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5 Reasons Why OKRs Succeed in the West but Fail terribly in Asia 

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OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal management method widely used in Western companies such as Google, Intel, and LinkedIn, which has made these companies shine as superstars in the global business world. However, most OKRs are only successful in European and American countries, while in Asia, they often result in disastrous failures. Is there a reason behind this performance discrepancy, and is it because “the West has more superheroes”? The answer is not necessarily, as the 21st century is the century of Asia, and we are definitely making mistakes somewhere along the way.

Let’s explore the following article from to understand the five reasons why OKRs are successful in the West but fail miserably in Asia, according to a report by McKinsey & Company, a leading global strategy consulting firm that has studied and analyzed OKRs and their impact on different markets.

Is it because Europeans have more modern machines, more MBA graduates, or a more advanced nervous system that they succeed? Obviously not. Most of us fail because we are confused in our thinking from the first steps of implementing OKRs. So how do we simplify things? In Asia, with its versatile language and fluid calligraphy, there is a tendency to perceive new things from abroad as “difficult,” which then defaults to “complicated.”

Today, with Simplamo, let’s explore 5 ways in which we can easily make mistakes when implementing OKRs, which are easy to understand and don’t require high-level AI intelligence to grasp. Sometimes, just reading them is enough to understand, and when we understand these 5 characteristics, we will realize that implementing OKRs is not that difficult after all.

1. Cultural factor

In Asian companies, respect for hierarchy is highly valued and questioning the boss’s opinion is seen as disrespectful to superiors and impolite to older people, leading to rigidity and conservatism in organizations and passive waiting for instructions from employees. However, for OKRs, a conservative mindset is easily defeated by the flexibility of the market.

Trending” is the keyword for all customer behavior today, which is why many successful people today do not need degrees, even successful as teenagers on online platforms, starting their own businesses at a young age and earning millions of dollars, while giants have been destroyed by the “bowing culture” management mindset, having to sell themselves to small and nimble companies to dominate the market, typical of the case of Toshiba, which is 150 years old and had to sell to a series of Taiwanese companies and other financial organizations.

The key here is: empowering leadership, continuous openness, encouraging employees to speak up and be willing to debate for the best plans for the company in meetings. Being honest and good-willed will be a cultural revolution for companies in Asia in general and Vietnam in particular, is there a way? There is a way, everything will be solved with the meeting feature on

2. Setting OKRs too complicated, doubting simplicity

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein (the greatest theoretical physicist of the 20th century)

There is a psychological effect that often occurs with Vietnamese and Asian business owners, that is, anything at the macro level cannot be described in simple words. Complexity makes us feel like something grand and worthy of ambitious goals, plans, and dreams, but when it comes to action, everything fails, because to act confidently requires clear thinking, and clarity comes only from simplicity.

The true achievement in business does not come from grandiose-sounding words used just for show, but rather from the daily actions and resolute decisions made through clear and easy-to-understand thinking. Therefore, the more an entrepreneur can turn their ideas into simple and assertive words, the easier it is to encourage their team to apply them to reality, to divide tasks more clearly, and to correct mistakes more quickly and efficiently.

3. Organizational structure is too rigid 

Some Asian companies have traditional and rigid organizational structures with hierarchical levels, they like “the process” and dislike the flexibility of rolling with the punches, which can slow down the implementation of OKRs. Meanwhile, Western companies usually have simpler organizational structures and can make decisions quickly.

US and European companies tend to focus on result-oriented management and performance, while Asian companies often focus on solving short-term issues and ensuring stability within the organization.

So, how can we build a flexible organizational structure that focuses on action, achieves real results, and doesn’t get lost in the roles that need to be done? Let’s explore the function of the Responsibility Chart on Simplamo software, where the systemic thinking of Asia combines with the agility of the West => all are available on software.

4. Underestimate the measurement factor

In the West, companies often use a results-based measurement approach, which measures the degree of completion of goals and achieves expected outcomes. However, in Asia, companies often use an effort and process-based measurement approach, which measures the level of effort to achieve goals and the process of work execution.

Using inappropriate measurement methods can cause OKRs to fail in Asia, as employees may focus more on completing tasks, only making efforts without caring about the final results. This can lead to OKR goals failing and not bringing real value to the company.

