When you start a goal-setting process, you must set objectives and establish measurables for how to achieve them. This will take an organized framework that supports goals that are both aspirational and realistic, achievable and growth-oriented. Objectives and key results (OKRs) are just the thing for the job.
The OKR framework sets out to provide structure for ambitious, high-level goals by tracking key outcomes over a quarter. OKRs have been around since the 1970s but were made famous by one of the earliest Google investors, John Doerr. Here’s a great TED talk where he discusses the system. His formula was simple:
- Set an objective (what you want to be accomplished) and tie them to bold company goals.
- Determine several key results (how you got it done). These are outcomes, not tasks.
- Use this structure: I will (Objective) as measured by (this set of Key Results).
While superficially similar to KPIs (key performance indicators), OKRs have a distinctly different role and should be used to complement rather than replace KPIs. As reporting measures, KPIs are inherently less goal-oriented and more informational in their makeup. Unlike KPIs, OKRs are tied to broad business goals—not day-to-day employee work.
That said, an OKR isn’t just a goal you want to achieve; it must incorporate a metric to measure progress and demonstrate achievement (if there’s no number, it’s not a key result). Here are four examples of Objectives and Key Results for healthcare that show how the OKR formula structures goals:
Objective 1: Build a World-Class Team of Health Professionals
- Interview at least 20 applicants for new surgeon openings
- Increase average professional development participation by 5 CEUs in Q2
- Plan 3 additional targeted training events on-site this quarter
Objective 2: Develop Strong Communication with Patients and Families
- Improve the ratio of patient calls with follow-up questions and concerns to 75% outgoing, 25% incoming
- Grow the customer service and/or website teams by a combined total of 4 personnel
- Allocate 50 hours to reviewing, updating, and improving patient discharge bundle materials
Objective 3: Give Back to the Community
- Improve enrollment in our CME course offerings by 35 this quarter
- Mentor 50% more high school students through magnate programs
- Grow number of physicians participating in free clinic volunteer rotations by 4
Objective 4: Boost Efficiency With Cutting Edge Technology
- Train and certify 100% of staff on new digital tools within one-month of implementation
- Invest $30,000 in IT infrastructure upgrades by the end of the quarter
- Install a total of 7 new automated ceiling lift systems in OR and patient units
As you can see, objectives can be inspirational and straightforward and are usually easier to design than the ways they’ll be measured. Determining two-to-five key results that best measure progress towards your objective can be tricky, but is critical to achieving your goal.
If you’re looking for help in tracking and implementing Objectives and Key Results for your healthcare organization, an all-in-one balanced scorecard software could be the next step that helps you stride confidently towards your strategic goals.