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FOCUS - Measure What Matters. OKR’s Start at the Top

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Jan 14, 2019

FOCUS Measure What Matters-1The World’s best run companies, like Google, share a commonality – Execution Excellence.

The ability to achieve starts at the top of the organization.

In Measure What Matters, John Doerr shares the first Super Power of OKR’s: FOCUS.

Doerr is clear about where excellence starts. 

“When you’re the CEO or the founder of a company . . . you’ve got to say ‘This is what we’re doing,’ and then you have to model it. Because if you don’t model it, no one’s going to do it.” ~ Bill Campbell, the Intuit CEO who later coached the Google executive team


In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares these alarming numbers.

Two of three companies fail to communicate goals consistently.

In a survey of eleven thousand senior executives and managers, a majority couldn’t name their company’s top priorities. Only half could name even one.

In your business, is it any different? 

Yet leadership blames staff for not being engaged, motivated, failing to reach goals and not performing to their capabilities.

Who’s really responsible?

Leaders must get across the why as well as the what. Your people need more than milestones for motivation. They are thirsting for meaning, to understand how their goals relate to the mission. Your process can’t stop with unveiling top-line OKRs at a quarterly all-hands meeting. It’s why Core Values and Purpose are also important for your business culture.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner likes to say, “When you are tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it.”

Leaders need to Communicate with Clarity.  For sound decision making, esprit de corps, and superior performance, top-line goals must be clearly understood throughout the organization.


Peter Drucker noted, a manager “must be able to measure . . . performance and results against the goal.”  

Michael Gerber, in the E-Myth Revisited shared, “You can’t manage, what you don’t measure, and what you don’t measure, you don’t understand.” 

Doerr offers more on the importance of OKR’s, “Key results are the levers you pull, the marks you hit to achieve the goal. If an objective is well framed, three to five KRs will usually be adequate to reach it. Too many can dilute focus and obscure progress. Besides, each key result should be a challenge in its own right. If you’re certain you’re going to nail it, you’re probably not pushing hard enough.”


Your team is probably not used to setting goals, or at least to the extent OKR’s are. OKR’S ARE set up to make everyone accountable. 

OKR's 4 Super PowersIt may make sense to ease into them.

Doerr suggests, “… companies begin with an annual cycle as they transition from private to public goal setting, or from a top-down process to a more collaborative one. The best practice may be a parallel, dual cadence, with short-horizon OKRs (for the here and now) supporting annual OKRs and longer-term strategies. Keep in mind, though, that it’s the shorter-term goals that drive the actual work. They keep annual plans honest—and executed.”

Just as important as patience to the OKR process is offering feedback.

In High Output Management, his leadership bible, Andy Grove notes: “For the feedback to be effective, it must be received very soon after the activity it is measuring occurs.”  

If you need more understanding of how positive recognition works and how immediate it should be, please read the following blogs I’ve written on Aubrey Daniels work, Bringing Out the Best In People:

Positive Reinforcement: Make it Immediate

How the Best Managers and Leaders Deliver Positive Reinforcement

Metrics Need Positive Reinforcement


One of my customers is a stickler about metrics. He makes sure each quarter his team’s metrics are S.M.A.R.T goals.  Due to his persistence, commitment, and insistence, his team is very disciplined about setting goals and metrics.

Doerr spends a good deal of energy on this subject as well.

From Measure What Matters, here’s an example of how to take your Key Result/Metrics from Weak, to Average, to Strong.Table 4.2 An OKR Quality Continuum

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Positioning Systems is obsessively driven to improve your business and your team’s execution.  3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics and Meeting Rhythms help your business dramatically improve your forecasting, individual and team performance to create alignment. Empower your team to achieve accelerated growth.

As an Execution Decision, Strategic Discipline increases your Profitability.

In Measure What Matters, Doerr’s book shares exactly how Strategic Discipline works. OKR’s are the same patter or Priority, and Metrics, as Objective and Key Results, with the additional measure of Cadence of Accountability (Meeting Rhythms) thrown in to drive your key outcomes.

Positioning Systems helps your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












We help your business Achieve Execution Excellence.

Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing!  To achieve growth, you need to evolve in today’s rapidly changing economic environment.  Have you been avoiding a conversation on how you can successfully grow your business? Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

ford-pinto-by-reflection-24-638Next Blog – CRASH, The PINTO.

OKR’s require pairing key results with a quality measure.  We shared this previously in our blogs on Counterbalance.  What happens when you focus all your attention on a Key Result, without pairing the performance measure with a quality measure?  The story of the Ford Pinto, next blog.

Topics: OKR - Objectives and Key Results, Measure What Matters, Focus, CEO Leadership Focus, positive reinforcement, Strategic Discipline

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 




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Positioning Systems Brand Promise

1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.
2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 
3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

(BRAND PROMISE GUARANTEE): We will refund all compensation if our disciplined coaching and proprietary tools fail to meet your expectations.


Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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