this year, what space I still want to explore and fill, and how I want to focus my time and energy. In this case, OKRs are a great fit for keeping me focused and pushing me along!
If you are interested in creating some of your own, feel free to use my OKRs and process, described below, for inspiration!
Objective 1 – Make our Norway House a Home
Objective 2 – Be a Thoughtful & Kind Parent, Partner & Friend
Objective 3 – Live Simply & Sustainably
Objective 4 – Speak Spanish Fluently
Objective 5 – Become Environmentally Aware & Active
Objective 6 – Build Skill, Speed and Expertise in the Mountains
Objective 7 – Self Care & Growth
I wrote bullet points for some of the Objectives to define them a bit more and to provide some inspiration. For example, Objective 1 – Make Norway House a Home:
- A place where we want to live year-round
- A place where friends and family want to visit and stay
- A place we are proud of
And, for Objective 7 – Self-Care & Growth:
- Look happy and healthy
- Feel happy and healthy
- Be an upgraded version of myself
With Objectives in place, I created Key Results (KRs) for each Objective to define what I need to do to accomplish them. The KRs are specific and measurable. Below is an example.
Objective 1 – Make Norway House a Home
- KR1: Get set-up so cozy, liveable and fun
- KR2: Start a garden
- KR3: Complete 1 remodeling project start-to-finish
- KR4: Create long-term plan for house including path to Energy Positive Home
- KR5: Read 3-4 books to inspire
- KR6: Host 2-3 friends & family in Norway
KRs, can turn into Objectives themselves, requiring additional KRs to accomplish. If the Objective is where you want to go, and the KR how you are going to get there, for bigger or longer trips, sometimes it is helpful to drop some markers in between some of the bigger KRs. Taking the above 2020 KRs for Objective 1 – Make Norway House a Home, as an example, each KR can break down into its own Objective with additional KRs to support. This is how I translated the 2020 KRs into additional KRs for each Quarter:
From here, I could put them into my monthly tracker on an individual KR basis. For January:
The scoring process from 0 to 1 is how I hold myself accountable and a key part of the OKR process. I do it monthly since I think of my time in monthly increments. The scoring process lets me know how I’m doing in each area and is a great tool for highlighting where I may need to focus more time and attention, which happened in January!
For binary KRs, scoring is a simple 0 or 1. All of my KRs in January for this Objective were binary, so scoring them was straightforward. If I completed them, I got a 1, if not, I got a 0. There is, of course, some “art” to this: if it’s a binary outcome but you feel like you accomplished some or most of it, you can give yourself a score that reflects that work. Or for KRs that are more involved, estimate how much of it you completed, or when and where you can, tally up what you did complete and give yourself credit for the percentage of work you finished.
You can use the scoring at the individual KR-level to then determine your roll-up score for a particular Objective for a given month. To do this, simply take the points achieved, or realised, and divide by a total possible score. In the above example, I scored 4 points out of 4 possible, so my roll-up score was a 1. When it comes to roll-up scoring for an Objective, best practice is to target around 0,8. If you consistently score a 1 or close to it, it usually means your KRs aren’t aggressive enough whereas if you are consistently 0,5 or below then they aren’t realistic.
Here is my roll-up scoring for January:
After reflecting on January (and reviewing my scores!) I realised I needed to make some adjustments, namely to de-prioritise certain goals (photography and blogging for ex 🙂 to allow me to focus additional time in other areas. I realised that Objective 6 “Grow Intellectually & Creatively” was too broad and that there were 2 pieces within that bucket that I really wanted to focus on in 2020 so I broke it apart into two separate Objectives: Become Environmentally Aware & Active and Speak Spanish Fluently. To make time for this, I deleted my original Objectives 4 and 6.
So that’s a brief overview of my OKRs for 2020. I hope you find it helpful!