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Measure What Matters Measure What Matters by John Doerr
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Measure What Matters Quotes Showing 1-30 of 73
“We don’t hire smart people to tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. —Steve Jobs”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“We must realize—and act on the realization—that if we try to focus on everything, we focus on nothing.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters
“Leaders must get across the why as well as the what. Their people need more than milestones for motivation. They are thirsting for meaning, to understand how their goals relate to the mission.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“Bad companies,” Andy wrote, “are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“When people have conflicting priorities or unclear, meaningless, or arbitrarily shifting goals, they become frustrated, cynical, and demotivated.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“An effective goal-setting system starts with disciplined thinking at the top, with leaders who invest the time and energy to choose what counts.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“Alongside focus, commitment is a core element of our first superpower. In implementing OKRs, leaders must publicly commit to their objectives and stay steadfast”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“The best way to solve a management problem, he believed, was through “creative confrontation”—by facing people “bluntly, directly, and unapologetically.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“And it couldn’t have happened without the key result system. If Andy had run the San Jose meeting without it, how could he have simultaneously kicked off all those Crush activities? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people walk out of meetings saying, “I’m going to conquer the world” … and three months later, nothing has happened. You get people whipped up with enthusiasm, but they don’t know what to do with it. In a crisis, you need a system that can drive transformation—quickly. That’s what the key result system did for Intel. It gave management a tool for rapid implementation. And when people reported on what they’d gotten done, we had black-and-white criteria for assessment.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters
“My first PowerPoint slide defined OKRs: “A management methodology that helps to ensure that the company focuses efforts on the same important issues throughout the organization.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“KEY RESULTS benchmark and monitor HOW we get to the objective. Effective KRs are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic. Most of all, they are measurable and verifiable. (As prize pupil Marissa Mayer would say, “It’s not a key result unless it has a number.”)”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“we broke the objective out into new revenue (marketing) and repeat revenue (product),”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“Short for Objectives and Key Results. It is a collaborative goal-setting protocol for companies, teams, and individuals. Now, OKRs are not a silver bullet. They cannot substitute for sound judgment, strong leadership, or a creative workplace culture. But if those fundamentals are in place, OKRs can guide you to the mountaintop.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters
“Google: The hairier the mission, the more important your OKRs.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“The art of management,” Grove wrote, “lies in the capacity to select from the many activities of seemingly comparable significance the one or two or three that provide leverage well beyond the others and concentrate on them.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“You can tell people to clean up a mess, but should you be telling them which broom to use? When top management was saying “We’ve got to crush Motorola!” somebody at the bottom might have said “Our benchmarks are lousy; I think I’ll write some better benchmarks.” That was how we worked.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“OKRs surface your primary goals. They channel efforts and coordination. They link diverse operations, lending purpose and unity to the entire organization.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“Contributors are most engaged when they can actually see how their work contributes to the company’s success. Quarter to quarter, day to day, they look for tangible measures of their achievement. Extrinsic rewards—the year-end bonus check—merely validate what they already know. OKRs speak to something more powerful, the intrinsic value of the work itself.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“The practice that molded me at Intel and saved me at Sun—that still inspires me today—is called OKRs. Short for Objectives and Key Results. It is a collaborative goal-setting protocol for companies, teams, and individuals. Now, OKRs are not a silver bullet. They cannot substitute for sound judgment, strong leadership, or a creative workplace culture. But if those fundamentals are in place, OKRs can guide you to the mountaintop.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“In the early 1980s, I took a fourteen-month sabbatical from Kleiner to lead the desktop division at Sun Microsystems. Suddenly I found myself in charge of hundreds of people. I was terrified. But Andy Grove’s system was my bastion in a storm, a source of clarity in every meeting I led. It empowered my executive team and rallied the whole operation. Yes, we made our share of mistakes. But we also achieved amazing things, including a new RISC microprocessor architecture, which secured Sun’s lead in the workstation market. That was my personal proof point for what I was bringing, all these years later, to Google.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“You know, in our business we have to set ourselves uncomfortably tough objectives, and then we have to meet them. And then after ten milliseconds of celebration we have to set ourselves another [set of] highly difficult-to-reach objectives and we have to meet them. And the reward of having met one of these challenging goals is that you get to play again.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“An optimal OKR system frees contributors to set at least some of their own objectives and most or all of their key results. People are led to stretch above and beyond, to set more ambitious targets and achieve more of those they set: “The higher the goals, the higher the performance.” People who choose their destination will own a deeper awareness of what it takes to get there. When our how is defined by others, the goal won’t engage us to the same degree. If my doctor orders me to lower my blood pressure by training for the San Francisco Marathon, I might grudgingly take it under advisement. But if I decide of my own free will to run the race, I’m far more likely to reach the finish line—especially if I’m running with friends.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters
