The OKR Cycle: Strategic Planning

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The OKR Cycle: Strategic Planning

Strategic planning lays the core foundation of an OKR cycle. Not all OKRs are successful, and what differentiates the successful OKR cycle from others is the right strategic planning.

Ideally, strategic planning should start two weeks before you kick start the OKR. The leadership team should collaborate to define top-level objectives to architect OKRs.  

This article will delve deeper into why strategic planning is essential for your OKR cycle’s success and how to get started.

The Anatomy of an OKR Strategic Plan

As you start planning your OKR cycle, you will find that the most basic research is either vague or too complicated that there is no clarity on what a strategic plan is and how to achieve it.

Here are the four elements of a strategic plan you must focus on:

OKR Research & Training

Before you figure out where you want your company to go, you need to find your existing position. Therefore, research is necessary to build a picture of your company and identify its current status.

Next, your leaders, managers, and employees must have the necessary information about OKR to exist successfully within the framework.  We recommend a combination of self-paced OKR online courses and in-person/virtual OKR workshops.


OKR Strategic Development

The best place to start researching is with key stakeholders and the people who drive your company’s value. Having a deeper understanding of these stakeholder roles will contribute positively to your strategic plan.

OKR Implementation and OKR Change Management

Once you have the strategic plan of OKR ready, the next step is to convert it into a strategic implementation plan to which your whole company aligns.  You will want to have a plan in place to continually reinforce best practices around OKR.

OKR Measurement

When the plan is implemented correctly, it is time to measure your strategy and performance. Have a proper feedback mechanism to ensure that your company moves ahead in line with the OKR strategy that yields the desired results.

Key OKR Planning Meetings

To design your strategic plan, it is important to derive key insights from all the involved stakeholders. Conduct executive workshops to determine the top-level objectives, and draft the key results. Next, conduct an OKR best practices workshop to educate your team on OKRs and prepare leaders for team planning.

In addition to preparing the leaders for team planning, you must also spread awareness among all individuals to keep them on the same page. The leaders and teams should be aligned and committed to OKRs.

Change Management is a Key to OKR Success – ADKAR

For the OKR to be successful, your organization must be ready for the upcoming change. To ensure that the change is incorporated well into the workflow, we recommend leveraging the ADKAR methodology.

Awareness of the Need for Change

Start brainstorming the annual and Q1 OKRs for the company. The first phase of the OKR cycle begins with senior leaders brainstorming the top-line company OKRs.

Typically, most companies define the OKRs for Q1. However, it is always the best practice to set your annual plan to steer your company goals in the right direction.

Desire to Support The Change

This is when you should be communicating OKRs for the upcoming year and Q1 with all the top-leaders, stakeholders, and team members. Communication is necessary to keep everyone on the same page and make them aware of the common goal they are working on.

Knowledge on How-To Change

Once the company’s common goals are communicated, it is the time for teams to develop their respective OKRs in line with the company-wide OKRs and propose them at the meetings.

Ability to Implement New Skills

One week into the quarter is the right time to share the OKRs of different contributors. This process works best when there is proper communication and negotiation between contributors and managers.

Reinforce the Change

During the quarter, the employees must measure and share their process. Managers are also encouraged to check the progress status with their team members. To ensure that all teams are working in the right direction to achieve the goals, contributors should assess the OKRs’ status and how likely it is to achieve the set OKRs. If it is anticipated that it is tough to achieve the set goals, you may need to recalibrate.

Identify Key Stakeholders

When you are nearing the end of the quarter, it is the time for the employees to reflect ad grade their OKRs. Employees need to self-assess themselves and analyze their achievements so far.

It is highly likely that you have OKRs from the previous cycle that were not achieved. In such a case, they are included in the next quarter or discarded entirely if they are no longer necessary.

Various companies use the Vision of their company as an Objective that teams pursue quarter after quarter. For instance, delivering value to your customers is a vision you might want to roll over from one quarter to the next. Here, the company might want to keep the objective same for various quarters, creating new Key Results for each OKR cycle.

Companies can also establish the same Key Results, only changing the targets. For instance, think of metrics like Net Promoter Score and Revenue. You can choose to change the targets over quarters, keeping the Key Results the same.

Identify Key Stakeholders to Be Change Agents Throughout The Organization

It is essential to identify and appoint key stakeholders responsible for the change management in the organization.

If you are a large enterprise, look to your executive team, divisional leadership, department leadership, team leaders, and OKR champions.

Small to medium-sized businesses, senior leadership teams, departmental managers, team supervisors, and OKR champions are the key stakeholders you must engage.


Strategic planning is one topic that all senior executives need to confront. However complex and challenging it may be, strategic planning decides the success of your OKR and sets the right foundation for the team to work towards a common goal.

If you would like to talk to us about any of the things mentioned in this post or need help aligning your organization’s strategic plan down to the individual level, leave us a message via the button below.

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