4 min read

Art of Execution: How OKRs Changed my Life

Art of Execution: How OKRs Changed my Life
Photo by Sushobhan Badhai / Unsplash

Jan' 22: I quit my 'High Paying' job at American Express last year (Dec' 21) and moved to Bangalore with an aspirational pursuit to figure out a life without a job!

Now I had a few things going well for me,

  1. After almost 12 months of Solo Travelling around the country, I was fresh, excited & fully geared up for everything that was in store.
  2. I had developed a value system based on principles conveyed by 2 awesome books: Almanack of Naval Ravikant (who'd become a supreme guru on wealth) & 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (the ultimate productivity bible)

So, here I was, armed with an ambitious 'Mission Statement' for the Year 2022, ready to conquer the world based out of the Silicon Valley of India ✨

9 long months of Real Life later....

Only 1 Goal was achieved from my Mission Statement! Other goals weren't even in on my radar anymore. It was almost like I had abandoned the 'Mission' which I had myself created!

Why did that happen? I found myself facing a Big Issue!

To achieve these Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG) that I aimed for, I constantly created rigid systems/routines for myself. Routines that would help me allocate my time to all 'Projects' I had defined for myself.

One version of Systems looked like this:

Looks scary enough !? But I was confident I would 'Pull it off' almost every single time.

I didn't! Every single time, increasingly greater number of mental battles later, I always lost touch with my system.

But so what, that just means you gotta recaliberate your systems and try again! Right?

That's what I did! I kept iterating, but I kept failing!

I couldn't 'Execute' well on any of the Plans. This was the Big Issue.

"Ideas are Easy, Execution is Everything" - John Doerr

Then I picked up a book & it changed everything ...

‘OKRs: Measure What Matters’ by John Doerr made me realise 'Why' I had failed to follow up on my Systems.

“Real world is far too complex to be Intellectualized” - Naval Ravikant

We, as Humans, have a tendency to break any 'Objective' down into Small & even Smaller tasks to execute.

NO DOUBT, this is a wonderful asset we are gifted with, but it ignores the fact that Results are NEVER really guaranteed no matter how ‘Intellectually Sound’ a plan is!

OKRs Beautifully Solve this Problem

Using Objectives & Key Results (OKRs), you are forced to add 2 steps while creating your Plan:

  1. Ask a question: What will happen if we achieve the objective succesfully? What value (internal & external) will be created? The answer gives you 'What Matters'
  2. Measure What Matters: Assign Metrics (Key Results) to measure these values and track them using OKRs. These metrics give you Timely, Accurate & Blunt feedback on your Progress towards Goals.

Weekly Tracking of these Key Results removes uncertainty and gives you clear actionoable feedback on whether you're actuallly Achieving your Goals, not just Completing your Tasks.

I deployed OKRs for 1 month, Results were astonishing!

  1. My Outcomes per week significantly went up! I did not get distracted from the 1000 different ideas that bumped into me during 'Life as Usual'. I could focus better and maintain the intensity to Get Things Done.
  2. I could structure & plan my ‘Intellectually Sound’ plan even better. I could visualise many more angles to how external factors would impede my progress & make changes to my Task Plan accordingly
  3. I felt an amazing ‘Security’ with my Systems actually Working! For the first time in 3 Quarters, I finally went through with 1 month of consistent progress (As opposed to sprints & burnouts earlier).

It was a complete Game Changer.

I researched more, expanded on my learnings, discussed the philosophy with some of my closest friends and created a holistic Personal Performance System to kickstart once again, a system which I believe will Work!

So here we are today ...

After procrastinating for almost 9 months, I've finally written my first blog post. 'Build in public' was one of the important objectives of my original 'Mission Statement' & I am glad to finally start :)

Building on the 1 month trial period, I have formulated my Personal OKRs for Q4 2022. Will do a deep dive into all OKRs in a separate article, but giving a preview into the 3 objectives I'll focus on for the last quarter of Year 2022.

  1. Objective 1: Reach ‘MVP’ Physical Fitness
  2. Objective 2: Validate the OKR value proposition with 2 Real Teams
  3. Objective 3: Build in Public

To close, A quote that really resonated with me:

"If the heart doesn't find a perfect rhyme with the head, then your passion means nothing" - Bono

Hey again, this is Aditya! Thank you for reading this!

If we share this obsession over Execution & Productivity, I'd love to hear from you! Please hit me up on LinkedIn /Instagram or subscribe to get these blogs right in your inbox!

I am in this journey to explore and build on my obsession with Travel, Innovation, Marketing & Execution. I invite you to join me in this journey!