Goals should come with warnings, they can have unintended effects such as causing systematic problems in organizations due to narrowed focus, unethical behaviour, increased risk taking, decreased cooperation and potentially decreased motivation. Therefore use care when applying goals in your organization.
Mentions a Deloitte study found that no single factor has more impact than “clearly defined goals that are written down and shared freely … goals can create alignment, clarity, and job satisfaction.”
The acronym this book uses throughout is OKR (Objective, Key Results).
An objective is what is to be achieved, they are significant, concrete, action oriented, and (ideally) inspirational. Aspirational OKRs are the highest priority goals in the company after the committed OKRs
Key Results benchmark and monitor how the team is progressing towards the objective.
Effective KRs are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic.
OKR aim to focus, align, track, and stretch.
Refers to these as ‘superpowers’; Focus and Commit to Priorities and Align and Connect for Teamwork
Outlined that Peter Drucker discerned a basic truth of human nature: When people help choose a course of action, they are more likely to see it through. This is basically what this book calls OKR.
With collective goal setting, less is more remember our goals are servants to our purpose, not the other way around. Don’t stubbornly hold to an outdated projection, instead strike it from your list and move on.
When an objective gets dropped before the end of the OKR interval, it’s important to notify everyone depending on it. Then comes reflection: What did I learn that I didn’t foresee at the beginning of the quarter? And: How will I apply this lesson in the future?
Talks about growing YouTube – the big hairy goal was to obtain one billion hours of hours watched daily on YouTube. To reframe this goal is 20% of time TV was watched per day. They found it is easier to build relationships with current viewers than achieve new ones.
Make sure a goal is the right goal in the first place and use continuous performance management (CPM) and consider adjusting accordingly.
Strongly recommends CPM over annual performance management, although does suggest once yearly reviews can be useful for evaluating compensation raises bonuses.
Outlined Adobe transformed changing annual reviews to CPM and subsequently benefited from this. If you are performing an OKR review these are the five questions to ask your staff member:
What are you working on?
How are you doing; how are your OKRs coming along?
Is there anything impeding your work?
What do you need from me to be (more) successful?
How do you need to grow to achieve your career goals?
Mentions an interesting company called Zume Pizzas, this has robots that make pizzas and includes delivery trucks that cook the pizzas when out for delivery. This is a small company planning on expanding and relates their success to good company values. They attempt to be a meritocracy and actively looks for dissent, and it finds a way to bring it up to the surface to rectify issues.
It is important to learn to think like a manager, early on in your career. Initially in your career you’re an individual contributor, graded on the volume and quality of the work that you produce. Then all of a sudden, you’re a manager. If you continue to manage people well you will start to manage more people until you are paid for the quality of decisions you make managing them. However note no one will tell you the rules have changed. If you are not careful when you encounter problems you may just try to worker harder yourself as this tactic had helped your career progression up until then.
At that stage what you should do is more counterintuitive: stop for a moment and think. Close your eyes to really see what’s in front of you, and then pick the best way forward for you and your team to obtain the high priority goals.
At times the biggest risk of all is not taking one.