In the blog post, Gates goes back to the early days of Microsoft in 1978 when he promised Intel (one of his biggest clients back in the day) that he would deliver a version of Microsoft BASIC in four weeks. Naturally, Intel thought that Gates was overpromising and it turned out that he was. Microsoft delivered the product about two weeks late. So, it’s no surprise that Gates admits,
“I felt pretty confident about my coding skills, but I had a lot to learn about project management.”
There are two lessons to be learned from this.
First, everyone’s gotta learn, even Bill Gates. You really can’t build a business empire if you think you know all there is to know.
Secondly, having unclear goals could be hurting your business. For example, simply putting things on a to do list doesn’t mean you can (or have the drive to) get them done.
Why You Should Care About John Doerr’s Bestseller
John Doerr’s New York Times bestseller Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs is based on Intel President Andy Grove’s ideas for the management system called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). In his book, Doerr talks about how the transparent goal-setting practice of implementing OKRs helped Silicon Valley giants, such as Intel and Google, achieve explosive growth.
Credit : Amazon
This must-read book essentially traces Doerr’s association with a start-up which was to become the world’s information giant as we know it: Google.
In the fall of 1999, Doerr met with the founders of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), who had amazing ideas to innovate the world of technology, but also had no real business plan. So, for Google to implement the kind of tech changes they wanted to, they had to make some tough decisions and needed clear objectives, in addition to generating relevant data to track their growth.
Doerr introduced them to the proven method of implementing OKRs, which Andy Grove had leveraged to charter Intel’s immense growth.
Doerr also states that
“Intel was Grove’s laboratory for management innovation. He loved to teach, and the company reaped the benefits.”
What Exactly Are OKRs?
OKRs form part of a popular method of aligning company, team, and personal objectives to measurable results in a hierarchical manner. So, OKRs can easily be broken down into its two components:
- Key results
To implement OKRs, you must first define three to five objectives on the company, team, and individual levels.
These objectives should be challenging, measurable, time bound, and actionable. Once you’ve set the objectives, you need to outline three to five results under each objective. Again, the results should be actionable, measurable, time-sensitive, and challenging. However, they must also be attainable.
Also, OKRs should be aligned with performance, growth or engagement goals and can be score based (0 to 10) or binary (achieved or not achieved).
A huge advantage of using OKRs is that they help employees understand what they’re working towards and help them plan their tasks with the set objectives in mind.
How Can You Grow Your Business with Measure What Matters?
OKRs have definitely stepped out of the Silicon Valley and are now implemented by companies all over the world, from SMEs to Fortune 500 companies.
In Measure What Matters, Doerr traces some epic growth narratives through valuable case studies and exclusive first-person, behind-the-scene interviews. These interviews include those with Bill Gates and Bono and show how OKRs have helped thousands of organizations leverage growth and agility.
Essentially, this book is for all those business leaders who aspire to create a strong bottomline for their business, retain their best talent, and make way for sustainable growth and productivity.
Have you read Measure What Matters? Tell us what you think in the comments!
Featured image credit : Sebastian Vital under CC BY 4.0. No changes were made.