Leverage OKR: Bring Your Company to Maturity

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Leverage OKR: Bring Your Company to Maturity

Winning organizations have two critical things in common:

  1. Individuals are held accountable for results that make an impact on the organization’s strategic objectives
  2. There is visibility on these results throughout the organization, which aligns the teams across departments, synergize, and avoid double-work

But how are you going to make sure the next quarter is even better? It is time for you to do a retrospective and reset your OKRs for the new quarter.

Some of you may be very familiar with the concept of Retrospective – it is a familiar event in the agile process. It is the third stage of the OKR cycle after strategic planning and execution. Retrospective, as you might have guessed, is a small exercise to reset and rinse. You celebrate your successes and identify your failures so that you can have an even impressive next quarter.

Leverage OKR to Close the Gap Between Strategy and Execution

Brainstorming, strategizing, and setting goals is great, but most organizations fall short when it comes to execution. While the dedication and enthusiasm are at an all-time high during the first few weeks, both the management and teams start deflecting from their set objective as time passes.

More often than not, most companies are not able to achieve the desired results due to the lack of alignment in different aspects:

  • Lack of alignment in the leadership team
  • Absence of alignment at the department level
  • Lacks of understanding in the lower level of the company regarding the impact they have on the organization’s strategic plan

Despite having a thoughtful strategic plan, employees are not clear about their role and contribution to the plan. No one checks up to ensure that they are progressing in the right direction. As a result, execution varies significantly across the organization.

When ownership and the ways to measure success are not clear, it causes organizations to be very reactive.  Inevitably, priorities vary between not being transparent and there being many, resulting in time spent on things that do not significantly impact what matters most.

Considering all these challenges, organizations look upon OKRs to help them meet strategic goals through a well-planned framework.

Bring Your Organization to Maturity with OKR

A range of well-known corporations and successful start-ups leverage the OKR framework, including Adobe, Amazon, Dell, Deloitte, Dropbox, Samsung, Spotify, Twitter, and more.  OKR is a proven goal-setting framework that, when implemented correctly, transforms an organization’s culture by engaging all employees in conversations around strategy execution.

Let’s have a look at eight key way OKR will impact your organization.

OKRs Focus & Inspire

Setting up OKRs with weekly check-ins and meetings keeps your entire organization focused and inspired. Each of the involved stakeholders knows their role in meeting the set objectives and does their best to meet the goal.

We highly recommend being optimistic while setting up OKR. Ideally, set them high. If you put them just above what you usually achieve, you may not inspire your employees enough, and they will do just enough to meet the set numbers.

OKRs Create The Larger Coalition of The Willing

You can move mountains by working together, and this is what OKRs help you achieve. Bringing the entire organization on the same page essentially enables you to create a larger group of people working towards achieving the common goal.

Cascading Objectives Drive More Conversations

OKRs help you set up cascading goals for everyone in the organization. From executives to individuals and everyone in between – the whole organization is well-aware of their respective goals. This combined effort drives more conversations.

OKR Aligns Teams and Hold Them Accountable

OKR generates a sense of accountability and alignment within your team. You get to review the team’s progress every week or fortnight. You get to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. This aligns the entire team and makes them understand that its progress and success directly link to the organization’s success as a whole.

Get Individuals to Commit with OKR

When each employee understands that their success impacts the organization’s overall success, they work harder to achieve the set goals. They feel more inspired to stick to their commitments. In turn, this benefits the organization immensely.

Team Transparency with OKR

OKR enhances team transparency. You don’t have to wait for a year or so to get the desired results. You can monitor the results every quarter in the form of retrospectives. Even better, you can have a look at the team progress by conducting team meetings and one-on-ones.

OKR Accelerates Individual Performance

OKR acts as an individual accelerator and inspire each individual to give their best, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and work on them. OKRs not only accelerate the individual performance, but they also gear up the performance of your organization.

OKR Creates a Culture of Stretch

OKR helps you push the boundaries and stretch yourself to achieve the best you can. It accomplishes this by creating an environment where employees are not afraid to take risks. Develop a culture of stretch in your organization to drive growth.

Create Alignment and Accountability Throughout The OKR Cycle

Strategic Planning

An OKR cycle begins by strategically planning your objectives and setting up the goals for the next quarter. The process starts with executives brainstorming together to identify the core objectives important for the organization. Departments and teams should then meet to develop their objectives and share them throughout the organization so that they can align on work that contributes to the company’s strategic objectives.

Execution

Once the organization sets Objectives, it is time to execute the laid out plan to achieve the desired results. The execution phase is essential, as this is where the real action happens. Weekly or bi-weekly team reviews are essential to ensure that the teams are working as intended. It is also vital to have 1-on-1s between managers and leaders to track OKR progress so far. Additionally, mid-OKR check-ins are vital to ensure that at least 50% of the set objectives are achieved.

Retrospective

The last stage of an OKR cycle is retrospection. Here, you reflect on the quarter and analyze if you are heading in the right direction.  This is a time to publicly celebrate wins and identify roadblocks that prevented success and how to do better the following quarter.  It is important to create an open, nurturing environment so that your employees are not afraid to commit to riskier Objectives the following quarter.

At this time, you should find answers to questions like: were you able to achieve the key results? Did set objectives perfectly capture the team’s intent? Are there any dynamics that changed over the quarter?

The idea here is to celebrate the success and identify the mistakes so that your organization can perform even better in the next quarter.

Learn more about the OKR cycle here.

Conclusion

92% of people don’t achieve their goals. Do not let this happen in your organization. Build a culture of continuous growth and excellence by implementing OKRs.

People Stretch Solutions has been helping organizations and companies run successful OKRs. To learn more and to take your business on the road to success, download the Executive’s Guide to OKR to learn more about the OKR cycle, writing good OKRs, and how-to implement an OKR framework in your organization.

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