OKRs And Metrics: Differences and How to Use Them To Grow Your Business

In the article we explain the difference between OKRs and Metrics and how they work together to drive growth in a business.

OKRs and Metrics are ways of measuring performance and setting goals in a business. At first glance, they seem similar, but it’s important to understand their differences and how they can be used together to drive growth within your business.

OKRs vs. Metrics: Key Differences

Metrics: The Foundation of Performance Measurement

Metrics are like the essential indicators in your car - the oil light, fuel gauge, and speedometer. If the oil tank is empty, the engine is affected. If the fuel tank is empty, the car stops. If you’re going too fast, you might crash (or get arrested).

Metrics are fundamental to the performance and function of a car.

In your business, metrics are your “business as usual” numbers. They keep your business functioning and moving in the right direction, while setting clear targets for your team. For example:

If the metrics fall below target, your business would suffer.

OKRs: The Driver of Growth and Innovation

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are like the engine of a car - they provide speed and trajectory.

OKRs drive growth and progress in your business. They are ambitious, outcome-oriented goals that set a clear direction for the future, helping a business grow.

OKRs motivate teams to push beyond comfort zones and drive the business forward by setting challenging and measurable objectives. OKRs guide strategic decisions and align performance measurements with the organisation's growth objectives when used with metrics.

While Metrics focus on maintaining the status quo, OKRs push the business forward.

Failing OKRs provide insight and help you learn, allowing you to experiment or correct course in areas where failing metrics are detrimental to the business.

The Relationship Between OKRs and Metrics

OKRs improve metrics over time when done properly, increasing the baseline and success of the business. By setting ambitious OKRs, businesses aim for significant growth to positively impact the underlying metrics.

For example, if the business sets an OKR to increase new customer leads by 20% and achieves this objective by running a series of marketing campaigns and experiments in new channels, this should result in a corresponding improvement in metrics. You’ll have opened up a new marketing channel, or found a more efficient way to generate leads.

By achieving the OKR, your future “new leads” metric should now be higher.

Use metrics to steer the business, utilise OKRs to drive growth and improve the metrics. Rinse and repeat.

Final Thoughts

If your business isn’t growing, it’s probably dying. Understanding the difference between OKRs and metrics can be an important step towards sustainable growth.

Metrics measure performance, while OKRs drive growth. Businesses can propel themselves forward and achieve significant improvements that impact their bottom line by setting ambitious goals and tracking key results.

While metrics keep the ship afloat, OKRs are the wind that drives it forward.

April 30, 2024

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

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