It’s no surprise that John Doerr’s latest book, Measure What Matters is already a New York Times bestseller. In it he shares the two secrets behind many of the successful businesses he has invested in and helped build over the years. His secret is that OKRs and CFRs are, in fact, what matters most.
Don’t be off put by the acronyms…that’s just how we talk here in Silicon Valley:
OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results; where “O” is for objective and is what the business wants to achieve. “KR” is for the key results and is what the business needs to see in each specific time period in order to achieve the objective.
CFR stands for Conversations, Feedback and Recognition. These elements, along with OKRs, are foundational to the process of Continuous Performance Management (™) — and is how each employee in your workforce can be motivated to achieve today’s goals and to develop their skills to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Continuous Performance Management replaces the universally loathed and ineffective annual performance review with a valuable, continuous process that actually works for the organization.
Doerr devotes the first part of Measure What Matters to a deep dive into OKRs. He shares, with insightful, behind-the-scenes stories, how using OKRs helped to transform Google, YouTube, Intuit, Nuna and others into the successes we know today. He recommends at least a quarterly review of OKRs to allow for timely course correction and to support an agile, organization-wide response to the inevitable changes in the marketplace.
A critical element of why OKRs work so well is their transparency up, down and across the entire organization. This transparency enables every person in the workforce to see how what they do ladders up to the most important goals of the organization. This visibility and alignment are critical for recruiting, engaging and retaining the top talent needed in every high-growth organization.
Doerr’s explanations makes OKRs accessible — removing any intimidation around this strategic process. The reader walks away with an understanding of how OKRs are truly a silver bullet for growth and can be applied to every business, in any industry, at any part of a company’s lifecycle.
OKRs + CFRs = Continuous Performance Management
In the second half of his book, Doerr introduces Continuous Performance Management and these key elements: Conversations, Feedback and Recognition (CFRs). Doerr describes CFRs as “giving OKRs their human voice.”
Team members want and need real, authentic relationships with their managers. This trust is necessary for coaching, feedback and development to be effective, and it is through talking together about both work and life, that this trust is built.
To positively influence performance, coaching and feedback need to happen continuously, not be saved up for a scheduled review timeline. Feedback also needs to flow bi-directionally and between peers. This is especially important as the world of work has moved from hierarchy to one where problems are solved within cross-functional teams.
Positive recognition also needs to be continuous — both from managers and their peers. And, importantly, rewards and must be individualized to each employee. This is especially important for top performers who need to see their outsized contributions be appropriately rewarded both financially and with unique opportunities to learn, build new skills and take on new challenges.
To illustrate the power of continuous performance management Doerr includes more true-life stories from Lumeris, Zume Pizza, Coursera, Adobe and more. He shares how each business benefited from a highly motivated, engaged workforce when they transformed their old performance review cycles into a continuous performance management program.
OKRs and CFRs are the heart of everything we do at 1X.
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