Setting and achieving realistic goals is difficult for anyone — including Bill Gates. While the Microsoft founder was a master coder, he struggled with project management in the company's earliest days.
Later, a special goal-setting strategy — the OKR method — would help him tackle two passions at the same time: running his company and starting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The OKR method was first pioneered by former Intel CEO Andy Grove, a man Gates considers "one of the great business leaders of our time." Intel was an early Microsoft customer and Grove's ideas shaped Gate's approach to management and strategy. Groves' ideas were further developed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr, who recently popularized the OKR tactic in a viral TedTalk. The method is used by top tech companies such as Google, Zynga, LinkedIn and even Bono's ONE organization, tackling debt relief and access to anti-HIV drugs across the globe.
"As much as I hate process, good ideas with great execution are how you make magic. And that's where OKRs come in," Alphabet CEO and Google co-founder Larry Page wrote in Doerr's latest book, "Measure What Matters." "OKRs have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over. They've helped make our crazily bold mission of 'organizing the world's information' perhaps even achievable. They've kept me and the rest of the company on time and on track when it mattered the most."