Pre-Work for Setting OKRs


Pre-Work for Setting OKRs: Building a Foundation for Success

As a leader, you recognize the importance of setting strategic goals that align your team with your company’s vision. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) offer a proven framework to achieve that alignment, but diving into OKRs without careful planning can lead to misaligned objectives and wasted efforts. Here’s a concise guide to the essential pre-work you need to build a solid foundation for setting impactful OKRs.

1. Clarify Your Mission and Vision

Start by revisiting your organization’s mission (why you exist) and vision (what you want to achieve). Your OKRs should align with this overarching purpose and long-term direction. A clear mission and vision give OKRs meaning and inspire your team to work toward a shared goal.

2. Revisit and Evolve Your Strategy

Examine your current strategy to see if it still aligns with the mission and vision. Adjust the approach to accommodate new trends, market demands, and challenges that have arisen. Evolving your strategy ensures that your OKR remains relevant and takes advantage of emerging opportunities.

  • Consider whether new technology or market shifts require an updated approach.
  • Identify strategic shifts that will help achieve long-term goals.

3. Understand Stakeholder Priorities

Identify the key priorities of customers, investors, and partners to ensure your OKRs reflect their needs.

  • Customers: What pain points are they facing, and how can your OKRs solve them?
  • Investors: What growth targets do they expect you to meet?
  • Partners: How can collaboration enhance your competitive advantage?

Aligning OKRs with these priorities will ensure broader buy-in and a clear focus on value.

4. Set Timeframes and Identify Resources

Decide whether your OKRs will be quarterly or annual, depending on your strategy. Assess available resources—budget, staffing, and tools—to set realistic, achievable goals.

5. Align Across Departments

Hold cross-departmental meetings to ensure alignment across your organization. Each department’s objectives should complement one another to create a cohesive strategy.

  • Host collaborative sessions where departments discuss how their goals support company-wide OKRs.
  • Identify where teams need to work together to deliver key results.

6. Review Past Performance

Examine previous OKRs or strategic plans to see what worked and what didn’t. Were objectives too ambitious or not challenging enough? Did key results deliver tangible outcomes?

Leverage these insights to refine your OKRs, focusing on clear, measurable goals that build on past learnings.

7. Involve Your Team in Brainstorming

Early involvement fosters a sense of ownership. Host brainstorming sessions with your team to explore potential objectives and key results that align with your strategic direction.

  • Encourage employees to share insights into market trends and customer needs.
  • Discuss potential challenges and solutions.

8. Establish Clear Guidelines for Setting OKRs

Create concise guidelines that define what makes a good OKR:

  • Objectives: Ambitious yet achievable goals that are qualitative, time-bound, and aligned with the mission.
  • Key Results: Quantifiable outcomes that are specific, measurable, and linked to the objective.

Stick to 1 OKR set to maintain focus.

9. Establish Review and Feedback Processes

Schedule regular progress reviews (monthly or quarterly) to assess how your OKRs are tracking. This allows for adjustments if needed and creates opportunities to celebrate milestones.

  • Implement a feedback mechanism where teams can share best practices.
  • Encourage recognition to maintain motivation and momentum.


By doing the right pre-work, you’ll set OKRs that align with your company’s strategic direction and inspire your team to achieve measurable success. Clarifying your mission and vision, understanding stakeholder priorities, and aligning across departments will help build the foundation for OKRs that drive meaningful results and keep your organization moving forward together.


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