5. Internal disconnection – the “Endless” charger of teamwork.

Setting a goal alone is not enough to achieve it. Usually, people will “set and forget”, so the goal will be pushed aside when daily life and other activities take up time. OKRs require consensus and positive psychology from all members of the organization.

To truly reach the goal, the team must always prioritize it in all its activities. More importantly, it is essential to ensure that everyone in the team knows each other’s work and is moving forward in the overall picture of the team’s common goal.

If people don’t know anything about each other, it will be challenging to help each other, leading to disjointed work processes and disagreements due to vague expectations. Clear communication of goals helps the team understand and ensure that everyone is confident in their work, and no one is left behind or lost when there are always teammates around.

Simplamo – The platform solves 5 common disasters in OKR implementation easily

Simplamo is a software that helps businesses operate and manage with modern management thinking, saving years of hard work with messy and disjointed operations that lead to lost vision and confusion. Now, all the obstacles in a company’s OKR can be solved decisively with simple yet accurate steps that focus on the core issues. The pain of OKR implementation is no longer a silent note in the soaring development of the enterprise.

Specifically, the following 5 functions in Simplamo address common OKR implementation issues encountered in Asian companies:

  1. 1:1 dialogue feature enhances empowerment, demonstrating the greatness of a leader (Level 5 Leader according to Jim Collins – author of the book “From Good to Great”), pushing employees into bold tasks, allowing them to take ownership of tasks and discover their own talents.

2. Establish clear and specific company-wide goals, summarized in 7 core objectives, with all members discussing and each department and member having clear, specific goals using the S.M.A.R.T method. Minimize the habit of half-hearted work, ensure everyone understands each other’s work, and their own responsibilities. All operations are carried out on Simplamo.

3. Responsibility chart: clarify the overall picture and current structure of the company, package it with 5 roles or lower for each position, and focus on defining the core roles. Through this, each employee will understand the organization’s nature, and those who are overloaded by sitting in multiple positions will be scientifically restructured and analyzed, discussed with the whole team to come up with an optimized diagram for a smarter operation.

4. Make confident decisions based on data stored on the software. All KPIs are tracked on the Scorecard and updated continuously to fit the business situation, measured weekly to align with the quarterly goals but still maintain flexibility for market fluctuations. Build a vision of core goals using 8 simple questions according to modern management models from the United States. This helps leaders look in the same direction and quickly adapt to a vast world.

5. The Weekly Meeting tool addresses tons of gaps in plan execution. An effective Weekly Meeting, with a ready-made framework, 7 specific steps, all linked to each other, and automatically creating issues when they arise continuously. Urgent issues will be added to the To-do list, while longer ones will be listed in the Rock section of the quarterly goals. The specific PICs will take turns coordinating the meeting on the BOD, helping middle managers become stronger and not relying on the boss.

The rap on Simplamo highlights how the management mindset can be tightly integrated into the company’s operations to truly make them effective. It emphasizes the importance of both leadership and employees understanding what they are doing, where they need to go, and how to get there. Simplamo provides a roadmap for companies, eliminating doubts and turning vision into reality.

Managing a company on allows us to easily see the capability to achieve goals and any inefficiencies in the action process, which cannot be hidden. The focus is on transparency and simplicity, quickly eliminating difficulties and concentrating on important matters.

CEOs can overcome the pain of management and experience freedom for their ambitions with the support of Simplamo’s simple management software, allowing them to confidently dream of achieving many other victories in their path to realizing their million-dollar dreams!

Simplamo is more than just software, it is the passion and intelligence of engineers who continuously improve and update the product to become smarter, creating a better competitive advantage and helping many Vietnamese businesses achieve sustainable growth. Let’s join together to win!

The growth of a company is the absolute guiding principle for Simplamo. With all its heart and desire, Simplamo believes that all operational pains can be resolved to zero, paving the way for leaders to strive for success and maximize the potential for business development – Super growth – Super profit.


Simplamo is a modern and scientifically-based management software that uniquely combines KPI and OKR, making every aspect of operation simple and approachable for every employee. It relieves pressure for leaders, allowing them to focus on important missions and optimize work performance for the business.

Experience Simplamo and feel the change in just 4 weeks! Register for a Simplamo demo at:

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