Ignite OKR Success with the Extraordinary Power of Purpose in 2023

Ignite OKR success with the extraordinary power of Purpose in 2023

‘When you find your why, you don’t hit snooze no more!

Eric Thomas

I create a pristine environment for others to do their work with more ease, and that is important – when you truly believe this statement as a cleaner and you take it seriously it will transform your work experience.

On the other hand, if you allow the limiting beliefs of – ‘ I am just a cleaner, or I am just the receptionist here, or I am just the rookie here to plague your mind you will infuse your work experience with negative emotions and limit your ability to grow. 

A sense of purpose ignites work with more energy and meaning and ensures that OKRs are more impactful when we include purpose within our performance frameworks.

What impact is our work making on others? And what collective positive contributions are we making to this world as a team? These are some questions that are becoming accentuated as people want to rise from the ashes of mundane work to being inspired by the impact and difference that they are making.

Examples of Company Purposes

Southwest – Airlines: Connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. 

To view your job within a renewed paradigm,  to not limit it to being an air hostess, a pilot, or an engineer, and to see the contribution your role is making to the bigger picture of connecting people to what is important in their lives is an important and powerful shift in mindset,

This transformed mindset of purpose-driven work is a source of energy for achievement and can make it dramatically more impactful. Serving others and serving a purpose larger than oneself are important ingredients in achieving ‘stretch goals’ such as OKRs.

Starbucks does not only celebrate coffee but also connection and strives to make an impact in neighborhoods. It starts with the employees, who are not called employees but partners. Once a collective purpose is not only believed in but shared in action you become more than employees, you do become a family.

I strongly believe that companies should invest in defining a strong company purpose and also help partners to define their personal purpose/s.

When it comes to OKRs and Purpose I use the phrase: ‘Purpose infused OKRs’ – I recommend that the company’s Purpose and value system are proudly integrated into OKR frameworks to ensure meaning and impact. This approach, to a degree, is asl an antidote to resistance to the implementation of OKRs.

This way you are not just deploying general frameworks for goal setting in isolation, instead, you are creating a brighter future by applying your unique purpose and culture to an effective goal-setting framework such as OKRs.

Why are we doing this? And what impact does this have? – Leaders would do well to intensely ponder these questions as they embark on the journey to reach company objectives. 

The ‘winning at all cost mindset’ has proven to not only damage individuals but also companies and societies. Of course making profits are essential, not only for the sake of survival but also to thrive and to help others to thrive. 

Making a profit at the expense of values, impact, purpose and other principles is not sustainable and leaves a trail of damage that is usually irreparable. non-negotiable principles are effective ‘filters’ to test both the sustainability and intent of the profits that we are making.

The above information represents clear incentives to integrate your value system, as well as other principles into your OKR frameworks

Often a highly-skilled, intelligent, and individual star performer can ruin team effort by being selfish and by serving only his or her individual purpose/s. True purpose is something that is higher than the self.

Leadership and purpose.

What does your passion lead you to do? – Asks Bono. Passion without action will just be a flame that eventually dies out.

Purpose-infused OKRs without an action plan that actually gets executed are worthless. ‘Pick your battles very carefully, do what really matters and do it with passion and openness. Openness to learn and to adapt so that the greater picture can be achieved.

True servant leaders are those rare individuals or groups of leaders that form the bridge between strategy and action. They build that bridge with the materials of Vision, purpose, values, and inspiration. They move forward with courage and take action as an example to others and in service of others.

“Be the change that you want to see in this world’


Generally, people avoid change. Why? simply because it is uncomfortable and change represents the unknown. Gandhi’s quote is a call to action for those who want to be servant leaders, the change starts with you – How can you with a clear conscience ask for change from others if you are not willing to change?

What needs to change in your life, what habits are not serving you and others? Build confidence by changing that with courageous action and then you have earned the right to ask for change from others. 

In essence, all Objectives and Key results are representative of change programs as it represents a departure from the current status to a future that is not currently known. We need to lead these change initiatives with purpose, and galvanize our team as a family that ‘breathes this purpose’ or purposes.

Fears, doubts, and insecurities can be powerful emotions and detractors of sustainable performance. We all are plagued by these emotions and it is simply human to experience moments of being immersed in panic.

Stretch goals reflected in far-reaching objectives and key results can be daunting. It can also be very inspiring but that largely depends on the leadership’s approach to actualizing these objectives.

Leaders who look at objectives armed with purpose and wisdom gained from years of practically applying their strong principles will know that ‘mountains can be moved’ with the right team culture.

Talent Development Director of the OKR Institute