March 18, 2024

You’re Using OKRs All Wrong — Here’s How to Get Your Team to Reach Their Goals

Michel Gagnon
Michel Gagnon
CEO of Stun&Awe

A few years ago, I finished the week completely exhausted. Later that night, I had a beer with a friend of mine who asked me why I was so tired.

I blanked.

I couldn’t come up with a good answer.

I was trying to remember everything I had done that week, but nothing stood out. I remembered it was a busy week though. But I felt like I had spun my wheel for no reason.

I got busy with little tasks without achieving anything meaningful. I hadn’t made any progress on my priorities.

That’s when I started looking for a way to stay focused and make sure that my team was too.

My fancy strategy decks from my management consulting years didn’t help. Having a North Star Metric is useful, but doesn’t always help with managing the teams’ daily grind.

I tried OKRs but felt there was something still missing.

The problem is that most OKR frameworks focus on what you want to accomplish, but not how. They’re great for setting strategy and direction, but they don’t help you identify the tactical tasks that will get those things done.

The real stumbling block ain’t the strategies or the OKRs, it’s how they align with daily tasks. That’s where most OKR frameworks fall short.

A strategy and OKRs that people understand

When we started using Notion, I saw an opportunity to right the wrongs. We didn’t waste any time and built an ingenious template for our OKRs and strategy.

We built it for ourselves, but it works for any executive, manager, startup team, or ambitious entrepreneur who wants to synchronize daily work with big-picture goals.

But there’s no fluff. We made sure of that.

We followed Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s view of perfection.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

What you need to make OKRs work

To come up with a framework that actually works in real life, we borrowed some elements of Andy Grove’s OKR model and Richard Rumelt’s kernel of good strategy, and then connected them to the projects and daily work.

Let me break it down.

Effective Strategy and OKRs Notion Template

1. Diagnosis

To know where to go, you and your team must have a shared understanding of the current reality.

In his book Principles, Ray Dalio encourages people to face reality and come up with solutions.

“Embrace reality and deal with it.”
- Ray Dalio

But your team must have a shared understanding of that reality. Otherwise, you’re all living in your little world full of different problems requiring different solutions.

Those who believe you have a weak pipeline will want to address that problem.

Those who believe the bugs in your product are the root cause of your stagnation will want to improve quality and delivery.

The diagnosis explains in a few sentences your current challenges and where you want to go. You cannot come up with goals and strategies if you don’t agree on where you are today.

2. Strategy

Once you know where you are, you can design the strategy you’ll use to reach your destination.

Strategy doesn’t have to be a fancy 50-slide deck. The strategy should be your means to overcoming your challenges and reaching your goals. And you should be able to explain it in a few sentences.

If bugs are crippling your product, improving quality assurance and your delivery process might be your best strategic lever.

3. Objectives

Once the direction is set, you can start picking 3–5 objectives for the quarter or the year. Your objectives should be sub-elements of your strategy.

If you’re struggling with sales, your strategy may be to double down on marketing and sales by hiring more people and increasing the frequency and intensity of your activities.

Your objectives could then be:

  • Strengthen our marketing team
  • Build a bigger, higher quality pipeline
  • Increase brand awareness

I usually try to stick to 3–4 objectives max, otherwise, things get too complicated, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry gets angry.

Strategy examples for SaaS startups, marketing agencies, and freelancers

4. Key Results

For each objective, you then add 3–4 key results. Key results should be measurable and show how you are making progress on your objectives.

If we take the “Build a bigger, higher quality pipeline” objective, our key results could be:

  • Increase Win Rate from xx% to xx%
  • Improve Lead Quality to XX%
  • Shorten Sales Cycle Time from 90 to 60 days

They will help you measure if you’re on track to reaching your objectives.

5. Roadmap

Most OKR frameworks stop with key results, and that’s a problem. Because this is where you can really make a difference.

A roadmap is a plan for how you will achieve your objectives and key results. It’s a short list of top projects. These are HOW you will hit your OKRsit’s your list of strategic initiatives.

If your win rate is too low, what are you going to do about it? You can’t just wish for it to go up. There are probably a couple of ways for you to fix this.

For examples, you could:

  • Train your team to boost their ability to convert leads into customers.
  • Refine your sales scripts and materials
  • Implement a sales enablement tool to help your team sell more effectively.
Company roadmap

6. Sprints and Tasks

For each initiative in our roadmap, we create a project in Notion. Our sprints and tasks are then attached to the relevant projects.

That’s our way to connect the day-to-day with the strategic. This way, every project and task is closely linked with your OKRs. It’s like magic!


This Strategy and OKR framework has helped our team get on the same page and achieve more. But it’s been a process.

If you decide to give our approach a try, adopt the main principle of Growth Marketing. Test it and iterate until you find what works best for you.

If you’re using or consider using Notion, grab our Effective Strategy and OKR Notion Template.