At AuxinOKR we’ve fully embedded OKRs into the business and are seeing some really encouraging growth as our own focus on helping clients understand the power of this tool has led to a surge in enquiries. We’re involved from introducing OKRs through to embedding processes and training key staff to become the in-house expert to monitor and advise on site. What’s interesting is why we’re being asked to step in; you may recognise a few of these signs too!
1. Quite a few of our clients have read around the subject but are smart enough to recognise that practice and good tutors are prerequisites to mastery. No skill that that looks easy comes without hard work and training; learning a few key principles off-line before launching will save time and money in the long run.
2. Some struggle to properly differentiate between tasks and objectives, and many key results we’ve seen used cannot be measured. In this context, the three familiar words have precise, albeit nuanced meanings. Misunderstanding and misusing the terms have caused a number of projects to lose momentum before even the first couple of quarters are out.
3. Sometimes the executive leadership is sceptical, it’s seen as the next initiative in a long line of previous great ideas. A positive attitude is important, and unless there is full buy-in with all those involved from the beginning with OKRs, it’s a longer journey than it needs to be. We’ve rebooted OKRs by going back to basics with simple examples which switch on the light bulbs every time.
4. Several superb software platforms are available to post and promote OKRs throughout the organisation; we have our favourites and no doubt all will do a job. However, the software is essentially a conduit for the message; this needs to be iterated over and over long before its time to go public in the company. Sadly, we’ve seen the messenger (the platform) taking the blame when in reality what’s gone in has not been properly thought through.
5. Determining ambitious, measurable key results is as much an art as a science. There’s a real skill required to come up with the right ones, although any metric is usually better than none at all (and certainly lookout for outcomes, not outputs). We get asked over and again what makes a good Key Result; brainstorm these, you’ll know one when you see it!
It’s clear that OKRs have struck a chord with businesses leaders looking for the right tool to implement their strategies and unlock four business ‘superpowers’ of focus, alignment, ambition and measurement. Just as most people wouldn’t jump in the deep end before learning how to swim (or at least float) if you’ve someone around to hold your head above water the probability of ultimate success is that much greater.
Naturally, we’d recommend using an experienced OKR coach at the early stages (it’s what we do after all!), but we’ve learnt so many lessons and seen quite a few find it tough going when it needn’t be.
Book a call for a chat; we’re always on hand to offer help and our insight.
Mark Richard 7.02.19