The system adopted by Intel for goals

Think about all the concepts you’ve learned that you’ve read, that you’ve heard about that you never applied. This is how I view OKRs, or objectives and key results. Hi, I’m Peter Nichol, data science CIO. For the next 30 days, I’m going to bring a two or three-minute idea to everybody in my LinkedIn community.

Today we’re going to talk about OKRs. When I think about that gym membership, that I should be leveraging, or the lesson that I should be using on my food, I know about all these different concepts, I’ve heard them all over again. Similarly, when we think about business, we’ve heard a lot of these concepts very few ideas are net nouveau, though you’ve never ever heard of. One idea is OKRs.

Andy Grove came up with the idea and matured it from Drucker’s management by objectives. He originally thought it would be iMBO in for Intel management by objectives, but later renamed it objectives and key results. The idea between an objective and the key results, which is timely now that we’re approaching the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, is to make sure you connect leadership to the folks that are doing the work. This is the structure of an OKR.

  • I will <objective> be measured by <my key results>.

Typically, it starts from the top and moves down. And the idea is that everything that the team is working on is linked to the strategic objectives and the goals of the organization.

So you’re probably thinking at this point. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before. We already have goals, we’re all set. But are those goals really linked to other goals and linked to other key results? Probably not. Probably some of those goals that have been identified are manufactured and are low-hanging fruit for many of those leaders and executives to hit. They’ve defined their goals to ensure they can meet those objectives. Here are three examples of OKRs.

Objective: Increase delivery throughput in Q2

  • Key Results: Deliver 4 sprints across 2 business units for Q2.
  • Key Results: Improve average weekly sprint velocity to 20 points quarter-over-quarter.
  • Key Results: Automate sprint release CI/DI orchestration to less than 24 hours.

Objective: Actively manage subordinates and staff

  • Key Results: Complete 100% of annual appraisals for all active employees.
  • Key Results: Provide supervisor approval of employee self-assessments (mid-year and annual) within 24 hours.
  • Key Results: Schedule follow-up meetings for all staff that earned less than 3/5 (at or below satisfactory performance).

Objective: Strengthen strategic partner relationships

  • Key Results: As measured by 90% satisfaction on the business partner quarterly survey
  • Key Results: Reduce active business line operational tickets by 10% year-over-year
  • Key Results: As measured by 95% business partner attendance in strategic meetings

I want to offer an alternative approach. What if those goals are more strategic in nature, instead of how many different divisions were launched, or how many lines of code were written, they were goals that only could be accomplished through team events. So instead of lines of code, it was the number of disputes logged, or instead of the number of new products launch, for example, it was the customer satisfaction scores. Those leaders don’t directly influence that but they contribute. These types of ideas help ensure that the company is connected from the top to the bottom, and the strategy connects to execution.

Hi, I’m Peter Nichol data science CIO. Hope you found this useful!

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Peter is a technology executive with over 20 years of experience, dedicated to driving innovation, digital transformation, leadership, and data in business. He helps organizations connect strategy to execution to maximize company performance. He has been recognized for Digital Innovation by CIO 100, MIT Sloan, Computerworld, and the Project Management Institute. As Managing Director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CXO advisory services practice, driving digital strategies. Peter was honored as an MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award Finalist in 2015 and is a regular contributor to on innovation. Peter has led businesses through complex changes, including the adoption of data-first approaches for portfolio management, lean six sigma for operational excellence, departmental transformations, process improvements, maximizing team performance, designing new IT operating models, digitizing platforms, leading large-scale mission-critical technology deployments, product management, agile methodologies, and building high-performance teams. As Chief Information Officer, Peter was responsible for Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange’s (HIX) industry-leading digital platform transforming consumerism and retail-oriented services for the health insurance industry. Peter championed the Connecticut marketplace digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile application recognized as a 2014 PMI Project of the Year Award finalist, CIO 100, and awards for best digital services, API, and platform. He also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation, honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader. Peter is the author of Learning Intelligence: Expand Thinking. Absorb Alternative. Unlock Possibilities (2017), which Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Triggers, calls "a must-read for any leader wanting to compete in the innovation-powered landscape of today." Peter also authored The Power of Blockchain for Healthcare: How Blockchain Will Ignite The Future of Healthcare (2017), the first book to explore the vast opportunities for blockchain to transform the patient experience. Peter has a B.S. in C.I.S from Bentley University and an MBA from Quinnipiac University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He earned his PMP® in 2001 and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Masters in Business Relationship Management (MBRM) and Certified Scrum Master. As a Commercial Rated Aviation Pilot and Master Scuba Diver, Peter understands first hand, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.