4 min read

How to Connect and Align in OKRs

How to Connect and Align in OKRs

What is Connect and Align?

Connect and Align is an important ritual in the OKR framework. At the beginning of each quarter, teams and company leadership come together to set OKRs for 90-days. This is followed by Connect and Align to ensure that everyone is working in the right direction and there is no misalignment among teams. It’s a step-by-step process, at the end of which, the alignment is reviewed by an OKR Coach or expert.

What are the different kinds of Alignment?

When all employees and teams across the organization can connect their tasks to larger organization outcomes and how their tasks impact and contribute to the progress of organizational goals, alignment sets in. Unless teams and individuals are aligned to larger company goals, organizations will not benefit from engagement and focus.

The first step is getting teams to understand what ‘Connect and Align’ truly means. Connect And Align is not cascade. It’s a top-down and bottom-up approach to set up alignment. In this ritual, there are two types of Connect and Align happen - Vertical and horizontal. By ‘alignment’ we specifically mean a KR-to-KR alignment.

Vertical alignment: Each team picks and aligns their KRs to the organization’s KRs which they will move directly and indirectly.

Horizontal alignment: Cross-functional teams align their KRs with each other to move the organization's KR. 

How does it work?

Step 1: Define Org OKRs to set North Metrics: 

Review each Organization KR to identify which teams are contributing directly and indirectly. Ideally, each org KR should be owned by 1-2 teams.

Two powerful questions that helps in the review are :

1. Which are the metrics that get aggregated?

2. Which teams are contributing to it?

  • Identify the teams who would be responsible to contribute to the metrics directly.
  • Define the contribution. For example: To achieve the revenue of USD 10M; Sales Team contributes 60% through new sales while Customer Success contributes 40% through renewals and upsells. 
  • Similarly, Product & Engineering will launch 2 new premiere products to directly contribute to revenue.

Step 2: Team Level OKR Crafting - through a Facilitated Process

  • Vertical Alignment: When teams write their OKRs, they go through Org KRs and pick the ones that they will contribute towards. Teams must answer this powerful question: What are the top 3 key results that you (as a team) will influence that move the organization forward? 

  • Horizontal Alignment: Then, which KRs are most dependent on other teams?  Teams must call out allegiances, so they know which KRs are getting support from other teams

  • For example, Sales & marketing aims to generate 100 MQLs by digital ABM strategy , the KR is horizontally supported by the Product & Engineering team as a KR to automate all Account Based Marketing efforts.

Step 3: Bring an OKR Coach to audit and review alignment in an exclusive Connect and Align Session (90-mins).

First check on Org OKRs: The OKR expert will perform a check on the accuracy of Aggregation in Org OKRs: 

  • Is each KR being owned by one or more teams? 
  • Is the contribution of teams equal to 100% of the goal?

Second check on each Team’s OKRs: 

  • Is each team contributing at least 1-2 KRs vertically to the organization, either directly or indirectly?
  • Call out all KRs dependent on other cross-functional teams. Are they aligned on the priorities? 
  • Should any KR be linked with any other KR of cross-functional teams?

Tackling misalignment in OKRs is vital for the success of your company as misaligned teams can cost up to 25% of the company’s annual revenue. It is recommended to take the guidance of an OKR Coach and expert to guide you through the OKR setting process which includes Connect and Align. 

With Fitbots Coaching, the ‘Connect and Align’ usually happens in the 3rd Coaching session, after the Organization and team OKRs are crafted.

Here’s an image that will help you understand how to run an OKR alignment check. Click here to get in touch with a Coach and audit your OKRs.

Template to run an OKR alignment check

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About the Author

Soujanya is a Certified OKR Coach and leads Customer Success at Fitbots. She has coached over 150+ teams on OKRs enabling organizations to drive growth with OKRs. She loves working with teams to help them execute their strategy and make them successful.

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