What are "Objectives" and "Key Results" in OKRs?

thinkydoers podcast Aug 28, 2023


We're excited to share Chapter Two of our work-in-progress Evolutionary OKRs Playbook with you. This chapter re-introduces Objectives and Key Results for people who may be less familiar with traditional approaches, and then shifts into the unique elements of the Evolutionary OKR model (which we've developed specifically to aid innovative and transformative organizations and teams in setting and achieving bigger, bolder goals). 

I also share a bit more about what we mean when we talk about the Evolutionary Organization. 

I share the actual definition that I use for the terms "Objective" and "Key Result," and I cut to the chase and provide the most essential question each of those terms answers in our businesses, and the building-block-formulas I use to help make sure we're creating useful, usable Objectives AND Key Results every time.

If you'd like to receive each chapter before it goes live on the podcast, join our email list: http://redcurrantco.com/newsletter

Key Points from this Episode:

  • Objectives and Key Results are introduced as a method for collaborative goal setting and alignment. 
  • OKRs bridge the gap between high-level strategy and tactical implementation, ensuring alignment with important outcomes. 
  • OKRs were popularized by John Doerr's book "Measure What Matters" and were influenced by Peter Drucker's "Management by Objectives." 
  • Over 127 different OKR management software platforms have caused some confusion in OKR methodology. 
  • Sara introduces the Evolutionary OKR model, which is her approach to OKRs, especially suited for high-change, innovation-oriented organizations. 
  • Evolutionary OKRs are about achieving growth, transformation, and innovation by aligning with important measures of success. 
  • Evolutionary organizations align on their theory of success and progress before planning activities, fostering continuous learning. 
  • Objectives are directional, purpose statements describing what to pursue and why; they provide focus on essential improvement directions. 
  • Key Results are objectively measurable targets describing essential measures of progress and success towards an objective. 
  • Key Results should not describe activities but outcomes; they need to be creatively measurable and focused. 
  • Evolutionary OKRs encourage outcome-based goals as key results, recognizing the importance of influence and aspiration. 
  • Key Results are experiments in quantifying improvement, focusing on the most important measures of progress and success. 


  • "There is no one correct way to implement OKRs." — @saralobkovich [04:35]
  • "Key Results should not describe activities but outcomes" — @saralobkovich [00:16:48]
  • "Well-formed OKRs can help us fill the gap between our high-level strategy and our tactical implementation decisions." — @saralobkovich [00:03:18]
  • "Objectives are like mini vision statements. They describe the small number of important directions we're looking to improve in." — @saralobkovich [00:16:20]
  • "Evolutionary OKRs are a practice for thinking deeply and quickly about what's most important and what might be possible." — @saralobkovich [00:10:51]
  • "Key results are our experiments in quantifying our improvement. They make clear what objective measures we're working to improve on as our most important measures of progress and/or success." — @saralobkovich [00:22:32]
  • "Objectives and Key Results or OKRs are a method for collaborative goal setting and alignment." — @saralobkovich [00:03:14]
  • "In an evolutionary environment, we're either winning or we're learning, and our learnings help us improve the likelihood that we'll win in the future." — @saralobkovich [00:10:45]

Full Episode Transcript:

The full copy for this episode is available on our "sister site," RedCurrantCo.com!