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Top OKR Experts Share Their Advice on OKR Implementation

Top OKR Experts Share Their Advice on OKR Implementation

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a powerful framework. Effective OKR management drives innovation and change, accelerating enterprise or start-up growth. OKRs are credited for the success of tech giants such as Google and LinkedIn. At Fitbots, we are always eager to learn more about OKRs, which means keeping up with top experts and learning from their experiences.

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”

– John Doerr, author of Measure What Matters.

OKRs work on the principle of effectiveness. For the most effective growth, teams need to have clear objectives, be able to measure them, and then learn from their results. Learning from results is a crucial part of the feedback loop, so they can adjust course or make necessary changes in response to what they learn through measurement and analysis.

Hear from OKR Coaches, the practitioners who guide towards successful OKR implementation in their organizations, on the best practices and methodology of what made the framework tick for them.

Kevin Baum

Global OKRs Coach

Just as the complexity in the world around us stays, OKRs are here to stay!

Every organization has its unique personality. Organizations have seen success with OKRs straight from the top when driven from the corner offices. The key to successful implementation is when the CXOs message on “Why we are doing OKRs and Why now?” and link it clearly to the pain points of the organization - that’s when the success rate of adoption and persevering with OKRs goes up.

Soujanya Panda

OKR Coach and Consultant at Fitbots

"When is the right time to adopt OKRs ?”

The answer is - If you have a strategy/vision in place and want your teams to get into a critical thinking mode, drive sharp focus & stay aligned to what really matters, you can adopt OKRs right away!

OKRs offer speed, scale, alignment, and focus to organizations irrespective of size and maturity. If you are unsure, start with a pilot.

Bart den Haak

Principle Leadership and Independent OKR Consultant, Moving the Needle

One mistake that companies make is that they don’t have a strategy. OKRs are difficult to implement when everyone is working in their comfort zone. However, Key Results should push you out of your comfort zone and into your learning zone. It’s all about working smarter, not working harder. When you start implementing, don’t jump into stretching as much as you can right away. 

Jim Apodaca

OKR Coach, Agile Strategist, Change Management Leader

As per the recent studies and statistics, 64% of businesses are concerned about employee productivity and 52% of respondents believe that how they spend their time matches organizational priorities.

OKR is a tool that addresses such concerns, helps organizations move through the ambiguity towards the priorities, and helps us know if we are winning or not.

Identifying the themes around which OKRs are to be crafted is the first step to writing OKRs. Organizations getting into OKRs should understand that a lot of discipline goes into OKRs being successful. 

Michael Harley

Founder and Lead Coach, Breakthrough Coach Ltd.

Rolling out OKRs requires strengthening your core. Here’s my advice to Business Owners (whether or not they are ready to roll out OKRs):

  • You should have a product-market fit already
  • You should have a direction for the long term where you want to get to. Unless you have a NorthStar, you cannot set intermediate goals
  • Make sure you have the right structure and people in place.

Tim Meinhardt

OKR Coach and CEO of Atruity

OKRs is just a tool - you get out of it what you put into it. Building excitement for the tool is important so that people lean into it, rather than against it. When making that cultural shift, having a Champion to develop the Squad mentality always helps. Going from general alignment to complex alignment is critical to the success of the organization.

Zach Ross

OKR Coach, Strategy and Business Management, and Tech Startup Advisor

The key to successful OKR implementation lies in:

  • Limiting the number of OKRs
  • Ensuring that a high-level KR does not become the Objective for the next level team 
  • Not mixing OKRs with Task Lists or Project Management, instead, focus on the end outcome and business value
  • Start off conversational and then go aggressive as you progress in your OKR journey

Lawrence Walsh

OKRs and Leadership Coach and Mentor, ThereBeGiants 

Here is some advice I have shared with my clients when they adopt OKRs:

  • OKRs are not a replacement for KPIs and health metrics. They work hand-in-hand.
  • It is vital that your teams can have outcome-focused goals and be able to visualize the direct impact that their work will have. Rather than giving them a task list, give them Key Results. 
  • If you’re in a critical stage of business, it helps to shorten the cadence. Change those 12-month top-level goals that you want to achieve into 3-month goals. Align your OKRs to those. 

Paul Niven

Global OKR Coach, Strategy Execution Consultant, and Author

Choice is always better than Dictate. With key results, the role of the owner is one that should be accepted voluntarily, and hopefully, eagerly. If the mantle of the owner is thrust on someone with little knowledge of, and even less interest in, the key result there is little chance of a favorable outcome. Always strive to find a good fit between the owner and the key result, creating a match that will increase the odds of breakthrough success.

Richa Jha Arvind

Global OKR Coach, Strategy Execution Consultant at Fitbots

OKRs are not just another new chip on the block that leaders introduce along with hundreds of other processes. It is a cultural shift that slowly becomes the way of life. When everyone in the team focuses on the natural connection between effort and outcomes, the efforts naturally become better, sharper, and more and more agile. Give your teams the freedom to get accountable for what they do and how it contributes to the organization’s priorities. Like it or not, if what we do doesn’t contribute to the larger business goal, then a good question to ask is “Why are we doing what we are doing?”

Now those are notable pieces of advice, wouldn’t you agree? One of the best ways to learn is to learn from those who are already leaders and experts in their field. The guidance of these experts can be extremely valuable for anyone who wants to implement OKRs in their company.  Use their advice and our wealth of free OKR resources to learn more about what it takes to get OKRs right.

Stay tuned for more nuggets of information from top OKR experts!

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