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Measure What Matters by John Doerr

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John Doerr is an American investor and venture capitalist in Menlo Park, California. For 37 years, John has served entrepreneurs with ingenuity and optimism, helping them to build great companies and wonderful teams.

The Author – John Doerr

In 2018, he wrote Measure What Matters, a handbook for setting and achieving audacious goals. Through his book and platform, WhatMatters.com, he shares valuable lessons from some of the most fearless innovators of our time.

John was an original investor and board member at Google and Amazon, helping to create more than half a million jobs and the world’s second and third most valuable companies. He is passionate about encouraging leaders to reimagine the future, from transforming healthcare to advancing applications of machine learning. He has served on the board of the Obama Foundation and ONE.org.

About The Book – Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters is about the author’s lifelong journey of helping organizations implement objectives and key results – Also known as OKRs.

With the help of OKRs, companies like Google and non-profits organizations like the Gates Foundation have been able to transform the way they set goals to reach new heights.

The book really begins on page 3 with an interesting quote by Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there”. And that is truly a good opening to an argument this important.

In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of a start-up where he committed his $11.8 million, the biggest investment of his career for 12 per cent in the start-up. That start-up is Google and as it turned out to become, Google would revolutionise the world on how we share and access information, whether at a personal, a business-wise or at a global level.

Doerr taught them about a proven approach to operating excellence: Objectives and Key Results, and that is the author whose works we are privileged to explore today in our reading for self-improvement video series.

In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve, said in the book description on Amazon.com. Adding that key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame.

OKR or Objectives and Key Results is a term you will repeatedly hear in this book. And as for the benefits to your business or creative process, you will learn that it’s essential in the most important works of an organization. It helps to focus on effort and foster coordination, and keep employees on track. As said by the author, OKRs enhance workplace satisfaction and boost retention.

The Development Of OKRs

As for the development of OKRs, it’s generally attributed to Andy Grove, also known as the “Father of OKRs”. He is credited to have introduced the approach to Intel, during his tenure there and documented this in his 1983 legendary business book, “High Output Management”.

Since then, the term has become very popular and is used by some of the biggest companies in the market today. In essence, OKR is a framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes.

For those of you who want to explore OKR even further, you can break it into two parts as “Objectives” and “key results”.

Your objective is what you want, a clearly defined goal and your key results are the specific measures used to track the achievement of your goal. However, you must remember that the primary goal of OKR is to define how to achieve objectives through concrete, specific and measurable actions.

If you are interested in these arguments, you might also consider some related terms as:

MBO, standing for Management by objectives, which was first popularized by Peter Drucker, the Austrian-born American management consultant, whose writings have highly contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporations.

OGSM, standing for Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures is another.

Then there is also KPI, standing for a Performance Indicator or Key Performance Indicator.

That should be enough of those management terminologies so we can return to the main argument of the day.

More About Measure What Matters

In Measure What Matters, the author shares a wide range of first-person, case studies, with the like of Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus and accelerated growth that OKRs have incited at so many great organizations.

In the view of Brett Knowles, a thought leader and consultant in strategy development and execution, this book introduces concepts around measuring organizations in a precise and timely manner, which meet the requirements of today’s organizations and environment.

And talking of today’s organizations and OKRs, I particularly like the comparison Brett made between paper maps and Google Maps, saying that: With a paper map, you only get periodic progress checks – as you hit major benchmarks like intersections and landmarks.

Whereas, with Google Maps, you get real-time updates on where you are, meaning real-time warnings when you deviate from the route. You are also provided with quick updates of alternate routes given your location, destination, and what is happening in-between.

What You Can Take Away From This Book

This is definitely an interesting book on how to get more of your limited time. This is your book to read if you want to know how your business can make the tough choices that will ensure its survival. And if you want to know how to keep your team on track while encouraging employees to be fully engaged, even in times of stress and challenges.

Did you find this article valuable to you? Share your thoughts on the comment section below. Check out our YouTube channel and subscribe so you never miss any of our educational videos. Until next week, have a wonderful time.


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Obehi Ewanfoh

Obehi Ewanfoh

The founder of Aclasses.org. Primary area of focus - Book writing and Online Training Classes on Self-improvement & Human Capital Development. My mission, through books and Online Training Classes, is helping people to transform their human potentials into capital so they can better serve themselves and the society they live in.

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