“Engineers struggle with goal setting in two big ways. They hate crossing off anything they think is a good idea, and they habitually underestimate how long it takes to get things done.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“It takes intellectual rigor to effect change; it requires very serious strategies, indeed. If the heart doesn’t find a perfect rhyme with the head, then your passion means nothing. The OKR framework cultivates the madness, the chemistry contained inside it.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“From: Jonathan Rosenberg Date: Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 2:59 PM Subject: Amidst boundless opportunities, 13 PMs whiff on OKRs (names included) Product Gang, As most of you know, I strongly believe that having a good set of quarterly OKRs is an important part of being successful at Google. That’s why I regularly send you notes reminding you to get them done on time, and why I ask managers to review them to make sure all of our OKRs are good. I’ve tried notes that are nice and notes that are mean. Personal favorites include threatening you with Jonathan’s Pit of Despair in October 07 and celebrating near perfection in July 08. Over time I iterated this carrot/stick approach until we reached near 100% compliance. Yay! So then I stopped sending notes, and look what happened: this quarter, SEVERAL of you didn’t get your OKRs done on time, and several others didn’t grade your Q2 OKRs. It turns out it’s not the type of note I send that matters, but the fact that I send anything at all! Names of the fallen are duly noted below (with a pass given to several AdMob employees who are new to the ways of Google, and to many of you who missed the deadline but still got them done in July). We have so many great opportunities before us (search, ads, display, YouTube, Android, enterprise, local, commerce, Chrome, TV, mobile, social . . .) that if you can’t come up with OKRs that get you excited about coming to work every day, then something must be wrong. In fact, if that’s really the case, come see me. In the meantime, please do your OKRs on time, grade your previous quarter’s OKRs, do a good job at it, and post them so that the OKR link from your moma [intranet] page works. This is not administrative busywork, it’s an important way to set your priorities for the quarter and ensure that we’re all working together. Jonathan”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“Stretch goals can be crushing if people don’t believe they’re achievable.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little. —Andy Grove”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
“Less is more. “A few extremely well-chosen objectives,” Grove wrote, “impart a clear message about what we say ‘yes’ to and what we say ‘no’ to.” A limit of three to five OKRs per cycle leads companies, teams, and individuals to choose what matters most. In general, each objective should be tied to five or fewer key results. (See chapter 4, “Superpower #1: Focus and Commit to Priorities.”) Set goals from the bottom up. To promote engagement, teams and individuals should be encouraged to create roughly half of their own OKRs, in consultation with managers. When all goals are set top-down, motivation is corroded. (See chapter 7, “Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork.”) No dictating. OKRs are a cooperative social contract to establish priorities and define how progress will be measured. Even after company objectives are closed to debate, their key results continue to be negotiated. Collective agreement is essential to maximum goal achievement. (See chapter 7, “Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork.”) Stay flexible. If the climate has changed and an objective no longer seems practical or relevant as written, key results can be modified or even discarded mid-cycle. (See chapter 10, “Superpower #3: Track for Accountability.”) Dare to fail. “Output will tend to be greater,” Grove wrote, “when everybody strives for a level of achievement beyond [their] immediate grasp. . . . Such goal-setting is extremely important if what you want is peak performance from yourself and your subordinates.” While certain operational objectives must be met in full, aspirational OKRs should be uncomfortable and possibly unattainable. “Stretched goals,” as Grove called them, push organizations to new heights. (See chapter 12, “Superpower #4: Stretch for Amazing.”) A tool, not a weapon. The OKR system, Grove wrote, “is meant to pace a person—to put a stopwatch in his own hand so he can gauge his own performance. It is not a legal document upon which to base a performance review.” To encourage risk taking and prevent sandbagging, OKRs and bonuses are best kept separate. (See chapter 15, “Continuous Performance Management: OKRs and CFRs.”) Be patient; be resolute. Every process requires trial and error. As Grove told his iOPEC students, Intel “stumbled a lot of times” after adopting OKRs: “We didn’t fully understand the principal purpose of it. And we are kind of doing better with it as time goes on.” An organization may need up to four or five quarterly cycles to fully embrace the system, and even more than that to build mature goal muscle.”
John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

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