Since the late 1990s, thousands of organizations and Fortune 500 companies worldwide have implemented the OKR framework to improve both team and individual performance, and increase their bottom lines. What if you could use these same principles to achieve your personal goals? It’s definitely possible to apply the OKR framework in a non-business context to map your future success.
In the same way that OKR allows companies to “work with purpose,” this framework can help you set purpose-driven goals in every area of your life. When it comes to your personal and financial goals, OKR can help you work towards living your dream life. We share how OKR can apply to your life in a non-business context and actionable tips to maximize its principles. First, let’s cover the basics of OKR.
What Is the OKR Framework? How It All Started
Before setting your own personal goals, it’s important to understand the context of OKRs’ development to understand its impact. The idea of OKR started gaining traction in the ‘90s after Andy Grove taught the principles to John Doerr, who both worked for Intel.
Doerr formalized the teachings of the OKR framework and went on to pen the popular book Measure What Matters. The OKR framework is broken down into an objective that inspires action, key results that measure progress towards that objective, and initiatives that allow the key results to come to fruition. When Doerr introduced OKR to Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1999, the duo used it to drive the tech giant’s success. To this day, it’s used by Google and countless other companies to set corporate goals and track progress.
Understanding Different Types of OKRs
When you’re creating OKRs to excel in your personal life, you have to be sure they fuel your ambitions while still being reasonable. Otherwise, it’s tough to use a business-oriented framework as a growth tool for your personal and financial goals. We’ve outlined four popular variations of OKRs here:
- Committed OKRs
- These OKRs are extremely attainable and eventually should be 100 percent achieved. The success of a committed objective usually has a direct impact on the quality of your life.
- Example: Overhaul your personal time management system by the end of the month.
- Aspirational OKRs
- These OKRs are stretch goals with ideal outcomes that still seem somewhat impossible. They aren’t likely to be achieved during the first attempt but should remain on your personal OKR list until they are reached — no matter how long it takes.
- Example: Start a side business based on a passion project.
- Personal OKRs
- Personal OKRs are the goals you focus on to make progress towards lifetime achievements and overall happiness. For example, you can start a new profession that gives you a sense of purpose if you’re not satisfied with your work life.
- Example: Find a new job by the end of the year.
- Financial OKRs
- These personal finance OKRs should push you to make better financial decisions while also being achievable. Even if you’re heavily in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, you can tackle your financial goals one step at a time through the OKR framework.
- Example: Build an emergency fund in six months.
Setting different types of OKRs is easy, but reaching them is the real challenge. It’s hard to believe 92 percent of people abandon their New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s a testament to poor goal setting. When you plan your future and finances with a reliable framework that excites you, you’ll improve your odds of succeeding at your goals.
5 Tips to Achieve Your OKRs
Objectives can be short-term goals that you knock out in a few months or huge goals that might roll over for years. At the end of a time period, a key result is either fulfilled or not. With this in mind, here are some best practices to keep in mind when tracking OKRs in your own life:
- Set and revise objectives frequently
- Don’t go after more than 3–5 OKRs per 3 months
- Strike a balance between an aggressive and achievable goal
- Give yourself a reliable tracking system
- Update your progress regularly
Organisations that don’t innovate or take enough risks lose in the long run. In the same way, not challenging yourself when setting personal goals can leave you feeling disappointed. A system like the OKR framework is a great way to set ambitious goals for yourself that are both feasible and rewarding.
OKRs empower individuals to improve their financial health and reach goals in the workplace through actionable, measurable steps. When you set meaningful OKRs, vague desires become concrete, attainable mini-goals. Using the OKR framework, a huge financial goal like saving for a down payment or funding your college tuition turns into a series of quantifiable, repeatable tasks that you can re-evaluate every few months.
Let’s say you’re trying to increase your salary by earning a promotion or finding a new job. By setting OKRs, you’re forcing yourself to be realistic with your timeline for achievement. Instead of obsessing over getting promoted by the end of the year or increasing your salary by a certain dollar amount, you direct your energy towards the key results that will get you there.
When you’re systematic and practical about your goal-setting, you keep up your momentum and prevent demotivating disappointments. Check out our infographic below for some additional tips to effectively implement the goal-setting framework.
In the simplest terms, objectives describe where you’re going whereas key results describe how you get there. Countless companies and even schools are using OKRs to level up — so why not apply this goal-setting technique to your personal goals? One of the most important aspects of the OKR framework to remember is that it’s designed to push you past your comfort zone to achieve greatness. In the same way that microlearning helps you break down a large goal, OKRs can help you split up a daunting task into more attainable ones.