Measure what matters: OKRs – The simple idea that drives 10x growth

10 August 2018 / Andy Wright

John Doerr’s new book on OKRs, Measure What Matters offers readers a comprehensive guide to a successful business and achieving top-priority goals with cost effective and simple philosophical changes. John Doerr a highly successful silicon valley investor, engineer and venture capitalist  who built his wealth of knowledge from years at Intel, before selling his understanding of OKRs to massive businesses worldwide. With a net worth of $8 Billion it’s safe to say his methods work.

Doerr has been instrumental in spreading OKRs from world changing organisations such as Google and the Gates Foundation. This book is written to divulge the secrets of an easy success. Anyone can achieve this simple pattern, it’s just determination that drives growth. With a foreword from Larry Page – Alphabet CEO and Google Cofounder praising OKRs its easy to see how this book has quickly become a triumph. Page writes fondly about Doerr adding esteem to the novel as his name holds recognition since he’s highly known for being a successful business man.

“Many of us don’t set goals at all. Most people start with the goals – what I want to achieve and how – but the fundamental question is why.”


What are OKRs?

Objectives and Key Results, what are they really? While they’ve been adopted by respected businesses such as Google, Bill Gates and rock star Bono at his One Campaign to end extreme poverty, they’re still shrouded in mystery and confusion. After reading Measure What Matters I’ve found the concept to be pretty simple, every business can use OKRs to become more successful.

OKRs = a simple goal setting system that works for companies and teams to achieve hard results. Objectives define what you wish to achieve while Key Results are how those top-priority goals will be attained in a realistic manner. Doerr instructs to write down and share your goals with everybody, these are the eventual goals that you desire to have accomplished. Then you do the same with your key results, which is how you’re going to get it done.

Objectives = ‘Whats’ / Key Results = ‘Hows’


Achieving Goals

Measure what matters explains the detail ins and outs of OKRs focusing on the least understood part of Doerr’s philosophy. While setting ambitious goals is one of OKRs most essential principles, its emphasised upon in the book that business leaders should no longer dictate their work through the top-down hierarchy.

Doerr states that there are two forms of OKRs; Aspirational and Committed. Aspirational OKRs are higher risk, and your teams should only aim to reach 60/70% of these targets, whereas Committed OKRs are more predictable and therefore demand less creativity and genius. These goals should be at a 100% attainment goal.

Doerr defines OKRs as “adaptable by nature,”a phrase I love, allowing you to modify them to suit your individual needs.


The Book

John Doerr offers the reader three different ways to learn. Allowing you are your company to find and utilise the section that suits your strategy of training the most productively.

The first book offers the classical management text, that provides in detail a comprehensive system of corporate management. This  first section of the novel supplies research that backs up its efficacy and provides tools and examples that allows the reader to independently implement its ideas. I found this section incredibly effective, using it my advantage in my own business.

The second segment is comprised of in-depth first-person experiences from real-world leaders and organisations, citing how they’ve implemented OKRs to achieve great results. You’ll hear the inside scoop from leading companies including Google on how OKRs helped create chrome and manipulated YouTube into an online video force to be reckoned with.

Doerr’s utilisation of many Narrators allows the audience a range of voices and experiences to use and relate to, finding your business inspiration could never be easier.

Finally, the third book acts as somewhat of a homage to many of the great business legends of Silicon Valley, where Doerr based his roots. John states that these timeless lessons should be better known by today’s business owners, Founders and CEOs; a fact which I fully agree with. A book full of reminiscing and helpful tips, John fondly remembers his days at Intel, working amongst figures like Andy Grove and Bill Davidow, when they launched their company, defying all odds to beat other companies in the microchip business.



Whether you’re a seasoned CEO or a first-time start-up owner Doerr’s Measure what Matters provides valuable lessons, tools and some much-needed inspiration empowering business owners to achieving their goals.


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