Why your OKR system breaks and how to fix OKR failure?

Why your OKR system breaks and how to fix OKR failure?

Are you seeing a lack of success with your OKR system? Do you want to reach ambitious goals and make sure everyone is on the same page, but feel as though it’s not working out for you? Does it just seem like no matter how hard your team works or how clear your objectives are, something’s still missing?


Don’t worry – broken OKR systems can be fixed! In this blog post, we’ll discuss the common pitfalls that lead to an unproductive OKR system and provide actionable steps to help ensure yours leads to success.

Read on and learn why your OKR cycle might be breaking down—and what you can do about it!

Why does your OKR system break?

Here are some of the common reasons why OKR systems break and some corrective strategies to fix them. 

Creating more complex OKRs.

Creating too complicated OKRs can be counter-productive, as it adds to the confusion instead of helping us achieve our goals. To get the most out of OKRs, we should aim for 3-5 objectives per set, with a maximum of 5 key results for each objective.

This will help to keep the goals achievable and focused on the outcome when you think around ‘how to set OKRs’. When writing OKRs make sure to include numbers wherever possible to quantify your objectives and set realistic goals that you can aim for 70% of the time or more.

Unrealistically ambitious goals may sound interesting, but they are far from reality and difficult to achieve, which will lead to feeling demotivated.

Choosing inappropriate objectives

Having inappropriate objectives can cause an organization to miss out on achieving its goals. To ensure success, business leaders should be mindful of the objectives they set and how they align with their overarching mission.

When choosing objectives, consider if they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help to create an attainable OKR scorecard that is motivating and achievable. Additionally, it is important to communicate with stakeholders throughout the entire process to ensure alignment between the working level and executive level agreements.

Taking the time to evaluate objectives will not only lead to success but also help increase team morale by making sure everyone is working toward a common goal. 

Creating routine tasks as OKRs

Creating routine tasks as OKRs can be an optimistic and ambitious approach, but if it isn’t backed up with achievable and implementable goals, they could quickly lead to failure. To make sure these objectives remain productive and successful, it is important to consider their level of difficulty and the finite resources available.

Instead of simply making bold declarations as OKRs, determining short-term goals that gradually build on each other towards a larger shared objective should also be taken into consideration. This will help ensure steady progress against greater goals while avoiding the pitfalls that come with assuming too much too soon.

Not keeping track of OKRs regularly

If an organization fails to track its objectives and key results, it will quickly fall behind its goals. To avoid this, management must regularly review the progress of the OKRs, along with other forms of measurement such as customer feedback or project performance metrics.

Regular conversations between teams and stakeholders should also be held to ensure that everyone is on the same page about the status of reaching certain goals. 

Team members lack knowledge of their goals

When team members lack knowledge of their objectives, a company’s OKRs are likely to fail. This can be caused by inadequate communication and training, which results in employees feeling overwhelmed or lost and unable to effectively complete tasks. 

One way to ensure that everyone understands and executes their goals is by scheduling periodic meetings so team members can keep each other informed on what has been done and ask questions when necessary.

Too many OKRs

Although the goal of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is to motivate employees, too many can have a detrimental effect. To fix this problem and prevent OKR failure, goals must be well-defined with reasonable expectations.

Insufficient Key Results for the Objective

One of the biggest causes of OKR failure is setting insufficient key results. When objectives are set without specific and measurable results, they lack focus and can lack urgency. 

To fix this, leadership must ensure clear goals that are measurable in terms of the employee’s actions. This will help employees work toward achieving the overall objective by breaking it down into smaller milestones with achievable targets for each team member. 


OKR systems are capable of improving an organization’s productivity and performance. However, these systems can easily break down if certain steps are not taken to ensure that they remain effective. 

The right technology can be instrumental in a successful OKR program. 10xWinners provides goal management software with ready-to-go scorecards and reports that can guide organizations through drafting objectives, measuring their progress, and refining the entire process along the way to maximize success.

Recommended reading: Top mistakes not to do with OKR implementation


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