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Bing Gordon's Forever OKRs: A new approach to define and measure your success

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Bing Gordon's Forever OKRs: A new approach to define and measure your success

A simple template for long-term accountability.
In nearly 40 years of my career at Electronic Arts, sitting on the board at Amazon, and most recently as partner at Kleiner Perkins, I’ve seen many ways companies map business goals and measure success.
Objectives and key results (OKRs) is one of the recent and most popular methods. But, they present a few challenges. As I’ve helped shepherd small startups into big companies, I’ve witnessed hiccups in the first two quarters of implementing OKRs. Why is that? Well, when they reach the reflection period they realize what they thought needed to be done wasn’t actually what they needed to do. And second, OKRs tend to be reductionist—they turn leaders into task-doers.
OKRs give a good sense for how well a company is achieving their goals, but they aren’t designed to factor in our personal career success. What if there was a way for OKRs to help you become the best CEO or Chief Revenue Office in the world, complete with metrics and inputs that guide to success?
I often believe creativity gets constrained when it’s forced into quarterly sprints. I tend to think of quarters like levels in a video game. When you beat the boss on one level, you move to the next. But the storyline continues forward. That’s true even more in today’s video games, with complex narratives and immersive worlds that can be explored.
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That’s what led me to rewrite the OKR storyline and brand my personalized goal-setting system, Forever OKRs—a set of goals and metrics for high-level roles in a specific company. They never change, and if you leave the company or switch to another role, Forever OKRs start over.
For example, a Head of Revenue’s primary job is maximizing a company’s effort to increase revenue and profits. Forever OKRs steer them to a place where they’re in a position to beat revenue plans, obtain channel-wide distribution on day one, and receive top vendor awards.
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By evolving the OKR framework into a less rigid one, I shifted focus on ambition, creativity, and long-term goals that stand the test of time.
Forever OKRs are the story of your career, and decades from now if you were to watch them play out on screen, it would be your hero’s journey of the various projects, roles, and accomplishments within your company.
After helping hundreds of startups, I’ve designed a simple three-step process to help executives and founders create their own Forever OKRs:
Rate your peers.
Identify attributes of success.
Define your metrics.
Whether you’re an aspiring founder or a seasoned executive, this makes it simple to get started meeting your personal goals.

Ready to define your own Forever OKRs?

Copy my and follow the 3 simple steps.
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An example: Forever OKRs for a CEO

Forever OKRs are best understood with an example. Imagine you’re a CEO at a fast-growing startup. How do you determine what A+ CEO performance looks like?
You start by looking at the best examples of people who have done your job previously: Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Satya Nadella, Jeff Bezos, Brian Chesky, and Mark Zuckerberg would all probably make the list.
We can look at different attributes that make them successful:
Nadella is loved by his direct reports.
Bezos is relentless at finding product-market fit.
Chesky exemplifies leadership by reaching out to experts when he can’t solve a problem.
Using your predecessors as benchmarks, define metrics you could work towards that would emulate similar attributes. So, you might set goals like these:
Product-market fit
80%+ product quality
#1 market share
Beat plan
Organic growth
Thought leadership AMB press mentions
1-3 named 10x product and/or tech features
4 “bold beats” per year
Scalable organization
4.25 average rating of executives
< 5% regretted attrition of “high potentials”
90% “we’re moving fast enough
90% of decisions are timely
60+ employee NPS
80% “I matter here”
80% “We have the right organizational structure”
“Tech swagger”
Scalable communication
90% employee unaided recall of vision/mission/strategy
80% employee “I recommend to friends”
3-5 “golden processes” always
18 months of cash
2x valuation vs comparables

You can go through this same process with every high-level role inside your company, from CEO to the Chief Marketing Officer. Arriving at your Forever OKRs is a simple ritual:
Come up with a list of the best people ever to do that role.
Rate their performance on a scale of 1 to 10.
Circle all the 9s and 10s and write out the reasons why they got there.
Pull all the attributes you listed for the 9s and 10s— they’ll become the foundation for your A+ performance metrics.
Here are a few more examples of Forever ORKS I’ve helped establish:
Forever OKRs: metrics by role (expand)

Forever OKRs: A roadmap for personal success.

Forever OKRs are timeless. They follow you no matter where your work takes you, providing a constant barometer to measure and map success along your entire career journey. No matter what you focus on, the Forever OKR framework is ready to help you reach your maximum potential and achieve your goals.

Thanks to the following for their help and feedback: Frank Gibeau, Steven Galanis, Anjney Midha, Roneil Rumburg, Luis von Ahn, Shishir Mehrotra, Erin Dame, Taylor Pipes, and Justin Hales.

Ready to define your own Forever OKRs?

Copy my and follow the 3 simple steps.
Copy my template

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