For CEOs: O.K.R.s for Better Management of Agency New Business

Objectives and Key Results
by Todd Knutson

John DoerrTwo days ago I was introduced to a management technique that's widely used at Intel and Google, about which I was previously unaware. The idea is to get everyone in the company focused on the three most important priorities that matter most, and no more.

Managers who use this technique call it O.K.Rs, which is short for Objectives and Key Results. An interview in Sunday's New York Times with Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga, a provider of online social games, describes it this way:

...the idea is that the whole company and every group has one objective and three measurable key results...it's a simple principle that keeps everyone focused....

Pincus credits John Doerr, the well-known venture capitalist, with the idea; he's pictured above.

Here's how Pincus puts it into action:

  1. On Sunday night or Monday morning, everyone writes down their three (3) priorities for the week.
  2. On Friday, we see how they did against them.

He's found that:

...this is the only way people can stay focused and not burn out.

This simple management technique should be very effective for any ad agency that has had to cut staff due to the recession. While a smaller group may not get as much done as a larger group, the key question to ask yourself is, "Are we getting the right things done right now?" This approach will keep everyone focused on the getting the most important things done - this week.

It should be especially effective for new business people. For example, staying focused on nurturing a long-term prospect, completing the RFP that's due on Thursday, or making twenty calls every day this week.

It's easy to get caught up in all the little things that need to be done, putting aside for a while the big things that matter most. The little things do need to get done; however, it's getting the big things done that has the most impact on individual performance, and the agency as a whole.

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