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OKR vs EOS: Differences and What They Have In Common

Understand the difference between OKR and EOS and how they can work together. Also, read real-time success stories of companies using these frameworks.
Shikha Tyagi

Shikha Tyagi

OKR vs EOS

OKR vs EOS, are two goal setting frameworks, used by the teams, individuals, or organizations in defining measurable goals and tracking their progress.

Although OKRs and EOS( Entrepreneurial Operating System) have different mechanics, they share a similar ideology.

OKRs are an efficient tool for goal setting as well as leadership. These are helpful in communicating the desired end results and the short-term goals to be met in order to accomplish them.

OKRs can be effectively used at various company levels.

On the other hand, EOS includes practical concepts and simple tools. These work towards simplifying the vision of a company and are specially crafted as per the need and desires of the entrepreneurs.

What is OKR ?

Mission keeps you on the rails. The OKRs provide focus & milestones.

Christina Wodtke

Objective and Key Result (OKR) is a universal collaborative methodology applicable at different levels in a company. They are used to set ambitious individual or team goals that align with the company goals.

OKRs work towards achieving a significant objective that ideally is inspirational and action-oriented. Specific, time-bound, and realistic key results are used to gauge the progress.

This methodology is completely divided into black and white and do not provide scope for any gray area.

This goal setting framework was used by companies like Google, Intel, Genentech, etc

The best part about OKRs is their feasibility that let anyone track the company objectives. It is not confined only to entrepreneurs or business leaders. 

Another advantage is that as goals are pre-decided it is easy to track the progress at any given time.

It saves both time and money and also avoids relying on assumptions while making any crucial decision like finances, budgets, or spending.

What is EOS ?

I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.

–          Steve Jobs

Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a combination of six basic elements. They are People, Vision, Issues, Data, Traction, and Process.

It is a lean methodology i.e. it is committed to identifying targets and making the workflow smoother.

It is a human-centered framework that is focused on extracting the best out of every employee. It uses simple concepts and practical tools which are tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs.

The four questions form the basis of the EOS methodology. They are:

  • What: This is meant to decide the target which is to be achieved by an organization.
  • How: This would involve the plan, milestones, etc. required to achieve that target.
  • When: This defines the timeline under which the target has to be achieved.
  • Who: This defines the individual responsibilities of the employees.

Therefore, it assists in resolving any doubt or confusion. Also, it helps in creating an environment open for experiments, which is the essence of any startup organization.

EOS methodology does not just deal with goal setting. It also helps in deciding the agendas, gauging performances against goals, keeping data and records, as well as managing projects from beginning to end.

Being a wholesome operating system, it can be used in building a structured framework. It has been used by several big shots like Facebook, Hubspot, and Dropbox. \

It also forms a part of the curriculum for various esteemed universities such as Harvard Business School, Wharton Business School, and Stanford University.

Two major advantages associated with EOS methodology are:

  • It serves as a guide for realizing business goals.
  • It helps in the formation of a better aligned and efficient team.

OKR vs EOS: How are they different?

OKR vs EOS: How are they different?

Both OKRs and EOS are meant to help businesses to run efficiently. However, the mechanics of these systems are quite different from each other.

There are three main differences between OKRs vs. EOS. They are given below:

1Approach

As the name indicates EOS is an operating system while OKRs can be referred to as a framework.

For EOS being an Operating System means that it is premeditated as a complete system for every kind of operation in an organization.

Moreover, it is specially designed keeping the need of the entrepreneurs in mind.

There are dedicated tools for different purposes. For example, a tool used in EOS named “L10 meetings” is meant to organize meetings on weekly basis.

This helps bring outstanding problems to the focus of company leaders.

Similarly, “Implementors” are the managers that help in implementation. These are the trained EOS consultants.

When we compare the two methods, OKRs do not provide a substitute for many of the elements that form part of EOS. However, it is capable of serving as a stand-alone tool for goal setting and management.

2Timeframe

Objective and Key Results are more flexible with their time frames. The goals are fixed but, the time frames can be decided as per the convenience of the team.

It can be quarterly, half-yearly, annual, or even more depending upon the need.

On the other hand, “traction” forms one of the core elements of the EOS methodology.

Therefore, the timeframe for most processes is fixed here with quarterly and annual sessions. In addition, a ten-year target is also fixed.

3Audience

EOS, as defined earlier, is meant for entrepreneurs and business leaders. This approach is meant to focus on specific business models. In opposition to this, OKRs are universal.

They can be used by any type of company and anyone in the company. Also, they can even be used by an individual for setting personal goals.

These can be adjusted as per the specific needs of a project or an organization.

Also read: How are OKRs and KPIs different?

OKR vs EOS: Can they be used together?

OKR vs EOS: Can they be used together?

In his book “Measure what matters” John Doerr has stated:

“An effective goal-setting system starts with disciplined thinking at the top, with leaders who invest the time and energy to choose what counts.”

Even after the considerable differences in their mechanics, the ideology of OKRs and EOS frameworks remain the same. The basic idea is goal setting and time-bound metrics. The major concerns brought to the table by both the methodologies include:

  • What: This refers to the goal-setting process.
  • How: The planning and means to approach the goal.
  • When: Deciding the timeframe for the goal.

Also, as OKRs are more flexible and can be adjusted to the specific needs of the project, these can be incorporated with the EOS which is a broader framework. The company leaders can find several opportunities to implement both methods together for better results.

For example “Rocks” form an element of the EOS framework. These are a set of 3 to 7 of the most important priorities of a team that are to be focused on in a period of 90 days.

Rocks can be re-arranged as per the OKR format. So, instead of the 3 – 7 priorities, there can be 5 to 7 objectives combined with 3 – 4 key results that are both measurable and time-bound.

Also Read: How are goals different from OKRs

OKR vs EOS: Success stories of companies using OKRs and EOS

Read the real-time success story of two companies using OKR vs EOS

Siroop – OKR success story

It is a tech-based company situated in Switzerland. David Frei, an employee from this company, describes the entire journey of Siroop since the time they started using OKRs.

He explains that as different teams inside the company work autonomously there was a need for common goals to bring them on the same page. OKRs help them link everything together.

They began by defining the ultimate yearly goal for the company. After this, the teams were asked to set their OKRs on a quarterly basis.

Regular quarterly discussions have helped the teams to set priorities and also led to increased agility.

Avea Solutions – EOS success story

It is a behavioral health billing company located in Beaverton. Ben Dittman, CEO of the company has stated his reasons to prefer EOS in an article published in Forbes.

He has stated that ambiguous targets demotivated the employees of the company.

EOS framework has allowed the company to maintain transparency in everyday work. Also, one of the core elements of EOS “traction” has helped the employees of their company to understand their shortcomings and work on them.

Moreover, it has bridged the communication gap and established a culture of sharing.

As per him, EOS has made the work environment much better by making the employees efficient in identifying and reducing problems.

Conclusion

No matter if you choose OKR vs EOS or OKR and EOS.  What is important is to remember that the actual reason behind choosing them is to lead your company towards progress.

That is the reason why your framework must keep evolving with your business. It is not mandatory that you abide by the same set of rules forever. Therefore, experimenting with your methods is equally important.

The aim of a leader is to make everyone work towards the common goals with their full potential. So, before you move towards finalizing a system for your company, take time to understand its suitability for your business.

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