Dear Andy,

I would like your assistance to help me find Objectives and Key Results for an international American high school based in Lahore, Pakistan. I am unsure whether the Objectives and the KRs are aligned and if they make sense. I tried to write KRs that are measurable and I would really appreciate it if you could guide me there.

O1: Double enrollments by 2024

KR1: improve marketing outreach

KR2: develop attractive strategies to attract more audience

KR3: enroll the best teachers

KR4: promote activities and hands on learning


O2: Become the top American high school in Pakistan

KR1: improve our external testing results year on year

KR2: send students to international competitions

KR3: ensure 100% college placement with scholarship


O3: One graduate get accepted to an Ivy League university every year

KR1: develop college awareness Campaigns

KR2: develop connection with college counselor

KR3: communicate with parents and students effectively



Regards

Romuald

dear-andy-spacer-2

Hi Romuald!

Thanks for writing in and for your great question. OKRs are an excellent tool for any metrics- focused arena (including education), so we’re thrilled you’re using them to guide you along your way. You’re definitely on the right track—let’s see what we can do to take your OKRs from good to great.

When reading through your OKRs, O2 (become the top American high school in Pakistan) really stands out. This feels like the true North Star Objective here, and I suspect you’ll get most out of your OKRs by organizing everything else under it. We’ve found having a top-level Objective to rally around really galvanizes teams to their highest potential. In general, if your Objective is numerically measurable (double enrollments, get one student into an Ivy League, etc), there’s a good chance it would actually work better as a KR to a broader and more ambitious goal. This is a long way of telling you, I think O1 and O3 would be better served as Key Results under O2, rather than as objectives themselves.

That being said, I’m wondering if these KRs go far enough? You’ve distinguished ‘the best’ as your goal—what numerically measurable benchmarks need to be hit in order for that to become a reality? I’d be very surprised if all it took to be ‘the best’ was to get one student into an Ivy League University per year. Who is technically considered the best American high school in Pakistan at this moment? How many of their students get into an Ivy League school per year? What growth percentage is their enrollment rate at? Identifying these metrics is a crucial step in determining what ‘the best’ looks like and will serve as the base for your KRs.

Additionally, it’s important to note that KRs should describe the results of the work, not the work itself. Many of the KRs you’ve proposed prescribe an activity (enroll the best teachers, communicate with parents and students effectively, etc.). And while those are all great ideas, these activities are what will get you to those benchmarks we talked about earlier—they aren’t the benchmarks themselves.

Here’s a proposed set of OKRs for you:

o
Become the top American High School In Pakistan
kr1
Enrollment increased 100% by [date]
kr2
x% of students accepted to Ivy League every year
kr3
100% students placed in college with scholarships
kr4
Internal testing improves by x%

See what I did there? Not only does putting all of your proposed OKRs under one roof clarify your initial goal, it also frees up some space (and energy) for you to make some new ones! Just make sure to apply the above principles when writing them and you’ll be good to go!

Thanks for writing in, Romuald, and best of luck to you on your OKR journey.

Sincerely,
Billy from the What Matters Team


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