Huawei abandons KPIs and introduces OKR?

When implementing OKR, people usually have these questions: “What is the difference between OKR and KPI?” “What value can OKR bring to the enterprise?”

On the one hand, companies such as Google, Microsoft, and IBM have achieved great success after adopting the new performance management model; on the other hand, even if companies such as GE have adopted the new model, they have not performed well in business due to improper strategies. .

If Google and Microsoft do not develop smoothly one day, what should we learn?

The author of this article, Kuang Yang, is the trader of Huawei OKR. After helping Huawei import OKR, he reviewed his experience.

He believes that we should not just look at the appearance of good corporate practices, we need to grasp the core of the problem. Below, Enjoy:


1. Why is performance management no longer effective?

To understand why performance management is no longer effective, we have to start with the framework of performance management 2.0 itself.

After the company introduced the goal setting link, performance management expanded into a comprehensive full-process management activity that included goal setting, performance implementation and coaching, and performance evaluation.

In this system, goal setting is the starting point, performance evaluation is the end point, and performance process management activities are interspersed in the middle.


The original intention is to hope that before starting a job, employees can clearly understand the meaning and value of a job, set a good goal, find a direction, until the goal is achieved.

However, in practice, due to the following reasons, it often deviated from the original intention, leading to the phenomenon of performanceism.

Performanceist phenomenon 1: Target assignment from top to bottom

For employees, the value of a goal lies in its ability to help employees understand the meaning and value of a job.

For the goal to be able to play the role of this beacon, subordinates need to participate in the goal-setting process.

If the subordinates just passively accept the goals assigned by the superior, the subordinates will lose their sense of participation.

Think that oneself is just a tool for accomplishing the goals of superiors, just a chess piece, dominated at will, thus lacking sense of ownership.

This situation is accompanied by the enlargement of the enterprise scale and the deepening of the organizational hierarchy, and its silo effect will become more serious. The traditional organizational structure is as follows.


If the goal of the first-level organization is to build a great church.

Then the goal of the second-level organization may be: build a prayer room.

When it comes to the third-level organization, the goal may be: to build an extremely strong foundation.

When it comes to employees, the goal may be: to dig a foundation of 20 meters in length and width, and about 10 meters in depth within 10 days.

Through the decomposition of this layer of goals, to the employees, there is no longer a great meaning behind doing this.

Performanceism phenomenon 2: Performance coaching is equivalent to progress monitoring

In the performance implementation and performance coaching links, supervisors and subordinates should have more interaction.

The supervisor provides counseling and resource support to the subordinates to help them achieve their goals and improve their performance.

However, more and more companies, due to the excessive pursuit of efficiency, have turned the entire performance coaching link into one-way progress monitoring and tracking.

The supervisor only knows to stare at the progress bar. If he finds that a subordinate is lagging behind, he will warn the subordinate and ask him to work overtime to catch up with the progress.

Subordinates are under tremendous work pressure for this, and they are constantly driven by the supervisor to meet the schedule as the first priority. They lack in-depth thinking and independent perception of work and are enslaved by the schedule.

Performanceist phenomenon 3: Mandatory performance ratio

Most companies in the information age have implemented mandatory performance ratio rules and relative evaluation principles.

The mandatory performance ratio rule divides the performance of employees within a team into several grades, and each grade sets a certain ratio distribution requirement.

For example, divide employee performance into 5 levels, and pre-set the ratio of the first level to 10% to 15%, the second level to 30% to 40%, the third level to 30% to 40%, and the fourth level to 5%~10%, the fifth grade is 0~5%.

In this way, whether it is an excellent team or a relatively poor team, it is mandatory to apply this proportional distribution principle-

Forcibly identify the last 5% to 10% of the team and eliminate the last.

The principle of relative appraisal means that the performance of employees is compared from person to person.

By comparing the work output of the employees in the team, a sorting sequence is formed. The employees at the top of the sequence have better performance than those at the bottom.

Since the result is compared with others, employee A does not have to be more excellent (absolute value), employee A only needs to be a little better than employee B (relative value), and A is safer than B.

That being the case, why does A help B? Isn’t helping B to dig one’s own grave?

AWhy should we focus our energy on the improvement and cultivation of ability? A only needs to focus on how to be better than B, right?

Microsoft, which once implemented this system, has widely circulated an organizational chart describing its internal departmental atmosphere on the Internet.


In this picture, the various departments of Microsoft held pistols at each other, hoping that they could win, and killed each other.

The entire company is like a primitive arena, full of life and death struggles.

This is a true portrayal of the inside of Microsoft before 2013.

At that time, Microsoft implemented a strict mandatory ratio and relative ranking system, which led to internal vicious competition and non-cooperation.

Regarding the assessment, Microsoft used a lifeboat internally as an image metaphor:

“If you are sailing in the sea with six other people in the same boat, but the boat suddenly breaks down, you must escape with the other people in a lifeboat.

But the lifeboat is small and the number of people it can carry is limited, so you need to decide who to abandon.

For this you have to rank these six people, the one at the bottom is the one you don’t want to escape together. ”

Microsoft even made this a case and used it in the interview process of candidates, which shows that its performance culture is deeply ingrained.

Therefore, from the moment talents enter Microsoft, everyone is in danger.

In order to prevent themselves from becoming the one who was thrown down the lifeboat, everyone is focusing their energy on how to compare others, not on the work itself.

Microsoft once missed the era of the mobile Internet, and was called the “Lost Decade” by the outside world.

Performanceism phenomenon 4: strong performance application

Some companies claim that in order to build high-performance organizations and reflect the company’s emphasis on performance, performance results are applied to all aspects of the company, including salary, bonuses, and promotions.

In this way, performance results actually become a code name for material returns.

If performance results are good, everything is good; if performance results are not good, it is useless in the enterprise.

This kind of strong performance application severely shackles employees’ thinking space.

Ren Zhengfei once used an image metaphor to describe:

“The pigs are so fat that they don’t even hum.

Technology companies are driven by talents. If the company is too early to market, a group of people will become millionaires and multimillionaires, and their passion for work will decline.

This is not a good thing for Huawei, and it is not necessarily a good thing for the employees themselves. As a result, Huawei will grow slowly and even lose its team;

Employees who are too rich at a young age will become lazy and will not benefit their personal growth. ”

Therefore, for entrepreneurs, external incentives are like opium.

The initial stimulus effect is obvious to make employees feel like a cloud.

But slowly, they found that the same degree or even greater dose of stimulation was difficult to mobilize the workers’ enthusiasm for work.

1 Response

  1. Marin says:

    Huawei has conducted a performance management satisfaction survey, and the results show that OKR teams have a higher degree of satisfaction in all dimensions of performance management than teams that adopt traditional performance management methods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *