Top OKR Experts Share Their Must-Read Books for Goal Setting Success
7 Mins read

Top OKR Experts Share Their Must-Read Books for Goal Setting Success

Top OKR Experts Share Their Must-Read Books for Goal Setting Success

As businesses strive to achieve their goals, it is essential to have a systematic approach to measure progress and stay on track. OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) have become a popular framework used by companies of all sizes and industries to align their teams, set objectives, and measure progress against outcomes.

In fact, OKRs have become the newest trend in growth, as more and more companies are adopting this goal-setting and strategy execution methodology to achieve their business outcomes successfully. This has led to a rise in the number of OKR influencers, advocates, and experts who can help beginners navigate the framework through their guidance.

As with any new trend, it can be challenging to know where to start and how to get the most out of OKRs. We've gathered a list of eight books recommended by top OKR experts. Alongside these books, we'll dive into real-life examples from the experts themselves, of how OKRs have helped companies measure progress, stay focused, and achieve their objectives. Whether you're new to OKRs or looking for inspiration to improve your goal-setting process, this blog is for you.

So, without further ado, let's dive into the top eight must-read books for OKR enthusiasts, recommended by top OKR experts!

1. Aaron Velek

OKR Program Manager at SVB and Product Council Advisor at Fitbots

Aaron Velek is a multi-talented individual who has made a name for himself in the field of strategy. He is known for his expertise in business strategy and leadership development and has helped numerous organizations unlock their potential and achieve success.

Aaron has extensive experience leading agile teams focused on project management and strategy execution while working in financial services, fintech, and technology. Aaron is passionate about leveraging data, technology, and design thinking to overcome complex business challenges. He also enjoys building new processes and ways of working that drive business transformation. 

Aaron holds a MID (Master of Industrial Distribution) and is a certified OKR Coach, Lean Change Agent, Agile Practitioner (PMI-ACP), and Scrum Master. He is very active in the OKR community with numerous articles published and multiple podcasts recorded.

Aaron’s go-to book: ‘Extreme Ownership’ by Joko Richards

Curious about Aaron’s journey? Tune into this podcast where he shares his extraordinary story on how he got onto OKRs with a strong foundation in Project Management.

2. Charlotte Stewart

Head of HR, SC Ventures & Innovation

Charlotte Stewart is a Human Resources leader with extensive experience in people strategy and culture building, learning and talent management. She is the Head of HR of SC Ventures, Standard Chartered Bank’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm.

Before joining SC Ventures, Charlotte worked in senior HR roles at Expedia, where her last position was Director HR for APAC. She worked with Royal Bank of Scotland for more than a decade and spent more than five years at Honeywell Control Systems as the Regional HR Business Partner in the UK.

She holds BSc Hons, Business Administration and Management from University of Reading and a Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Development from Kingston Business School.

Charlotte nurtures new talent and orchestrates winning teams.

Charlotte was born an expat and has lived in Holland, Brunei, Hong Kong, and Singapore as well as her home country of England.  As a result, she has a passion for cultures, food and new experiences ranging from diving to climbing mountains.  She also a range of skills to her name – European 3-Day Eventing Gold Medallist, journalist, painter and a mother of 3, including twins.

Charlotte’s favorite book: ‘Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility’ by Patty McCord

Learn more about Charlotte’s journey from the expert herself. In this podcast, Charlotte has reveals her best practices of building DI&E with OKRs and how Standard Chartered Ventures sustains OKRs.

3. Christian Ulstrup

Creative strategist helping business leaders use AI to enter new markets and gain traction

Christian is a creative strategist who helps venture-backed startup founders, execs, and chiefs-of-staff get their teams hyper-focused, reduce management overhead, and accelerate progress company-wide. He has 7+ years of power-packed experience implementing OKRs and customer discovery sprints as a product manager, product executive, non-profit volunteer team leader, CEO/co-founder, and coach to venture-backed startup leaders across the U.S.

Christian is well-known for his unique approach to implementing OKRs with focus and effectiveness. He advocates for a painless, lightweight, and flexible approach to OKRs.

Christian’s go-to book: ‘Innovating: A Doer's Manifesto’ by Luis Perez-Breva

Tune into this podcast where Christian Ulstrup connects the dots between OKRs and focus by revealing his unique approach - the power of ONE OKR.

4. Melisaan Foster

Customer Success and Experience Director, Workbuzz

Melisaan is an experienced consultant in engagement and communications with a demonstrated history of working across a variety of sectors and regions. Her career started in  financial and professional services. Mesliaan is known for her skill in communications, employee engagement, and inclusion initiatives. She is a strong professional with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) focused in Business Management from the University of Birmingham. She was also awarded Mark of Excellence, Outstanding Young Communicator, CIPR Excellence awards 2018.

Melisaan’s go-to book: ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey

There’s a lot left to learn from Mesliaan’s story. Tune in to this podcast where shares her experiences with using OKRs to build a world-class product and the importance of selecting the right metics to drive Customer Experience. 

5. Michael Goitein

Enterprise OKRs, Agile, Discovery & Product Coach at KeyBank

Michael is a global technology leader, innovator, author, and certified Agile transformer who strategically directs and delivers multi-million-dollar, enterprise-level digital, mobile, big data, and high-tech solutions for Fortune 200 clients. Michael is known for leading local and globally-distributed teams in coaching, innovating, executing, and delivering end-to-end mobile and digital projects.

Michael’s leadership trajectory is highlighted by driving organizations’ digital business growth; launching new, profitable business units; leading day-to-day operational and tactical aspects of large-scale delivery projects; and instituting high-performing Scrum teams from the ground up.

The added value that Michael brings to the table is his executive presence, to guide clients in defining strategic technology roadmaps and driving transformative Agile and digital programs. Known for being a empathetic people manager and product champion, Michael is passionate about building great products that leverage UX-driven, design-centered approaches to deliver real client-focused business outcomes.

Michael’s go-to book: ‘Radical Focus (2nd edition)’ by Christina Wodtke

Michael specializes in enterprise growth as an OKRs, Agile, Discovery and Product Coach at KeyBank. Tune into this podcast where he sheds some light on approaching OKRs for a legacy enterprise.

6. Michelle Kung

Angel Investor and Start up Mentor Professional for Sustainable Solutions

Michelle Kung has developed her career path and professional experiences in ESG related policies, technology solutions and investments since she started her Ph.D. program in the US in 2004. After working for academic, public and private sectors for 20 years, she has built comprehensive skill-sets for her career development in Sustainable Cities, Climate Change and Energy Security. Michelle has participated in several projects on international energy and environmental policies in Asian major cities. When she worked for UNU-IAS (United Nations’ think tank), she assisted for the “Urban Low-Carbon Development with the Co-Benefits Approach” project. In addition, she worked for the Ministry of National Development of Singapore Government as a lead researcher on urban sustainability policies. At this position, she authored the book titled “Built by Singapore- from Slums to a Sustainable Built Environment” - a comprehensive body of knowledge to aid the next generation government officials and urban leaders from developing countries. This opportunity allowed her to be involved in several international training programs for global urban leaders. She switched to gain hands-on private sector experiences through the Business Development and Special Projects Manager position at a clean-tech innovator with cloud-based energy management and IoT platform in Singapore. She led the next generation testbed projects, strategic engagements with government agencies, international market development and special intellectual property projects. In order to deepen her managerial and operational skills, she held the Executive Director position at Business Angel Network Southeast Asia to lead the organization to promote early stage investment and nurture technology start-up ecosystem in Southeast Asia. She focused on clean tech, climate tech and IoT solutions for smart cities. The experience also inspired her to explore green investment and green technology development globally. 

As the Chairman of TINVA Singapore Chapter, she is currently assisting leading technology companies from Taiwan enter into SEA markets through venture building, international funding, local market partnership and governmental support. Michelle is an investor for tech start-ups in SEA and Europe. In addition to funding support, she continues engaging with the regional start-up ecosystem as a mentor/advisor/judge for start-ups and partners.

Michelle’s recommended book: ‘Managing Oneself’ by Peter Drucker.

What makes a start-up stand out to an investor? And what are the best practices in working with start-up founders as an investor? Tune into this podcast where Michelle sheds some light on these pertinent questions from the perspective of an Investor.

7. Nishka Sinha

Co-founder and CMO, Dresma

Prior to Dresma, Nishka ran an off-shore post production services business which gave her a deep understanding of the issues faced in the content creation process by businesses of all sizes. Nishka has a demonstrated track record of creating an established, profitable business from the initial stages. Before she got into the reins of entrepreneurship, she was a corporate communications trainer having consulted with top companies in India, including ITC, Wipro, Genpact and Convergys. 

As the Co-founder and CMO of Dresma, a Silicon Valley-based start-up, Nishka is on a mission to disrupt the way visual content for online selling is created. Dresma has developed the AI-driven DoMyShoot mobile app, a self-use solution for online sellers to custom generate professional eCommerce images instantly at unprecedented scale and low cost. Since its founding in 2019, Dresma has become recognized as a company offering powerful tools for the democratization of visual content creation.

Nishka is extremely passionate about issues pertaining to women in the workforce and strives to make a positive change, starting with the Dresma team.

Rather than a book, she recommends the top business podcast - The $100 MBA Show.

Tune into this podcast where Nishka Sinha narrates her story of leading OKR adoption as Dresma scaled larger and larger heights.

8. Sarah Castillo

Director, Group of Business Operations, Staffbase

Sarah is leading the OKRs implementation at Staffbase. Sarah has some great experience in Project Management , Business Strategy and more recently as the Chief of Staff at Staffbase.

Sarah's first job was researching cell-division in microscopic life and then she had a major shift as she moved into the fields of tech and business. As she explored the world of strategy and business goals, she eventually moved into the space of freelance where she travelled across Europe and enhanced her writing. While Sarah loved the freedom that came with freelancing, she realized that something was missing - a team that could grow along with her. She moved back to United States and found this missing piece within Staffbase.

Since then, Sarah has worked in multiple departments, such as Marketing and managing the Sales Development team. She is known for being able to use her sharp analytical skills to spot trends and deep insights in business strategy and delivering excellent results.

Sarah's favorite book: 'Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It' by Christopher Voss

Want to learn more about Sarah's journey? Tune into this podcast where she talks about sustaining OKRs in the long run and how to strike the right balance with OKRs.

9. Varun Dhamija

Chief Digital Officer, TimesPro

Varun has successfully led the digital transformation of many businesses in a 360-degree format. 

By background, Varun is a management Professional with General Management expertise. He has 20+ years of varied, multicultural experience in various industries, functions, and geographies. Having led various businesses and functions, he has successfully demonstrated the experience to start, scale, or turnaround businesses.

By demonstrating proven results and creating sustainable P&L impact, Varun has been rated top talent at Pearson and Convergys and thus, he has enjoyed a fast-paced career growth. Varun’s specialties include P&L management, product management, creating new businesses, and scaling a business, especially with the use of technology.

Varun’s book recommendation: Trillion Dollar Coach by Bill Campbell

Want to learn more? Tune into this podcast with Varun talks about using OKRs to drive agility and collaboration in corporate education.

About the Author

Bani is an OKR enthusiast who anchors content and marketing at Fitbots OKRs. She loves spreading the love of OKRs to enrich workplaces and collaborating to create engaging content for her readers.


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