Your Cheat-Sheet for the Cultural Attributes for OKR Success

Building awesome OKRs will not drive business success without the right culture within your organization.

Building awesome OKRs will not drive business success without the right culture within your organization.

For the purposes of this blog post, we will consider “culture” to be the observed behaviors within your organization.

(I choose the word “observed” carefully, as this means we could, if we wanted to, attribute a Key Result (KR) to that observed behaviors (or cultural attributes) – if we can observe it, then we could count how many times we do observe it, making culture measurable. To extend this model, in essence, it is your organization’s values that inform how we act – i.e. your values inform your culture. We can observe your behaviors to measure your culture, hence your values.)

In our experience, every organization seems to define their cultural attributes differently, but in general, we are looking for a common set of cultural attributes. Please think of the following as a laundry list of elements that you need to figure out how to include.

(The words in bold are intended to be the cultural attributes your organization needs):


  • OKRs look at objectives, processes, offerings, and objectives, not people.
  • We use Key Results to understand, learn and inform, not punish.


We will use OKRs to:

  • Know where you need help.
  • Provide support & protection, training, coaching, and growth opportunities.


  • We will hold each other accountable for performance.
  • We will all look at results on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
  • We are all accountable to know what the results are, learn from them, and take action.


  • We are using OKRs to see our programs and services across departments, regions, brands, and periods.
  • We will use results that reflect the performance of the entire corporation.


  • We all manage performance with a common methodology.
  • We are progressing from data collection to performance management.
  • We will iterate and mature.

We sincerely hope this cheat sheet comes in handy when building your company’s culture!

Brett Knowles

Brett Knowles is a thought leader in the Strategy Execution space for high-tech organizations. His client work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune, and many other business publications.

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