Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr reveals how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth—and how it can help any organization thrive.
In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up whom he'd just given $12.5 million, the biggest investment of his career. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy, and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world (or even to survive), Page and Brin had to learn how to make tough choices on priorities while keeping their team on track. They'd have to know when to pull the plug on losing propositions, to fail fast. And they needed timely, relevant data to track their progress—to measure what mattered.
Doerr taught them about a proven approach to operating excellence: Objectives and Key Results. He had first discovered OKRs in the 1970s as an engineer at Intel, where the legendary Andy Grove ("the greatest manager of his or any era") drove the best-run company Doerr had ever seen. Later, as a venture capitalist, Doerr shared Grove's brainchild with more than fifty companies. Wherever the process was faithfully practiced, it worked.
In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve; key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. Everyone's goals, from entry level to CEO, are transparent to the entire organization.
The benefits are profound. OKRs surface an organization's most important work. They focus effort and foster coordination. They keep employees on track. They link objectives across silos to unify and strengthen the entire company. Along the way, OKRs enhance workplace satisfaction and boost retention.
In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations. This book will help a new generation of leaders capture the same magic.
About the Author
John Doerr is an engineer, acclaimed venture capitalist, and the chairman of Kleiner Perkins. He 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's passionate about encouraging leaders to reimagine the future, from transforming healthcare to advancing applications of machine learning. Outside of Kleiner Perkins, John works with social entrepreneurs for change in public education, the climate crisis, and global poverty. John serves on the board of the Obama Foundation and ONE.org.
“I’d recommend John’s book for anyone interested in becoming a better manager.” —Bill Gates
“Whether you're a seasoned CEO or a first-time entrepreneur, you'll find valuable lessons, tools, and inspiration in the pages of Measure What Matters. I'm glad John invested the time to share these ideas with the world.” —Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn and author of The Start-up of You
“Measure What Matters deserves to be fully embraced by every person responsible for performance, in any walk of life. John Doerr makes Andy Grove a mentor to us all. If every team, leader, and individual applied OKRs with rigor and imagination, all sectors of society could see an exponential increase in productivity and innovation.” —Jim Collins, author of Good to Great
“John Doerr has taught a generation of entrepreneurs and philanthropists that execution is everything. Measure What Matters shows how any organization or team can aim high, move fast, and excel.” —Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of LeanIn.org and OptionB.org
“In this indispensable book, the most important venture capitalist of our era reveals a key to business innovation and success. This crisp and colorful book combines fascinating case studies with insightful personal stories to show how OKRs can add magic to organizations of any size.” —Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci
“I’m a big believer in John Doerr’s simple yet effective OKR system—I’ve seen it work firsthand! I encourage every business leader to read Measure What Matters in order to learn some real and practical secrets for success.” —Anne Wojcicki, founder and CEO of 23andMe
“John Doerr has been the source of management magic for many of the most iconic companies in Silicon Valley that went on to change the world. MeasureWhat Matters is a must read for anyone motivated to improve their organization.” —Former Vice President Al Gore
“Measure What Matters takes you behind the scenes for the creation of Intel’s powerful OKR system—one of Andy Grove’s finest legacies.” —Gordon Moore, cofounder of Intel
“Measure What Matters will transform your approach to setting goals for yourself and your organization. John Doerr pushes every leader to think deeply about creating a focused, purpose-driven business environment.” —Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments
“John Doerr is a Silicon Valley legend. He explains how transparently setting objectives and defining key results can align organizations and motivate high performance.” —Jonathan Levin, dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business
“Measure What Matters is a gift to every leader or entrepreneur who wants a more transparent, accountable, and effective team. It encourages the kind of big, bold bets that can transform an organization.” —John Chambers, executive chairman of Cisco
“In addition to being a terrific personal history of tech in Silicon Valley, Measure What Matters is an essential handbook for both small and large organizations; the methods described will definitely drive great execution.” —Diane Greene, CEO of Google Cloud