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The idea for BetterWorks first came about when I realized a solution for setting goals at scale simply didn’t exist.

BetterWorks provides an open, collaborative platform to easily set, measure and cross-functionally align goals. Rooted in the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method, BetterWorks uses Goal Science™ thinking to provide powerful insights about how work gets done and help people reach their full potential at work.

Founded in 2013, the company is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, with an office in New York, and is privately held and funded by venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and Formation 8. BetterWorks has an elite team with talent from industry innovators including Palantir, Yammer, Box, Adobe, Cisco and Salesforce.

BusinessInterviews.com:  How did you come up with the concept behind BetterWorks?

Kris:  The idea for BetterWorks first came about when I realized a solution for setting goals at scale simply didn’t exist. The workplace tools I used and loved were lacking openness, transparency and collaboration. I began talking with Fortune 500 companies and verified the market need for transparent goal setting at work. Shortly after founding BetterWorks in 2013, I met with well-known VC capitalist John Doerr and in addition to offering up some solid advice, Doerr told me he only wished he had thought of the idea himself. Since then, BetterWorks has become the first to offer Objective Key Results (OKRs) goal setting via an easy to use platform.

As it stands, goal setting is an annual activity for businesses; more than 50% still  set goal annually. Their processes are not open or transparent, and workers cannot see their peers’ or their bosses’ goals. The current system doesn’t motivate or engage, and definitely doesn’t support collaboration. BetterWorks has become the first and only company that is modernizing this very old, and very draining problem. I believe this radical way of setting and meeting goals will soon become the norm.

BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you believe that Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are where goals go to die?

Kris: While Word, PowerPoint and Excel remain essential tools for businesses around the world, they don’t make the best platforms for managing goals. I’ve worked with people who have written goals down, with the best intentions, only to never check their progress. They end up falling short of completing their goal, even if they felt they were keeping tabs on it. According to a recent report, individuals are 42% more likely to achieve their goals by writing them down—but there is a 78% increase in achievement when sharing weekly progress with a friend. I think modern goal solutions like BetterWorks play a vital role in goal execution. Goal-setters need to have an interactive platform that reporters the goal status, visualizes goal progress and shows how their own achievement aligns with bigger-picture company objectives.

BusinessInterviews.com:  How are the needs of millennials different than previous generations?

Kris: On many levels, Millennials are more similar to other generations than we think. Across all generations, workers crave a constant feedback loop that keeps them going in the right direction. Likewise, we all crave purpose at our jobs. But the interesting difference is that millennials seem to be more vocal about needing it, and insistent about finding it.

In my experience, millennials desire a flat organizational structure where they are involved in the decision making process and where employees are rewarded for stellar performance over tenure and expertise. The millennial generation is driving a new way of working. They expect to be compensated and valued for what they bring to the table, and seek out the same in their colleagues, employees and managers. Millennials are driving a more productive way of working, and contribute to more innovative methods of working.

BusinessInterviews.com:  Can you talk about the significance of BetterWorks being recognized as a leader in the quantified workplace movement and helping to usher in a new era of transparency?

Kris: The quantified workplace movement is growing rapidly across all industries, and we’re on the front lines. While the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) goal-setting methodology has been used in high-growth companies like Google and Intel for some time, BetterWorks is bringing a new level of transparency and alignment to all high-growth organizations. The quantified movement is a win-win for employers and employees. Employers gain insight into goal progress and align their teams, while employees are able to understand how they fit into the bigger picture.

BusinessInterviews.com:  You unveiled your Apple Watch app in March.  Can you talk about that development process and the biggest lesson you learned along the way?

Kris:  Fortunately for us, we recruited former Senior Director of Engineering at Siri (then acquired by Apple) and iTunes Radio software engineer Jonathan Cheyer to help us through the development process. We realized early on that the workplace was missing an easy way to track the progress at work, deliver powerful insights about people and have a source of truth for work being done. Our team of product folks, engineers and designers worked together to make BetterWorks that source of truth, with the quantified self movement as our inspiration. Our motivation behind building the BetterWorks Apple Watch app was simple: showing real-time goal data on a wearable device is a powerful, yet lightweight way of informing our users – especially busy executives – about the progress of their goals, without interrupting the work at hand. The app makes it easy to get a quick snapshot of where current goals stand, add short check-ins and cheer on coworkers.

The biggest lesson we learned along the way was to keep the Apple Watch app super simple by focusing on a few key actions users are most likely to use from their watch. Our team really rallied around creating an engaging and motivating app that fully supported our vision to quantify work.

BusinessInterviews.com:  What milestone are you looking forward to reaching in the next year?

Kris:  At BetterWorks we’re focused on getting 1% better every day. With a little bit of quick math, you can see how this greatly impacts the company’s progress and momentum. We’re building traction quickly so it’s inspiring to think where 1% better will take us in a month, or year or 5 years from now.

We’re drinking our own champagne along the way—all of our employees utilize BetterWorks to track progress and align with our top objectives. It’s amazing to watch each person here get 1% better per day— in fact, 1% improvement every day means we’ll be 37x more productive at the end of one year.

We’re also looking forward to growing our team and our customer base, as well as build out and release additional platform integrations.

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