Implementing OKRs for the first time? Read On

Remember your maiden bike ride without the training wheels? You get on that seat waiting to ride away. The handle bars suddenly play truant; you remember peddling slowly, frantically reaching your feet to the ground and most of all thinking about how not have that painful fall! A first time OKR implementation could feel as overwhelming. As the company CEO, Business Leader or Manager you have the badge of honor to set direction. You come across this great goal management tool, with a precedence of 10x success for Google.

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There’s always a first time.

Remember your maiden bike ride without the training wheels? You get on that seat waiting to ride away. The handle bars suddenly play truant; you remember peddling slowly, frantically reaching your feet to the ground and most of all thinking about how not have that painful fall!

A first time OKR implementation could feel as overwhelming.  As the company CEO, Business Leader or Manager you have the badge of honor to set direction. You come across this great goal management tool, with a precedence of 10x success for Google.  

Now, you are really need to make it work for you.  


Here are 4 practical tips to get that awesome OKR implementation going:


1) Commitment and Sponsorship

OKRs work best when sponsored by the company CEO and commitment by senior leadership.  Company OKRs stem from the Company Mission, Vision and Long-term goals. While setting Company OKRs think about:

What is our strategic direction? How do we zone in and measure what most matters?

Are we choosing measures to differentiate ourselves from competition?

Do we have measures to track if they are working or not?

Are they aspirational enough to stretch the organization?


2) Outcomes vs Intent

This is an important distinction while writing up an OKR. OKRs are reflective of the outcomes you wish to achieve. For instance, if you are a Marketing Manager.  Here's what you may do:


Objective: Increase the reach of existing products

For this objective, we very often notice the temptation to select a KR which goes:

Launch 5 campaigns in the next 2 months or Increase presence in 4 social media channels.


The problem with both these statements is that they do communicate the intent, however no outcome.


You would rather get more from this KR by reframing to an outcome statement: For instance, ‘Launch 5 campaigns to increase new sign ups by 15%’ or ‘Increase social media presence to reach users in zone X’.


3) Communicate Well

There is a lot of literature out there on making OKRs transparent. It helps teams to look to others who are chasing similar objectives. It drives a sense of alignment of individual and team OKRs towards company purpose. While transparency is key, communicating the Why is most important. Company OKRs communicated by the company CEO or Business leader in a town hall, gives a sense of execution of strategy.


4) Check-In Rigor

OKRs are unlike many other goal frameworks, where you paste goals in a performance management system and pay an occasional visit. These babies require constant progress check ins, tracking and course corrections.  We see teams who check in weekly or bi-weekly to update progress percentage and confidence to achieve.


A good way to do this is by using an efficient OKR management tool which will give the ability to update progress, track, deliver insights and view alignment of OKRs in the organization.


So, the next time you get on that exciting ride, remember to use a great balance of skill, will, tools and oh yes! that magical sprinkle of determination. Write in to Fitbots to learn more about OKR implementation.

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