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Book:  Measure What Matters

Author:  John Doerr

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Doerr, J. (2018). Measure what matters : how Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation rock the world with OKRs. New York, New York: Portfolio/Penguin.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. No single factor is more important on employee engagement than clearly defined goals that are written down and shared freely. (pg. 10)

  2. With the eruption of social media, transparency is the default setting for our daily lives.  Yet, at most companies, goals remain top secrets.  Research shows that public goals are more likely to be attained than goals held in private. (pg. 77)

  3. Without frequent status updates, goals slide into irrelevance; the gap between plan and reality widens by the day.  At years's end, we're left with goals that are untouched and expectations that are not being held accountable. (pg. 114)

Other Key Ideas:

​90% of studies suggest that productivity is enhanced by well-defined, challenging goals. (pg. 10)

For sound decision making and superior performance, top-line goals must be clearly understood throughout the organization. Yet, two of three companies fail to communicate these goals consistently. (pg. 50)

Clear-cut time frames intensify our focus and commitment; nothing moves us forward like a deadline. (pg. 51)​​

Few companies use formal goal-setting systems. They have annual financial plans, revenue numbers to hit, and board strategies around them, but nothing structured or continuous. Not coincidentally, those organizations shared something else in common: a glaring lack of alignment. (pg. 92)

At Intuit, managers meet with direct reports each month to discuss individual goals. Employees have three to five business objectives per quarter, along with one or two personal goals. (pg. 106)

Studies have shown that frontline employees thrive when they can see how their work aligned to the company's overall goals. (pg. 111)

Employees are most engaged when they can see how their work contributes to the company's success. Quarter to quarter, day to day, they look for tangible measures of their achievement. (pg. 114)

If you can't come up with goals that get you excited about coming to work every day, then something must be wrong. In fact, if that's really the case, come and see me (the boss). This is not administrative busy work, goals are an important way to set your priorities for the quarter and ensure that we're all working together. (pg. 116)

Regular check-ins are essential to make sure expectations stay at a high level. Without an action plan, the leader becomes a prisoner of events. And without check-ins to reexamine the plan as events unfold, the executive has no way of knowing which events really matter and which are only noise. (pg. 117)

Employee evaluation should consist of: authentic, richly textured conversations between manager and employee aimed at driving performance; feedback that and communication to evaluate progress and guide future improvement; and recognition and expression of appreciation. (pg. 176)

If you don't have goals, what the heck do you talk about during regular check-in meetings? People are more likely to feel fulfilled when they have clear and aligned targets. They aren't wandering and wondering about their work; they can see how it connects and helps the organization. (pg. 177)

When companies use ongoing conversations (as opposed to annual reviews) they're better able to make improvements throughout the year. Alignment and transparency become everyday imperatives. When employees are struggling, their managers don't sit and wait for some scheduled day of reckoning. It elevates performance and works wonders for morale and personal development. (pg. 178)

Peter Drucker was one of the first to stress the value of regular one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports. It is estimated that ninety minutes of a manager's time can enhance the quality of the employee's work for two weeks. (pg. 182)

High motivation cultures rely on two elements. One is actions that support work, which includes clear goals, autonomy, providing resources, learning from problems, and allowing a free exchange of ideas. The other action is acts of support - such as respect and recognition, encouragement, emotional comfort, and opportunities for affiliation. (pg. 216)

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