Venture capitalist John Doerr was a pioneer in Silicon Valley, building companies such as Intel and Google to be what they are today. In Doerr’s New York Times bestseller Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs, Doerr chronicles how Google and others broke through being startups to become companies with hundreds of billions in enterprise value.
Google embraced management practices first introduced in “the Valley” by Andy Grove of Intel. Grove’s maniacal focus on OKRs (objectives and key results) was the straw that stirred the drink.
Doerr’s book resonates with me because we operate in an environment in which more and more is written and said about measurement and metrics, and yet it feels harder to hold people accountable. Our business culture is ripe with poorly-planned projects, missed deadlines, and badly-executed meetings.
What’s truly fascinating about OKRs is that they work for large and small companies for different reasons. Startups have limited resources and little time and capital to waste. OKRs help them achieve more with less. Large companies are often challenged to manage value-destroying complexity and need common goals across divisions and geographies.