OKR vs SMART Goals: Choosing the Right Approach For Your Company


To achieve success in any area of life, it is critical to be able to set goals and personal objectives. Without a clear purpose, staying motivated and on track can be challenging. Whether you’re looking to improve your productivity, achieve tremendous success in your career, or live a happier and more fulfilled life, setting and working towards specific goals can help you get there. But the debate surrounding the OKR vs SMART Goals discussion is ongoing: so which approach should you opt for?

Various goal-framework tools, along with several other features like timesheets, help individuals and organizations achieve their desired key results. The most effective means will be those that best fit the user’s specific needs.

Some typical features of these tools include the ability:

  • To set and track goals
  • To create action plans
  • To measure progress
  • To collaborate with others
  • To set deadlines

Many different goal-framing substructures, such as SMART goals, balanced scorecards, and OKRs, can be used.

What Is an OKR?


OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results and normally involves the business strategy system you can use to assess and follow progress towards explicit goals.

There are many incentives to instigate OKRs within your management’s goals.

How Does it Work?

There are some fundamental steps you can take to get started:

  1. Express what you want to reach – usually, reasonable goals are distinct, computable, and time-based.
  2. Create measurable key results that back up the overall objective – these could be feasible (but formidable) goals you’d like your team to reach.
  3. Develop a timeline for each objective to assure that it is given a deadline and remains functional.
  4. Assign each goal to specific team members – this will guarantee everyone has a sense of ownership and responsibility for reaching the goal.

OKRs can be incredibly beneficial for firms to measure and track progress. By setting up your OKRs, you can ensure that everyone in your organization knows the organization’s expected key results and exactly what they need to do to achieve these.

What are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are an effective way to set and achieve your targets. This mnemonic acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

  • Specific: Your goal should be characterized and precise. It should answer the questions of who, what, where, when, and why.
  • Measurable: You need to be able to measure your progress towards your goal so that you can stay on track. Use specific metrics to track your progress.
  • Achievable: Ensure your goal is attainable and realistic. If it’s too ambitious, it will only serve to demotivate you.
  • Relevant: Set objectives that are pertinent to your overall objectives. Don’t establish goals that are not in line with your bigger picture.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline for your goal to stay focused and motivated. Having a timeline will also enable you to measure your progress in a time-bound ambiance.


Here’s an example of SMART goals:

I will lose 10 pounds in the next three months by working four days a week and eating a healthy diet at the gym.

This goal is specific (lose 10 pounds), measurable (weighing myself each week to track progress), achievable (4 days at the gym is realistic), relevant (eating a healthy diet), and timely (3 months).

How to Operate It?

Now that you know what SMART goals are, let’s explore how SMART goals can be used to set and achieve your own objectives.

  1. Begin by brainstorming a list of goals you desire to accomplish. Be as specific as possible.
  2. Once you have your list of goals, go through each and make sure it meets the criteria of being a SMART goal.
  3. Once you have refined your list of SMART goals, it’s time to start working on them! First, split down each goal into smaller actions you can perform.
  4. Take action and make progress towards your goals each day. Then, celebrate your accomplishments along the way!
  5. Stay motivated and on track by regularly reviewing your goals and progress. Then, make reconciliations to your method as needed.

Resemblances Between OKR and SMART Goals

There are a few key similarities between OKRs and SMART goals.

One fundamental similarity between OKRs and SMART goals is that both systems emphasize the importance of setting measurable, attainable objectives. To be successful, individuals and organizations must set concrete goals that they can realistically achieve. This confirms that everyone is functioning towards the exact purpose, and they can accurately measure that progress.

Another critical similarity between OKRs and SMART goals is that both systems are designed to help individuals and organizations track progress. By setting specific objectives, individuals and organizations can more easily track their progress and assess whether or not they are on track to achieve their goals. This information is essential for making adjustments and ensuring that objectives are eventually met, and key results are achieved.

Difference Between OKR and SMART Goals


TimeTrack: Calendar View


There is no denying that both OKRs and SMART goals can be practical tools for setting and measuring progress. Yet, there are some critical distinctions and key differences between the two approaches.


OKR considers multiple measures to set goals representing a holistic multi-metric goals approach. SMART goals are usually estimated by a single metric, narrowing down the way to success.

Time Frames

Goals set using OKR are confined to a period of a full one or quarter of a year. SMART goals and their SMART criteria are used as a method to set goals that are scheduled to be met in a shorter time period.


Things become difficult to alter once the organization’s objectives are set using SMART goals. They are not very ‘change-friendly’. On the contrary, stretch goals of OKRs can be made to adapt to environmental changes impacting the key results. They are very flexible and can permanently be altered per the underlying conditions of that time.


The OKR framework encourages the organization to keep its goals and progress accessible to every stakeholder, resulting in complete transparency and harmony among the entity’s objectives. But SMART goals tend to lay private unless the makers of the goals want them to be made public.


SMART goals are designed to suit an individual’s approach and cement the authority of a single person or group. As a result, OKR keeps the conversation broader and ensures its functionality is reached from the bottom to the top level of an entity.

OKR vs. SMART Goals: Choosing the Right Approach for Your Company

It can be oppugning to settle which goal-setting method is best for your company. Both OKRs and SMART goals have their pros and cons. Ultimately, the best way for your business will pivot on your typical goals and conditions.

Here’s a quick overview of each approach:

OKRs are a popular goal-setting method used by companies like Google and Intel. OKRs aim to set ambitious yet achievable goals and measure progress with specific metrics. This approach can help businesses focus on what’s most important, and it can be motivating for employees who see their progress over time. However, OKRs can also be challenging to implement correctly and may not be suitable for every business.

SMART goals are a more traditional goal-setting method. This approach involves setting specific goals that can be measured and achieved within a certain timeframe. SMART goals can be easier to implement than OKRs, but they may not be as effective in driving long-term progress.

So, which goal-setting approach is right for your company? It depends on your specific goals and needs. If you’re unsure which method to use, it might be helpful to speak with a goal-setting expert or consultant.

Other Time-Management Strategies You Might Consider


TimeTrack: Time Clock

You might consider many other time management strategies, from a simple time clock to more complex templates.


The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) is a non-profit organization that promotes excellence in organizational performance. It does this by providing a framework, the EFQM Excellence Model, which helps organizations assess and improve their performance.

The EFQM Excellence Model is made up of nine categories, each of which represents a different aspect of performance to achieve organizational goals. The categories are:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategy
  3. People
  4. Partnerships and resources
  5. Processes, products, and services
  6. Customer results
  7. Society results
  8. Key results
  9. Self-assessment

Balanced Scorecard

The Balanced Scorecard is a system interpretation administration tool that provides organizations with a comprehensive view of their business.

Four main types of indicators are used in a Balanced Scorecard:

  1. First, financial indicators
  2. Customer
  3. Internal process
  4. Learning and growth


Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a type of performance metric that organizations employ to measure progress and success.

You can use KPIs to measure various things, from financial indicators to customer satisfaction rates. Organizations’ common KPIs include revenue growth, profit margins, cost savings, customer acquisition rates, and employee productivity.


The 4DX framework was created by the authors of “The Four Disciplines of Execution” based on their years of research and work on achieving goals with organizations worldwide.

The framework is based on the premise that execution is a discipline that can be learned and practiced.

The Four Disciplines of Execution are:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important
  2. Act on the Lead Measures
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability


SMART goals and OKRs can be useful tools for managing time and setting goals at your company. Whichever approach you choose, remember to regularly re-evaluate your strategy, and don’t shy away from making the shift to a new tool if necessary.