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Book Review: 'Measure What Matters' by John Doerr

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John Doerr is among the most famous venture capitalists, and is best-known as one of early investors in Google. He gave $12.5 million to experienced tech wizards, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google who had tech ideas and entrepreneurial spirit but no business knowledge or business plan to command the investment. However, Page and Brin, with the support of Doerr, ended up learning how to strategize, prioritize, and track progress to measure what matters and lead the success story Google as we know of. Doerr’s strategic inputs were primarily based on the art of goal-setting, and the two factors of operating excelling: objectives and key results (OKRs). The premise of John Doerr’s Measure What Matters deals with how setting objectives and key results can lead to explosive growth, helping any organization achieve great success. 

John Doerr’s Measure What Matters explores the strategy of goal-setting, to define what to achieve, and then measure the goals based on specific, measurable actions within a certain time. These goals are to be made available for the entire organization so everyone knows what the intent is and work towards meeting that. In a world powered by data and metrics, the art and ability of seeing clear goals and measuring progress is a fundamental strategic necessity. He reveals how OKRs are the organization's most important work, that exists to keep everyone on track and help the company aim and succeed, while boosting workplace satisfaction. This is a book full of compelling insights in goal setting and progress management, helping leaders of all levels draw from, be inspired by, and refer to as means to set up their organizations to succeed.

John Doerr’s Measure What Matters is an essential book that establishes the need to have strong goals to aim at. And developing organizational objectives that everyone is aligned on. This way, the teams aren’t just informed about what’s the intention to work for, but draw motivation by excelling as per the plans in pursuit. 

John Doerr’s Measure What Matters introduces the strategic framework of OKRs, explained as objectives and key results. By offering a step-by-step framework on how to go about goal setting and tracking results, Doerr arms business leaders with a grip on where they’re headed. He outlines the value and necessity of setting clear and measurable objectives, while identifying results that should demonstrate success. Putting these goals to be achieved within specific time frames gives the goals the context to work in; it makes the goal realistic.

John Doerr’s Measure What Matters highlights a number of issues faced by organizations. Among these issues is the lack to focus, clarity and transparency. Doerr goes on to use references and case studies to illustrate the importance of setting clear and specific objectives that then need to be shared across teams and departments so that everyone is aligned. This cohesive intent of goals and vision allows for better performance and greater collaboration, helping organizations succeed better and faster.

One is to have a vision, and the other is to execute that vision. John Doerr’s Measure What Matters  considers the bridge between vision and execution. It shows how significant transparent communication is, and the loop of consistent feedback based on regular check-ins to sharpen and adapt to plan at every stage.

John Doerr’s Measure What Matters encourages leaders to listen more than talk. The book lists a number of tactics to consider in asking the right and specific questions. Doerr’s points to at least five key questions that leaders can ask their team members: such as, what they’re working on, what progress are they making on their OKRs, what, if any, are some some obstacles they’re facing, what help do they need, and how do they need to grow to achieve their career objectives. While these questions are being asked, Doerrs suggest leaders to avoid talks with regards to raises, rewards and promotions because they tend to distract from OKRs. And that such questions have to be discussed seperately. But to keep employees involved in feedback, and appreciate their efforts is essential to boost enthusiasm, retention, and their sense of purpose.

John Doerr’s Measure What Matters draws on a lot of personal experience stories, based on Doerr’s lessons from organizations like Intel, Google and Amazon. He points out that his OKR framework has helped big and small companies achieve greater effectiveness – in business and in innovation — while refraining from tasks and actions that are less critical. The book explores a number of key concepts: such as the power of focus, which looks at the value of setting clear objectives that channel collective effort; the need to be transparent, because sharing goals improves accountability and creates a better environment of trust and collective responsibility; adaptability and flexibility, because it allows a stimulating environment for tinkering and improving on innovation; embracing failure, because it’s a matter of good culture, which fosters experimentalism and powers progress. 

John Doerr’s Measure What Matters is a substantial book that inspires organizations to look at goals and key results as a way to achieve greater effectiveness. Doerr’s OKR framework is a solid one, given that it’s been used by the likes of Google, Intel and Adobe among others, to achieve exceptional business results. Doerr’s argument around the need to have clear goals align the company towards a common purpose is compelling given that it allows for greater effectiveness and culture of professionalism and experimentation.

From leaders to entrepreneurs, executives to managers and everyone in between, this book will offer readers useful strategies that help script successful business narratives and lay the path towards exceptional results in the competitive world of modern business. Get your copy here:



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