The OKR Cycle: Execution
By now your organization has set top-level, departmental, team, and potentially individual objectives. You are now ready to execute, track, and measure but, how do you do that?
The execution phase of the OKR cycle is a 10-week period where everyone works to accomplish the goals they have committed to. The beauty of the OKR framework is that it gets to work immediately by aligning your departments and teams and finding synergies where none existed before.
The Strategic Planning phase of the OKR cycle causes increased conversations, alignment, accountability and collaboration. But this is also the phase when most companies slip off and do not focus on proper execution. Do not let this happen to you.
The two things that make OKR successful are transparency and accountability. It is necessary that all employees work in unison and be accountable for their respective tasks to execute OKR successfully.
For a successful execution of OKR, timely meetings and reporting are necessary to develop and maintain the required momentum. We will talk about the importance of conducting check-ins and meetings in the execution phase of OKR in this article.
Let’s get started.
Execution: Reinforcing OKR Throughout The Quarter
The OKR Framework follows a pre-defined chain of events to execute for successful execution.
OKR Team Reviews
To ensure all the teams and employees are on the same page, it is essential to conduct a team review on OKR performance at least once a month. We recommend having this exercise weekly or bi-weekly. Although time-consuming, it will help you identify any red flags well in time, so you can take appropriate steps to address the challenges.
It also inculcates a sense of transparency among team members, and they get a chance to discuss their individual OKRs, along with challenges, if any. This transparency helps you recognize teams and individuals who are performing well and falling behind.
We recommend period 1-on-1’s between managers and leaders for efficient tracking of OKR progress. This will make way for more fluid feedback and help the manager understand the areas where progress is lagging.
In addition to conducting team reviews and 1-on-1’s from time to time, you must also have mid-OKR check-in to check half way through the quarter. It will help you detect the shortcomings and course-correct if necessary.
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.
Driving Alignment And Accountability During OKR Execution
The best way to drive alignment and accountability during OKR execution is by conducting 1-on-1’s and team reviews on a regular basis and with a high frequency.
Stay Focused Around OKR
The successful execution of OKR requires you to follow short-term tactical plans to create a bigger picture. Instead of achieving the end-goals directly, your focus should be on the immediate goal at hand.
It is essential to stay focused on OKR and work towards achieving the set objectives.
Encourage OKR Conversations Early and Often
Encouraging OKR conversations early and frequently in the stint helps you recognize any gray areas.
You don’t want to wait for the end of the year to realize that the set objectives were not met. Certain teams were facing problems, or there was a major roadblock in between, and teams didn’t know how to handle that. No.
You need to set up a system to receive daily reports from the teams and employees in the form of team reviews, 1-on-1’s and check-ins to ensure that every employee in the organization is engaged and working to accomplish their individual OKRs.
Review OKR Progress At The Team Level
Get connected with your teams, get ahead of any obstacles to success, and how individuals plan to achieve the set objectives. This will provide you with a clear picture of all the teams performing well and the ones that need assistance. Additionally, ask the team leaders to review the progress report with their team members to understand the shortcomings, challenges, and strengths that each employee is facing.
It is important to remember that OKR is a team effort and needs inputs from all the employees for successful execution.
Master the Weekly Check-in
What is an OKR Check-In
An OKR check-in is a small meeting focusing on the quick exchange of progress reports among team members. An OKR check-in focuses on a predefined set of questions and aims to provide the manager with a quick update on the objectives achieved.
Balancing OKR Team Reviews and 1-on-1s
We understand that striking the right balance between team reviews and 1-on-1’s is difficult but necessary. This is why we recommend having weekly 1-on-1’s and biweekly team reviews. However, if this sounds pretty overwhelming, you should aim to have at least biweekly 1-on-1’s and monthly team reviews. If you stick with anything less than this proposed model, you will risk losing the effectiveness of OKR, and all your efforts so far may prove to be futile.
OKR Check-In Meeting Agenda
The main agenda of an OKR check-in is to discuss the latest achievements and learnings. It also aims to identify any roadblocks and discusses ways to tackle them. Check-in is also a great platform to set the priorities for the next week.
Questions to Ask Yourself About OKR Progress
While having a quick check-in with your team, you can ask questions like:
- What did you work on this week?
- What did you learn this week?
- Did you feel stuck anywhere?
- What flowed pleasantly well without any challenges?
- Are there are roadblocks you need help with?
As you can see, execution plays a vital role in determining the success of an OKR. Although the process is a bit overwhelming with weekly meetings and frequent check-ins, it ensures that you steer in the right direction and work towards a common goal.
So, what are your views on this? Is your organization finding it hard to implement OKRs? People Stretch Solutions is here to help you out. Download the Executive’s Guide to OKR or talk with an OKR specialists today to learn more.