OKRs or KPIs? What's the best way to boost team performance?

Goal-setting is SOOO important for small businesses who want to get results and ultimately grow. And contrary to popular belief, it’s NOT just a thing that corporate organisations should do.

Teams need goals to help them understand what to achieve, and they need to know the role they play within the team. Think about a football team or any sporting activity. The football team's goal maybe to win the world cup, and they may trial different team formations to ensure the team works together to achieve that, for example 442, until they are working in a way where they feel confident they can score. 

Business is no different and success doesn’t happen by accident. Yes, a little bit of luck is involved 🍀, and of course hard work 💪 and talent are core ingredients too. But, if you don’t spell out where you want to go, what you’ll do to get there, and how you’ll know you’ve arrived – you’ll struggle to scale your business.

There are zillions of definitions and theories around goal-setting to boost performance. And a bunch of confusing acronyms (like OKRs and KPIs) to accompany them too.

To help you along, I’m gonna share what’s working for me and my clients 👇


OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results.

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators.

When it comes to goal-setting, you can use a combo of the two. It’s not always a case of choosing one to use, because they both do different things.

1. OKRs are typically the quarterly goals you want to achieve. Plus, the results that help you to reach those goals. See my example below 👇

Objective: A 20% increase in online sales by September.

Key result one: All our new products will have been uploaded onto our website by July.

Key result two: Website visitors only have to click twice to buy any of our products.

Key result three: Discount codes are available each week on social media to encourage online purchases.

2. KPIs are the ongoing things you measure, to assess the operational health of your business.

For example, 👇

KPI one: Number of online visitors each day.

KPI two: Number of online sales each day.

KPI three: Average time on website per visitor.

Can you now see the difference between OKRs and KPIs? 👀


The beady-eyed amongst you, will have noticed that the OKR and KPI examples above, are SMART. In other words, they’re:

✅ S – Specific. So there’s no room for doubt.

✅ M – Measurable. So you can see if you’re on the right track (or not).

✅ A – Attainable. So they’re taken seriously by your staff.

✅ R – relevant. So they make sense to people.

✅ T – Time-based. So you generate a sense of momentum, AND you know when you’ve reached them.

Making sure your goals are SMART is a really great way of checking the quality of your goals.


In the absence of goals, we run our businesses blindly. Our staff come into work each day, doing what they did the day before – without any knowledge of what you’re trying to achieve in the longer-term.

Imagine doing a daily task, and not being 100% sure why you’re doing it, or why you’re doing it that way. Can you think of anything more de-motivating?

That’s why there’s an intrinsic link between goal-setting and how we perform. Having goals motivates people and encourages them to be accountable for their actions 🎯

It’s like announcing on social media that you’re going to do a 10k run for charity. Why do people do that? Simples! It’s so that they’re held accountable, and they receive motivation from those who like, share, comment, and pledge 📲


Everybody needs a sense of purpose, and a reason for being – including your employees. And it’s goals that create that feeling of belonging to a team, and the emotional connection that employees have to your business.

For your team, goals provide:

💪 Motivation

💪 Focus

💪 Direction

💪 Self-worth

💪 Clarity

As the boss, goals:

💪 Allow you to achieve your business ambitions

💪 Enable you to prioritise company activities

💪 Facilitate performance feedback

💪 Help you to recruit, reward, and develop your staff

Read a past blog I wrote that talks about how singing from the same hymn sheet can get your team working better together.


Whether you use OKRs, KPIs, scorecards – or some other way to boost performance – watch out for the ‘metric myths’. There’s a hell of a lot of them out there!

Take these for example…

❌ Goals aren’t changeable – of course they are! They should be flexible enough to adapt to the changing nature of your business.

❌ Goals need to be made at the start of the financial year – utter tosh! They can be made at any time. It’s true that goals are usually intertwined with bonus payments. But, they should be flexible enough to accommodate tweaks no matter what time of year it is.

❌ Goals are made by the boss – nope! There’s heaps of research that shows when employees help to set goals, they’re more likely to achieve them.


If goal-setting is so critical, then why do so many small businesses not bother?

In my experience, small business owners are the busiest of people. They’re often SOOO busy doing the doing, that they fail to look up and figure out what they want the future to look like.

It requires time away from the day job, and bags of brain power to articulate what has to be done, and when by. It’s flippin hard work, right? But, it’s one of the most crucial tasks for you to do.

If you really can’t face it, don’t forget you can book a FREE, 45-minute consultation with me to chat about how I might be able to help you 📲


🎯 As a boss, you need to make goal-setting a priority in order to scale your business.

📐 OKRs and KPIs are proven ways to set goals. Use can them both.

👌 To test how robust your OKRs or KPIs are, check if they’re SMART.

😊 People perform better when they have super-duper goals to shoot for.

👊 When you’re setting goals, try to ignore the ‘metric myths’. There’s a few flying around!

⚠ In the main, small business owners don’t do enough goal-setting, but it’s one of the most important and useful ways to spend your time. 🙋

Feel free to book a free consultation with me if you have questions, or I can help you in anyway. 


Mandy Hamerla

Mandy Hamerla​

Virtual HR Director & Leadership Mentor. I create game-changing HR & Hiring Strategies for ambitious small businesses in the UK and support you to lead your team with confidence. Check out my shop to download HR Templates & Contracts designed to make life easier.