Often, founders and CEOs of small businesses get their hands dirty and engage in many aspects of the daily running of the business. They may own a sales quota or be on the hook for processing payroll. But, as the company grows and new team members are hired, the role of the CEO changes. You’re still head of the company, but your role becomes more strategic and less tactical; things like “promote company culture” can be hard to quantify as an OKR.
If you are rolling out a goal management system like OKRs, the CEO plays a critical role in the change management process. We’ve seen over and over that the likelihood of success for a goal management program is very low without the engagement and buy-in of the top leadership. So, if everyone is looking to you to see if you’re serious about OKRs, you better have some on your dashboard to model the way. But, if you’re shifting more tactical work to others on the team, you may be wondering what your OKRs should be.
To help get your OKR ideas flowing, here are some examples of OKRs for CEOs:
Objective: Exceed financial targets set by the Board of Directors for the year
- Key Result: Increase profitability by x%
- Key Result: Exceed revenue growth goals
Objective: Receive recognition as Best Place to Work
- Key Result: Hire Head of Talent to improve the employee experience
- Key Result: Ensure each employee has a career growth path
- Key Result: Increase employee engagement scores by x%
Objective: Expand market presence to win more deals
- Key Result: Partner with marketing agency to gain brand awareness
- Key Result: Increase speaking engagements and social media engagement
- Key Result: Identify and join at least three high-impact associations
Objective: Establish a customer advisory board to understand their needs
- Key Result: Recruit 10 customers to participate
- Key Result: Host at least one gathering per quarter
- Key Result: Gather actionable insights for new product offerings
You are right if you think some of these Key Results are pretty tactical. But that’s the beauty of cascading OKRs throughout your organization. You can own the high-level objective, and the Key Results can become Objectives for your direct reports or their teams. For example, recruiting customers for the advisory board could fall to your head of customer success, and ensuring employees have growth plans likely will be owned by your new head of talent.
As the CEO, you’ll likely want to set a direction for your team and model accountability by owning Objectives for the company in key areas like financial performance, employee health, and growth through market expansion, acquisition, or new product lines. You’ll want to ensure everyone in your company who is setting OKRs knows your goals and where you are leading them for the next year or quarter. Keep your objectives directional and not tactical, and serve as a coach or advisor to help guide your team on how to get there.
For this approach to work, you’ll need visibility into the team’s progress on Key Results tied to your Objectives. Our Rhythm software provides a perfect way to see real-time updates on your goals. You’ll have visibility into the team’s progress on your company’s goals and can step in to offer coaching and support when things get off track. This is a great way to avoid the micromanagement trap of frequently checking in on something someone else on the team owns while staying informed and having the information you need at your fingertips.
Reach out to learn more about how Rhythm can help you achieve your most important OKRs with less stress. Being CEO in a scaling company is stressful enough as it is!
Want to learn more about OKRs? Check out these additional resources:
- Best OKR System: How to Get Started with OKRs and the Best OKR Software
- Using OKRs for Your Weekly Team Meeting
- OKR Goal Setting Steps: 5 Keys to Drive Better Results
- OKR vs. KPI vs MBO: What the Best Goal Types Have in Common
- OKR Software: 5 OKR Pitfalls To Avoid