Why business OKR fails?

Updated: Feb 2

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a popular leadership process for setting, communicating, and monitoring goals and results within organizations. The idea behind OKR is to connect company, team, and personal objectives to measurable results from both top down & bottom up. This ensures all leaders & employees work together in one unified direction. While you can write OKRs on a spreadsheet, they are must successfully implemented to be living ones. In this article we are discussing 05 reasons why business OKR fails.


We@work | October 2 2018


Failing OKRs

1. Leaders are not sure about their goals

There are leaders who definitely know where to go & how to get there. However there are other leaders who are not so sure about the business goals. The goals are not S.M.A.R,T - i.e. S (Specific) - M (Measurable) - A (Attainable) - R (Relevant) - T (Time-bound)


This makes their staff struggle to provide KEY RESULTS based on those goals or OBJECTIVES they need to achieve monthly, quarterly or annually. Consequently no S.M.A.R.T OKRs will result in the situation that any organisation might face - "everyone agrees but nothing happens".


WEATWORK.CO comic - When leaders do not know where to go

70% of Weatwork.co respondents believed their leaders do not know exactly where to go or how to get there



2. Too much OKR changes

Leaders or business planners having no or poor business planning is the second biggest reason why OKR fails. The worse senario is when leaders change their mind about planning so often & quickly.



WEATWORK.CO comic -Sofia robot's mind breaks due to leaders change their decisions so quickly


86% of Weatwork.co respondents believed that their business plans change every week, month not even mention everyday (see the right comic - Sofia robot's mind breaks due to leaders change their decisions so quickly)


3. No or poor communication about OKRs

Simply setting a goal is never enough to achieve it. Quite often people 'set and forget', so goals get pushed to the wayside as daily life and activities take over. In order to actually work towards your goals, you must put the goals at the forefront of everything you do. Even more then that is important that everyone in your team and company are aware of what your working on and their part in the process as well.


If people are not aware of what your working on their is no way they can help. And if they don't understand what is expected of them, they may be working against your goals without realizing it. Openly communicating your goals and expectations can help avoid these problems and help everyone move in a unified direction.

WEATWORK.CO comic - Leaders fail to communicate business goals with staff

70% of Weatwork.co respondents believed their leaders keep all their business ideas for themselves without communicating them with staff


4. Making OKR too complicated

Simplicity is the key to life. If you set elaborate goals that have a hundred different variables, there is no way you'll ever achieve them. And coming up with a complex system to measuring them eats away at time you can actually spend accomplishing them. Especially if you are adopting a goal setting system or method like OKRs for the first time, it is important to start simple, focus on your most critical goals, and move forward from there.

WEATWORK.CO comic - Leaders like make & see complicated goals

Only 15% of Weatwork.co respondents believed that their leaders like to make & see simple OKRs or workplans



5. Not measuring OKRs

"Setting & forgetting" business OKRs you already communicated with others by immediately moving onto their next project without ever returning to check the progress of their goal. This is a huge problem that is best exemplified with faulty annual goal.


With Weatwork.co-developed OKR proposals, you can measure OKR progress & problems to make OKR really a living document.



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