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Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke

The full title of this book by Christina Wodtke is

Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book 4 Stars. This means Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A business start-up novel about using OKR to drive the business forward.

This tells the story of two young entrepreneurs who are struggling to build a speciality tea business. Their investor introduced them to the idea of setting objectives and key results (OKR) and then to a new chief technical officer with more extensive knowledge of how to apply them.

In some of these business novels, the story can feel forced but this was easy to read with a nice flow to it. The main learning points were clearly explained.

After the story ends, about two thirds of the way through, it reverts to the standard business book format of explaining why businesses don’t make progress and how to use OKRs to drove the business forward.

There are a lot of similarities between OKR thinking and the Four Disciplines of Execution from the FranklinCovey organisation. Focus on one priority objective, measurements of the improvement, identifying actions to achieve the objective and weekly accountability and support sessions. Beyond that, there are differences which may make one more suitable for you and your business.

This may not be the best, most extensive book about Objectives and Key Results but it is very readable. The story is a gentle introduction and then you get the theory to answer your more detailed questions.

I have a few criticisms.

The book should have been better proofread to avoid the irritating typos.

OKR has its origins in Peter Drucker’s ideas on management by objectives from the 1950s and updated by Intel and Google. The book follows on with this bias towards information technology businesses. This filters through into a few acronyms which are hard to understand.

I’d have liked to read the author’s thoughts on how OKR can be applied outside of high tech but I think that’s outside her experience.

Overall I think this is a good book for learning the practicalities of the approach. It’s clearly written by an advocate so, while the book talks about reasons why things may not go well, it doesn’t include general criticisms or a comparison with other focus techniques.

You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.


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