Measure What Matters:
How Google, Bono and the Gates Foundation Rock the world with OKRs.
| Author: John Doerr, 2017 |
Browsing the book selection at the Cincinnati airport on my way to the Center of Executive Coaching reunion, to my surprise my recent read, Measure What Matters by John Doerr, was #4 on the top bestsellers. Fascinating, as I am applying some of his techniques with current clients. Shocking how so many organizations are in the revolving chaos cycle, yet this simple concept is a best seller. The title does say it all!
John Doerr has worked with some of the most compelling companies in the world, including Google, YouTube, Intel, and some interesting characters like Bill Gates and Bono. Yeah, the U2 guy! The focus of the book is OKRs - Objectives and Key Results. Doerr tells some great stories of how they work, and better yet the people that use them tell their own stories. Isn’t that what makes a good read? When they can pull in great stories that apply the methods being written about. The client who recommended the book to me is currently using OKRs early on, and I can see this method working for many of my manufacturing clients.
I always liked the saying, ‘what gets measured, gets done’. So simple and true. You constantly hear of the buzz of ‘Accountability’, and this system provides a tool to support that. If expectations are not posted, documented and agreed to, why do you think there would be accountability? Simply writing a goal down increases your chances of achieving it, and once you share it with someone or post it, your chances go way up…by 43%. Without concrete goals, we can just end up getting to the wrong place faster!
A common theme with the concept of OKRs, that reminds me of the notion of setting ‘Wildly Important Goals’, is cadence: The relentless discipline to review them on a regular basis. Weekly review is common, but frequency will vary depending on the goals. If you can’t do what you said you would do, the whole concept will be a struggle, and I see it today in my clients.
The book also demonstrates how ridiculous annual performance reviews are and how we can revolutionize them. People crave timely feedback, which is what OKRs do. Like many of us who are obsessed with the responses from our Fitbits, our employees also need timely feedback. ‘Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition’, ‘CFRs, are a way to ignite your staff!’ Pulls it all together as people are more fulfilled with clear and defined targets. If we can instantly give feedback to an Uber driver, why can't we do that with our teams?
As an active Executive Coach, it lit me up reading about the 360 degree feedback and how it supports horizontal working relationships combined with the OKRs. I have multiple clients who have used this technique, which clearly accelerated the results by knocking down the silos and removing emotional waste.
One main concept I took out of this book is what connected Doerr and Operations Kickstart. Doerr pulls on the concepts of Peter Druker and does not leave out the first goal. This is the personal one, building relationships with people. This ties right into my motto of course – cultivating people and creating trust = positive culture.
If you are looking for some techniques in these areas, or to just get back on track in your organization, then stop struggling and have a read!
Reviewed by: Trevor Blondeel