BOOK REVIEW: Measure What Matters

I spend a lot of my time helping small business owners and CEOs set goals and create business plans. Many of my clients struggle to create their goals. They are too broad or too specific. Too long-term or too short-term. Too relevant or not realistic enough.

There are lots of books written on goal-setting and many of them are helpful. I recently read what might be the best book on establishing and achieving strategic goals: Measure What Matters written by John Doerr.

Doerr is an entrepreneur turned highly successful venture capitalist who has worked with companies such as Intel, Amazon, and Google. In his New York Times best-selling book, he introduces the reader to a proven approach to operating excellence – Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). In the OKR model, objectives define what we seek to achieve; and key results are how we attain those top-priority goals with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame.

In the book, author John Doerr shares an early example of an OKR from Intel:

Objective: Establish the 8086 as the highest performance 16-bit microprocessor family as measured by:

Key Results:

  • Develop and publish five benchmarks showing superior performance
  • Repackage the entire 8086 family of products
  • Get the 8MHz part into production
  • Sample the arithmetic coprocessor no later than June 15th

The benefits of this goal-setting model are profound. They focus effort and foster organizational coordination. They enhance workplace satisfaction and boost team performance and employee retention.

In What Matters Most, Doerr provides a broad range of examples and case studies using OKRs with many organizations. I look forward to sharing this tool with my small business clients from now on.