Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results

Rate this book
How do you inspire a diverse team to work together, going all out in pursuit of a single, challenging goal? How do you get your team to commit to bold goals? How do you stay motivated despite setbacks and disappointments? And what do you do when it looks like you’re headed for failure?

In Radical Focus, Christina Wodtke combines her hard earned experience as an executive at Zynga, Linkedin and many of Silicon Valley’s hottest companies to answer those questions. It’s not about to-do lists and accountability charts. It’s about creating a framework for regular check-ins, key results, and most of all, the beauty of a good fail – and how to take a temporary disaster and turn it into a future success.

In this book, Wodtke takes you through the fictional case study of Hanna and Jack, who are struggling to survive in their own startup. They fight shiny object syndrome, losing focus, and dealing with communication issues. After hard lessons, they learn the practical steps they need to do what must be done.

The second half of the book demonstrates how to use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to help teams realize big goals in a methodical way, leaving nothing to chance. Laid out in a practical but compelling way, she makes the lessons of Hanna and Jack’s story clear and actionable.

Ready to move your team in the right direction? Read this, and learn the system of creating your focus – and finding success.

"Busy grinding without purpose is the secret death of too many startups. In this memorable story, Christina gives us a glimpse of a more satisfying kind of startup--still hard and chaotic but full of purpose and the chance to build something great."

James Cham, Founder, Bloomberg Beta

"This book is useful, actionable, and actually fun to read! If you want to get your team aligned around real, measurable goals, Radical Focus will teach you how to do it quickly and clearly."

-Laura Klein, Principal, Users Know

"Someone once told me that 'problems are just opportunities that haven’t presented themselves'. Since I was introduced to OKRs, they've been an invaluable tool for me, and our company. Christina's ideas have been instrumental, allowing me to better navigate the often ambiguous approach to goal setting and along the way creating a more open and accountable team and a clearer path for myself professionally. I personally can't thank her enough for the guidance."

Scott Baldwin, Director of Services, Yellow Pencil

"Radical Focus illustrates how to implement OKRs in an engaging, compact, realistic story. Best of all, Wodtke proves OKRs can be fun!" Ben Lamorte, OKRs.com

154 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 1, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Christina Wodtke

9 books161 followers
An established thought leader in Silicon Valley, Christina is a “curious human” with a serious resume. Her past work includes re-design and initial product offerings with LinkedIn, MySpace, Zynga, Yahoo! and others, as well as founding three startups, an online design magazine called Boxes and Arrows, and co-founding the Information Architecture Institute. She is currently a Lecturer at Stanford in the HCI group in the Computer Science department.

Christina teaches worldwide on the intersection of human innovation and high-performing teams. She uses the power of story to connect with audiences and readers through speaking and her Amazon category-bestselling books. Christina’s work is personable, insightful, knowledgeable, and engaging.

Her books include Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web, Pencil Me In, and The Team that Managed Itself. Her bestselling book is a business fable called Radical Focus, which tackles the OKR movement through the powerful story of Hanna and Jack’s struggling tea startup. When the two receive an ultimatum from their only investor, they must learn how to employ OKRs and radical focus to get the right things done.
To connect with Christina or to get more information on how to become a whole-mind, high performing team, visit http://cwodtke.com/ or http://www.eleganthack.com.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,142 (30%)
4 stars
1,594 (42%)
3 stars
832 (22%)
2 stars
158 (4%)
1 star
35 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 388 reviews
Profile Image for Rian Merwe.
Author 3 books56 followers
June 24, 2016
This is a really difficult one to rate. The ideas in the book are great—we are implementing OKRs at our company and this model is perfect for us. That said, the first 2/3rds of the book is almost entirely unnecessary. It's meant to be a real-life application but it reads like a bad romance novel ("Jack grimaced ruefully" is an actual sentence in the book).

