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An Introduction To OKR: How Tech Giants Like Google, Amazon Set (and Achieve) Goals

Oct 8, 2019

The startup scenario in Bangladesh is evolving fast. In recent years, we have seen a significant number of startups scaling up, thanks to the influx of investments from angels and VCs. Scaling up your venture requires that the company diversifies and expands focus on different areas of the business, devise new strategies, set new goals to achieve substantial revenues or growth.

And this is where the challenges to keep the focus on the wildly important goals arise. The flood of innovative plans and ideas often distracts the leaders from their original vision. If the company loses focus from the primary goals, and rather start channeling energy and resources to the secondary ones, not only the growth falters, but also the company starts to lose competitive advantages. Remember that 95% of business fails within 5 years of starting?

I recall an article in Business Insider where John Ive quoted that Steve Jobs would help him improve his focus by asking every day, - 'How many times did you say no today?' (To learn more about the rules for focused success in this highly distracted world, read my book review on Deep Work in Future Startup or watch this video with Md. Sohan Haidear, Founder & CEO of Smartifier Academy).

On the other hand, being ruthlessly focused on the things that matter leads to achieving dramatic growth and success. Thus, measuring the right things the right way is not only a priority, but it’s also a MUST!

While discussing with various founders and leaders, I found it very alarming that even many prominent startups are operating without a proper goal setting system at all. This is surely a recipe for failure. According to Tony Robbins, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

Hence I now strongly advocate and preach about OKR (Objectives Key Results) - an effective goal management system used by Google, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Uber, Dropbox, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Oracle, Slack, Salesforce and many others. It is a simple tool to create alignment and engagement around measurable goals.

OKR is central to Google's culture as a management methodology. It ensures that the company focuses on the same important issues throughout the organization. OKR was introduced to Google first by John Doerr. Larry Page, the CEO of Alphabet and co-founder of Google, credited OKRs within the foreword to Doerr's book: "OKRs have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over. They’ve helped make our crazily bold mission of 'organizing the world’s information' perhaps even achievable. They’ve kept me and the rest of the company on time and on track when it mattered the most."

What is OKR?

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Mark Anupom Mollick is an experienced Software Engineer, MarTech & Business Strategy Consultant. Currently, he is also a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Candidate in IBA (DU), where his research areas are Startups and Growth Hacking. Anupom is a strong believer of maximizing output, achieving geometric growth and continuously improving performance. Feel free to reach him at or contact via LinkedIn.

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