Skip to content
The yellow measuring tape for the mason is placed on a blue background. Soft focus.
Dan OvergaagApr 24, 2024 6:22:17 PM5 min read

OKRs: Why Measuring What Matters, Matters Even More

Leaders of an organization typically know what the top priorities are for their company and the timeframe they need to be accomplished. But how do you make sure you get there? And what about everyone else in the organization? Clearly documenting your goals and building accountability around the way you measure your progress is essential to making sure you meet your primary objectives. 

Spur Reply’s years of experience supporting our clients’ go-to-market (GTM) challenges, coupled with our deep understanding of executing strategies have allowed us to develop a set of best practices on building (and applying) Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). We’re sharing our tips with you in a four-part blog series that will help you build a strong foundation that drives your business’ success. The series will cover why OKRs are a useful tool for achieving business objectives, how to write effective OKRs, how to create a strong OKR structure, and common mistakes to avoid along your OKR journey.

What are OKRs?

At the forefront of any organization’s momentum lies the continuous achievement of its short- and long-term goals. To achieve those goals, no matter the size or industry, all companies use a combination of execution tools and strategies along the way. 

One goal-setting strategy used by leading global companies, including Google, Zynga, LinkedIn and Bono’s ONE organization are OKRs. Steadily gaining momentum, OKRs are not a new concept. The approach was originally drafted by former Intel President, CEO, and Chairman, Andy Grove. Over his 26 years at Intel, Grove increased revenues from $1.9 billion to $26 billion and largely attributed the company’s success to using OKRs. 

In 1980, John Doerr, a mentee of Grove’s, who would later go on to become a celebrated author and venture capitalist, saw the impact that OKRs made at Intel, further developed his ideas, and sought to share them with the world. He ultimately introduced the concept to about 100 organizations over the next few decades, including Google in 1999. Doerr has since brought international attention to OKRs through mediums like TedTalk, as well as his viral, critically acclaimed book, Measure What Matters.

Fast forward to today, where Spur Reply has developed its own approach to using OKRs that has helped its clients achieve their most ambitious goals. At Spur Reply, we believe OKRs are a superior way to execute your strategies, measure your success, and position you to meet the best possible outcome. This is made possible through identifying your high-level objectives (the ‘O’s’) and the key results (the ‘KRs’) you will use for measuring your progress to achieving those aspirational goals. 

Unlike other commonly used business execution approaches that are often clunky or backwards-looking, OKRs work because they 1) allow you to remain flexible and agile so you can adapt your goals as your priorities evolve and 2) ensure the work your organization prioritizes aligns with company objectives. 

Further, there are five distinct points of value a company can realize when leveraging OKRs; and these values are the anchor points we use when supporting our clients. Effective OKRs should provide:

  • Focus: OKRs allow you and your team(s) to rally behind a small set of carefully chosen priorities
  • Alignment: OKRs clarify your organization’s goals and purpose
  • Commitment: OKRs provide a collective commitment to stick to agreed-upon priorities
  • Tracking: OKRs clearly track progress toward a goal and position you to know exactly when to change tactics
  • Stretching: OKRs empower teams to set goals that make significant, meaningful change

As OKRs have gained popularity in recent years, we’ve seen many companies take them on globally or within a small subset of their teams. Whether you’re three years into your OKR journey or three days in — they are a fantastic tool that allows your team to stay focused on the right work and proactively unblock challenges. 

Why OKRs matter

So why does measuring what matters matter even more today?

As evidenced by the growing use of AI in our day-to-day business practices, companies are trying to do more than ever, yet will inevitably continue to face roadblocks on their way to progress.

OKRs are the best tailored tool to ensure you are tackling the big rocks (strategic priorities) and not just focusing on the sand (activity). With OKRs, your team can produce impactful outcomes rather than an endless stream of activities. Gone are the days of manually updating and re-saving an individual slide with tasks and priorities onto a SharePoint site. Now, more teams are embracing live, automated, and purpose-built OKR solutions that drive impactful conversations and eliminate tedious work. OKRs facilitate the optimization of team and individual engagement so your company can achieve better strategic outcomes across the board. 

Looking ahead

With 20 years of experience partnering with clients from startups to enterprises working in a wide assortment of industries, Spur Reply is uniquely positioned to guide your OKR journey. We know every company’s journey to meeting their goals — no matter how big or small — looks different. Possessing a variety of diverse backgrounds and skillsets, our consultants work to form a deep understanding of the unique challenges you’re facing. We use those learnings to not only build an OKR approach and implementation strategy that fits your individual needs, but partner with you to create effective changes that stick. 

For this series, we’ll be focusing on three areas we commonly see teams struggle with, specifically addressing how to: 

  • Write better OKRs
  • Set up a strong OKR structure
  • Avoid OKR pitfalls

Each of these lessons will help you address the various stages of your OKR journey and allow you to realize your organization’s full potential. 

If you have questions or are ready to get started, feel free to get in touch with us here.

This blog is the first in a series on OKRs. Stay tuned for the second blog in the series on how to write better OKRs.


Dan Overgaag

Dan is a managing director of Spur Reply’s Business Operations practice. With 15+ years of consulting experience, he specializes in advising organizations on their business transformations and leading the successful adoption of their strategic and operations priorities. Dan leverages a process-driven and analytical approach to enable companies to maximize their effectiveness and draw clear, actionable insights that help meet their goals.