My advice is to skip the first 2/3rds entirely, and get to the really great stuff in the last 1/3rd of the book.
Profile Image for kartik narayanan.
731 reviews201 followers
April 16, 2018
Folks, here's our second podcast - on the book Radical Focus. Please listen, share and give us feedback. Podcast

The text review is available at Digital Amrit

Here's an excerpt...
Today we will be looking at Radical Focus – a book which introduces the concept of OKRs – Objectives and Key Results and how they can be used in organizations as well as in our personal lives. Well, what are OKRs and how can they help you?

Let us consider these fictional situations.

You are part of a team and every day your team leader changes the priority. Something that was urgent yesterday is no longer so today or vice versa. Obviously, this is incredibly frustrating.

Or what about this?

You are in a team which is working hard, doing the right things and everything is going on smoothly. All your metrics are great, but you don’t seem to be selling more or your customers continue to be unhappy or maybe the rest of the organization does not understand what you are building.

How about this?

You attend your organization town hall or read a communication about the organizations goals for the next year. You are unable to figure out how this applies to you and you end up trashing the email or zoning out the boring presentation. Maybe you are the one who is communicating your strategy to your employees and they just don’t seem to be getting it.

All these situations have a common theme – how do we set goals for an organization and how do we achieve them. Also, how do we ensure that these larger goals are applicable to teams and to individuals so that there is alignment throughout the organization.

OKRs – Objectives and Key Results – are a fantastic way of achieving all of the above.

Profile Image for Qwantu Amaru.
Author 8 books70 followers
March 20, 2016
Fantastic model - average book

The OKR model is a great way to drive more focus into an organization and achieve greater results. My issue is the structure of the book. Part overview, part fable, and part testimonial it seems like the author should have stuck with a single approach for clarity's sake. Really enjoyed the fable part actually as she writes this as if it were a novel with a great detail orientation.
Profile Image for Simon Eskildsen.
215 reviews946 followers
March 7, 2020
Quick fiction-business read (like The Goal, or Five Dysfunctions) on running simpler projects, with some variant of OKRs. I've read Measure What Matters on OKRs before, which in retrospect needs to be more humble in its approach, which Radical Focus is. I read this book because I wanted to see if it would be a good, digestible book to recommend budding tech leads. For that purpose, it's recommended. It frames what good goals look like, and the importance of a weekly drumbeat to hold each other accountable to those goals. If you're championing projects and looking for an easy-to-read book to gain some perspective, Wodtke has you covered.
Profile Image for Gerard Chiva.
64 reviews8 followers
November 17, 2019
A novel with some good advice about OKRs. But, still a novel.

The essence of the boom could be written in 5 pages and save me a few hours of my time.

If I want to read a novel I read a novel, not a business book.
Profile Image for V.
29 reviews
January 25, 2021
A lot of common sense riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. The book could be condensed to: set a large objective you can use to frame your goals, set smaller reach goals that support the larger objective, rinse and repeat every quarter. Things to watch out for: sandbagging (setting easily-achieved goals), losing momentum after the first failure, maintaining steam and morale in the face of intentionally hard-to-reach goals.

I wouldn't recommend this book. Search "OKRs" and I'm sure the first article or two will give you enough of an introduction to this concept that you can apply it immediately. No need for 150-some odd pages of repetition.
14 reviews
May 4, 2016
I enjoyed parts of this book especially the chapters on the fictional startup. But the rest felt like a really long blog post. If you're new to OKRs, I'd recommend High Output Management by Andy Grove instead.
Profile Image for Erin Weigel.
66 reviews13 followers
April 9, 2016
I primarily read business and personal development books, and I tend to have an aversion to any kind of fiction. When I read stories or novels, they're almost always based on real events or are biographies.

The way Christina Wodtke wrote "Radical Focus" is a refreshing approach to business books, which uses storytelling as a method of teaching the goal-setting philosophy behind OKRs. I'm certain I will find myself referring to the events and learning from the characters in the book while my team embarks on the collective setting of our own OKRs.

