Growth teams are cross-functional teams who come together, to move a set of business metrics forward. In traditional goal-setting practices, KPIs are set between a manager and team member, nested away within a department.
You can think about Growth teams as pods or squads, representing a set of members from different functions like sales, marketing, product, and customer success. They interlock themselves together taking shared commitments, to unleash growth velocity.
Let’s dig in.
OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a strategy execution framework. They fundamentally shift the organization from thinking ME to WE.
If you are onto OKRs, you would know the drill:
Take them as shared commitments, not in silos (for instance to increase Net new dollar retention, you would need customer success, marketing, and sales to chug together).
If you reach for the Stars, you could land on the moon. Now, that’s not a bad thing.
Here are 5 Best Practices to help you achieve OKRs.
One of the most asked questions by leadership and next-level teams is ‘How do we know if we have selected the right metrics’?
When teams write an OKR, they are applying the skill of critical thinking, deeply reflecting on what strategy would move a company level Key Result forward.
The teams then think about the lead indicators they can control sooner, which would move a lag metric. Read our guide on 50 Best Lead Indicators To Grow Your Business (fitbots.com)
Let’s take an example. A company takes a Key Result: Increase expansion revenue from 250K ARR to 800K ARR, considering
To move the needle, each team that can move this forward, is thinking about ‘What do we need to accomplish?’ and ‘How will we measure success?’
Customer Success, Support, and Product & Engineering can team up and write an OKR
Objective: Implement our customer engagement strategy in order to increase customer retention
KR 1: Increase customer QBRs coverage from 30% to 100%
KR 2: Launch our Customer ‘credits back’ program
KR 3: Reduce page response time from 3 seconds to 1 second
KR 4: Increase deployment of high-value features from 20% to 50%
KR 5: Increase expansion revenue from USD 250K to 800 K ARR
OKRs are not about setting them and reviewing them at the end of the quarter. An absolute No No! They require a set of rituals strung together to make teams successful.
Check-in meetings - A 30-minute huddle, focusing on Outcome metrics
Leadership Check-ins - A 1-hour presentation to Leadership teams, on OKRs progress and blockers. Usually conducted once a month or Bi-Monthly. You could also term this as a Mid-Quarter check-in.
OKRs retro-reboot - A meeting to reflect on our learnings and reset our OKRs for the next 90 days. This also helps us keep our strategy execution real and relevant.
Having worked with 2500+ teams, we observed that teams which experiment with their initiatives and call out early blockers are most likely to succeed.
What are experiments? Every Key Result is ably supported by a bunch of experiments - they could be activities or initiatives.
To move the metric on Increase Customer QBRs coverage from 30% to 100%, each customer success manager would need to think deeply about the experiments/activities to move the needle.
1: Design a QBR agenda
2: Design a QBR guide and templates for CEOs / Business leaders
3: Campaign on the importance of QBRs
4: Get shit done! Conduct the QBR
Should any of these activities/ initiatives not work, the team together could deeply reflect on what's making an outcome metric move forward or not, and what they need to do differently to increase coverage.
Team capability and will have a lot to play in OKRs achievement. If you have a team that is learning on the go and taking on very aspirational OKRs, it could impact team morale negatively.
You also do not have to have an A1 team to achieve OKRs. You would need a team that is collaborative, has a superpower each, and is open to experimentation. Harvard Business Reviews published a great article on the Moneyball vs the Frankenstein strategy, where they talk about what it takes to hire a great team. To Make Better Hires, Learn What Predicts Success (hbr.org)
For instance, if Sales need to increase revenues from USD 10 to 15 Million, Marketing, Product and Engineering need to deeply think about shared metrics to move this Key Result forward.
Now that you have gone through the grind of setting, connecting, and aligning your OKRs. You are pumped as a team. You get onto your weekly huddles and stay laser focused. You check every box on setting an OKR cadence, and wake up to this rude shock ‘Darn! Our metrics just ain’t moving fast enough’!
If it’s of reassurance, you’re not alone. Remember, OKRs are aspirational. They are also not easy to reach, but if achieved, shall give your business unfair velocity.
Fitbots analyzed 40000+ OKRs, to discover that about 50% of your OKRs would actually go beyond that 70% mark! Does it mean that OKRs do not aim for 100% or beyond? That’s not what we are saying.
OKRs are something new, different, a variation of what you have done in the past, they are harder to achieve. They could also be those KPIs blinking RED, calling out May Day! We need to focus!
As Howard Schultz rights said ‘Success is best when it’s shared.’
Do write to us for a 30 min free OKRs consultation.
Vidya Santhanam is the Co-Founder of Fitbots OKRs. Having coached 600+ teams, and conducted 1000+ check-in meetings, Vidya likes writing about Metrics, high performance, and leadership.
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