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  • Philippe Prévost

OKR: Silicon Valley's secret weapon of success


Multiplying your growth by ten is an immense challenge. Yet for Silicon Valley tech companies, it’s commonplace. How have companies like Google, LinkedIn and Tesla managed to dominate their market and maintain this position so efficiently and quickly? One of the key ingredients of their success is the most powerful tool in their region, OKRs.

The “OKR” approach, an acronym for “Objectives and Key Results”, consists of formulating objectives and documenting key results (formulated in S.M.A.R.T. mode “Specific, Measurable, Achievable , Realistic, Temporal") necessary to achieve the objective.


This approach, which has revolutionized the world of technology for several decades, was born thanks to Andrew Grove, CEO of Intel. However, it was one of these apprentices, John Doerr, who really popularized this management framework when he came to Google in 1999, when the company had only 35 employees.

The fundamental principle behind management by OKR is to change how a company executes its strategy by focusing on the alignment of teams on the achievement of objectives and key results versus top-down directive management which dictates to the workforce what 'they have to do. Super-performing companies do not focus their energy on delivering projects and initiatives in the action plan, but rather elevate the thinking on the desired results and their surpassing.


This change in thinking transforms corporate culture by creating a context that favors the emergence of decentralized judgment, initiative, agile problem solving and the ability to identify and exploit opportunities which accelerate the achievement of objectives. When mature, the OKR approach increases the deployment of the organization and becomes a source of competitive advantages in the race for market share, talent attraction, innovation and access to strategic capital. /p>


The starting points for implementing the OKR approach are the strategic axes resulting from the strategic planning process. Subsequently, each of the axes will be expressed in OKRs and will be supported by an OKR tree at each organizational level. A Strategy-Execution alignment emerges which highlights the departmental interdependencies and the collaborations required of the teams to achieve the objectives.


Alignment, execution sequence and team synchronization are the keys to accelerating the growth of your business. At maturity, almost 60% of OKRs come from the teams. It is therefore important that execution planning is done in bottom-up management mode and not in top-down mode. By doing this, teams understand their contribution and make a link between daily life and strategic imperatives. The effect on mobilization and accountability opens the door to setting ambitious objectives and allows teams to move into creativity and innovation mode.


While structuring execution, aligning efforts and focusing on results rather than tasks have a strong impact on a business, implementing a sustained cadence that includes an annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly review cycle and daily is fundamental to the OKR approach. This rhythm is a source of rigor and discipline, which translate into great agility in the face of inevitable opportunities and risks.


As in my last article Interpreting the figures to take action and win, when teams see the progress of their objectives and those of the company, it allows them to rejoice and increases as a result. even their happiness and job satisfaction.


The visibility of OKRs is therefore fundamental to improving productivity and performance. This is why all this information is put on a digital platform – which feeds key results with operational data in real time – accessible to all employees.


These platforms are essential because they enable transparency, communication and stimulate collaboration, which accelerates the achievement of objectives. There are several platforms such as Five15, Profit.co, BetterWorks and Perdoo. Microsoft has also acquired Ally.io, a startup which secured US$76 million in funding, and created VIVA Goals which will be integrated into its product range.

In life as in business, it is by learning from the success and mistakes of others that we can improve our lot. The great success of Silicon Valley is a source of motivation and the success of the OKR approach has a lot to do with it. The current economic context will reward companies that have invested in their effectiveness and efficiency. Whether you are a technology company, a manufacturer or a service company, OKRs are the best investments you can make to weather economic instability and win.


The opportunity is there, we need to seize it. Otherwise, your competitor will do it for you.

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