Quick and easy read with lots of actionable advice you can set into motion at your own place of work.
Profile Image for Kristina.
123 reviews
September 24, 2017
The book is an oxymoron. The title is intriguing but the 150 pages could have been one A4 instead. I’m a big fan of OKR system, but the book is written for either very low intelligence or for someone who has a lot of downtime. Skip the first 100 pages and read titles from then onwards. There are better resources on web.
Profile Image for Ricardo Magalhães.
61 reviews12 followers
February 21, 2016
I never thought I'd rate a business-oriented book 5 stars, not owning a business myself, but here I am doing so. I've always been vaguely aware of OKRs and how they could be applied to business thinking, but never in such clarity as I now possess after reading this. Firstly, the book itself is beautifully engaging; using storytelling, Christina stays clear of the typical "shoulds and musts" in every technical book out there. Mind you, these bits exist, but they're very cleverly inserted between the storyline and after it ends.

I now feel like I have a superpower that very people know about. Even if you don't own a business, there's so many takeaways from this book that you can apply to pretty much every situation that implies a little bit of planning. While there's an overall feeling that all of this could be condensed into a dense blog post about OKRs, it's the way that it's written that separates this from all the others. Very recommended.
March 19, 2017
Very nice book with a smart style that goes from the definition to an amazing example story to more insights to a number of valuable quotes to a final summary. I recommend to add more fine grained examples and guidance comments that cover lower management levels.
Profile Image for Faith.
59 reviews1 follower
December 28, 2017
Skip the stupid narrative about the hipster tea company and go straight to the end of the book where there’s some helpful info on OKRs. Like most business books, this could have been a pamphlet.
Profile Image for Regimantas Urbanas.
13 reviews5 followers
January 22, 2021
A great intro guide to the OKRs framework, but nothing ground-breaking if you've been working with them for some years. I found that story of the struggling organic tea start-up to be slightly too elaborate, yet it could be perfect and relatable for any SMB owner.

The best of this book actually starts by the end of it, at approx 80% progress mark. So, do not get discouraged by that extensive story in the beginning of the book ;) most practical tips comes after.
34 reviews4 followers
May 1, 2022
Μου πήρε παραπάνω και από το 100 χρόνια μοναξιά και ήταν μόλις 150 σελίδες. Μου το πρότεινε το boss. Εντάξει καλό ήτανε- τι να πω, μπορεί να μας ακούνε :D
Θέλω μυθοπλασία δεν τα μπορώ αυτά τα βιβλία-Το πρώτο μισό έχει ένα στορυ - το δεύτερο αναλύει τα OKRs και δίνει κάποια tips. Έχει κάποιο ενδιαφέρον το σημείο που περιγράφει πως τα OKRs μπορεί να έρχονται σε σύγκρουση (προσωπικά, εταιρίας, crossfunctional teams).
Profile Image for Sebastian Castillo.
40 reviews3 followers
March 4, 2021
Short and nice reading... starts as a fiction nicely done story with a classic startup conflict and focus problem. Then introduces in an elegant, succinct yet insightful manner the OKR concept with practical advice and tools for you.

It’s the kind of book you read and then you go and implement a change in your company.
Profile Image for Viktor Lototskyi.
148 reviews2 followers
April 22, 2021
Short and actionable book on the subject.
As usually with author books, the first half is a fictional story around company, the second half is theory.
Profile Image for Yaniv Preiss.
12 reviews1 follower
May 8, 2022
Very good theoretical and practical explanations.
More examples of good and bad OKRs would be really helpful, especially of things that are hard to measure.
Profile Image for Luka.
43 reviews9 followers
February 13, 2023
What I expected was a mid-tier business book talking about importance of goal driven culture in a workplace, with full focus on achieving the same. And in a sense I did.

But I also got an excellent, practical, hands on example of how to implement an OKR framework, from a person who has used in multiple successful organizations, who has seen the downfalls and wins of the system, and has go-to advice on how to use it correctly. And it comes with a bonus of descriptive story of two founders, in a classical hero journey circle - they are ambitious, but they almost fail, before they are saved by the almighty deus ex-machina - the OKRs.

It's short and effective with it’s point, and I’d recommend this to any busy startup owner.
Profile Image for Jose Papo.
260 reviews133 followers
February 20, 2016
This book explains about the OKRs system of management. It uses the format of a novel (like the book "The Goal" by Goldratt) to explain the concepts. It's very basic and doesn't go deep in specific details and questions, but it's a good book if you are starting with the OKRs system.
Profile Image for Ran.
11 reviews1 follower
May 20, 2019
The book is a fable of an early stage startup and the author uses the story to show the importance of focus and introduced the OKR framework that will help with focus. Really excited about trying out the framework.
Profile Image for Ola.
41 reviews10 followers
April 7, 2016
A page turner and a very useful one.
Profile Image for Tiago Giusti.
24 reviews2 followers
January 22, 2020
Eu adoto OKR na minha empresa (com experimentos de Personal OKR também) desde 2016. Já consumi muita coisa desde então, mas nada como este livro. Muitos de vocês podem se enxergar na Hanna e no Jack, personagens retratados no início do livro; um negócio com falta de foco, gestão precária e sem entregas de valor real e resultados. OKR e os aprendizados do livro não são para seu time trabalhar mais, mas sim focar no que importa. Este livro será incrível pra você que está começando com OKR, mas também relevante pra quem quer expandir e ressignificar seus conhecimentos. Ps.: Amei o framework proposto de usar o foursquare com OKR, Health Metrics e acompanhamento através de prioridades da semana e celebrações. Estou ansioso para começar a adotar! Boa leitura pra vc!
Profile Image for my.
60 reviews18 followers
May 1, 2021
To borrow phrasing from my Dad, this book is absolutely... mediocre.

What's the point? To present a methodology for achieving goals called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Did the book do so? Yes. Was there a ton of superfluous and redundant information? Oh yeah. Lots of typos and questionable grammar too.

All in all, there is good information presented in this book. As a software engineer that is aware of OKRs but has never experienced them in practice, I'm left with increased curiosity to seek opportunities where the OKR approach can be tried. That said, it came with the cost of a convoluted (though sometimes amusing) parable and also additional sections that seemed to attempt explaining the same concepts in as many different ways as possible.
Profile Image for Brendon Wilson.
5 reviews5 followers
January 2, 2019
A good way to start the New Year!

Christina foregoes the usual padding common in most business books and delivers a concise, compelling argument for the use of OKRs in business and in life. A quick, enjoyable read for anyone seeking a better way to set and track their project’s progress.

I have only two complaints: 1) I’d like to see more examples of well-stipulated Objectives and Key Results to complement the instructional text (or possibly a set of self-guided exercises with questions to ask one’s self as part of refining a set of OKRs); and 2) There were enough small, easily avoidable grammatical errors to be distracting (they caught my eye easily enough, and caused me to re-read a number of sentences). Highly recommended despite these minor complaints.
Profile Image for Lam.
7 reviews
October 11, 2020
Easy read with pracical way to apply. This is the second book about the OKR i read (first one is Measure what matter). Even the first one is aso very good 5star read, it will be a little bit difficult to apply for the beginners. This book is a kind of telling story and guide ppl how to use OKR in a simpler form. Hence, it’s very suitable for beginner and can apply immediately. This book can be read easily by everyone from the executive to manager, from product to finance or marketing, etc.
Rate 5star for this perspective.
Profile Image for Niklas Heer.
76 reviews9 followers
March 12, 2021
This book packs a lot of knowledge about the Objective and Key Result (OKR) system into a short book.
I liked that it started with a captivating story about a young startup.
The last third of the books are filled with useful tips to use OKRs.
I recommend this book to everyone interested in OKRs and all leaders.
Profile Image for Alpha.
5 reviews
January 13, 2019
Definitely worth a read!

“Why do we fail to meet our goals?”

This book acknowledges the one thing we all know but some find difficult to admit: that we fail to meet our goals. Then proceeds to explain how to move from there to achieving them
Displaying 1 - 30 of 388 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.