#14. Mission Possible: Accelerate Growth with Empowered Teams | Tim Meinhardt, Atruity | Fitbots OKRs

Tim Meinhardt

Founder, Chief OKR Consultant and Podcaster at Atruity

Tim Meinhardt covers some important topics in this webinar, including the 3 key ingredients to successfully start with OKRs. He also sheds light on the 3Cs to keep OKRs going, with a clear picture of the kind of commitment required to find success with our favorite strategy execution framework.

Vidya:

Hi everyone. Welcome aboard, and my name is Vidya. I'm the CEO and co-founder of Fitbots. It's a real privilege to moderate this webinar as well as introduce and welcome Tim Meinhardt, who's going to be the speaker for today's webinar on Accelerating Growth with Empowered Teams. Tim, are you a fan of Tom Cruise because we have this title called “Mission Possible”?

Tim:

You know, I do like his stuff, so yes, but I thought that that was an appropriate name for the title of this, that it really is possible, but you have to do it correctly in order to have it possible. 

Vidya:

You bet. Well said. I'm just gonna introduce Tim to everybody. Tim is the co-founder of Atruity,

one of the leading OKR consultants, coach, expert, as well as a podcaster. So if you go onto the Atruity website, you would be extremely pleased to see that there are 73 episodes of OKR podcasts, none like ever before. So that's something which is waiting for each of you as participants, to go splurge and share with your network.

So a little bit about Fitbots. Fitbots is an integrated OKRs partner. I had the privilege of starting Fitbots, along with my co-founder Kashi, who's also part of the webinar today. What we do is that we have an integrated software, really very intuitive, helping companies track and manage care insights, along with on-demand coaching.

As I said, it's a privilege to host this webinar with Tim. We are also very privileged to be the partners of Atruity, taking outstanding coaching to customers across the globe. Tim, we are really looking forward to hearing more from you. Over to you. 

Tim:

Oh gosh. Well, Kashi, thank you so much and uh, it's a pleasure to have a chance to speak with everybody. You know, this is a pretty interesting topic. Just to dovetail on the podcast for a minute. I have over 36 episodes on our podcasts that are previous clients that really talk about their journey with OKRs and how not everybody starts out real positive with OKRs. You know, it's not like people wake up and they go, “Hey, we're gonna put in a management system and we're going to change the way we're doing business!”

I think that sometimes people have to make a choice and if they open their minds a little bit, what they generally find is that a good solid OKR program actually saves them time, makes them more productive, makes them happier, and ultimately from an employee perspective, gives people that good sense of what it is that they're looking for today, which is knowing why their role and responsibility is so important for the overall direction of the company.

And so today we're gonna talk a little bit about this Empowered Teams concept. And really it starts, it's one thing to have an empowered team, another thing to be able to say, “Okay, how do we have empowered teams?”

Well, it really starts with, empowered employees. So I'm gonna share my screen with everyone and, uh, we're gonna get started here. And by the way,  just to reiterate and let everybody know: I'm a really good counterpuncher. And what I mean by that is that, um, if you have a question on anything, please just write it in the chat because we'll stop mid-sentence, midstream, and try to address your question. I think it's really important that, if there's something conceptually that you might not have your head around, this would make some sense. So off we go!

So, um, today, again, accelerating growth with empowered teams. You've heard enough about Atruity, we'll talk a little bit more about that in the end.

Really, what is empowerment? Why is it important? Why OKRs for empowered teams? You know, it's one thing, like I said – look, it's mission possible, okay? And we're gonna talk a little bit about that in a second. The next thing we're gonna talk about – and what I think there are three – and don’t get me wrong, there are many more. Please don’t get me to say that I’m a big ‘Power of Three’ person, but I like clarity, alignment, and new management culture. I think those three things that are inside the OKR framework really do provide that foundation for empowered teams. And then we're gonna finish up – do you have any questions? We'll talk about any additional resources and, and, obviously if you'd like to work with Atruity, what that looks like. We believe that the key to accelerating growth is employee empowerment and that leads to empowered teams.

I really wanted to dig into this definition of ‘empowerment’ for a second, and I went to Google, which is the ‘source of all truth,’ it seems at times. And uh, so I asked it “What does empowerment mean specifically?” And I think the words that came across to me were stronger, more confident, self-responsibility, self-reliance… And the one that really, really made sense to me was to own your own work. And I'll give you a little story and an example here, but it really is about owning your own work and owning your destiny of sorts. When you get a chance to actually choose how to do your work and get things accomplished, knowing what your role and responsibility is within the company, there's a greater likelihood that you'll be more productive at that.

And I use this wonderful example about myself. For years, every time I would go see my physician and would tell me, “Tim, it would be really good for you if you lost a few pounds. It's better for your health.” I took that as, “Okay. I think that, uh, it would be nice to lose a few pounds,” but I never did. You know, I would try all the fads. I would do a diet, I would lose 15 pounds and then I'd slowly put it back on… And, I was never really committed to it, cause it really wasn't my goal. It was sort of like the doctor's goal. One day last year I was – and I'll share with you all, I'm still an amateur golfer.

Went to a golf tournament, played with people a little older than me, and realized that, in the heat, they could walk the golf course and I struggled. And I realized that I had something they didn't have, which was about 55 extra pounds. So I came back and I set my own goal and I said, “You know, I'm gonna do this on my own. I'm the gonna own this.” And I told everybody, “I'm gonna lose the weight.” Well, by owning your own goal, it was me – I took ownership of it, and over the course of a year, I did lose about 55 pounds. So I used that as a term to say: being empowered, taking control of your own destiny, and doing this in a work environment, which, at times can be somewhat challenging. 

So I think Steve Jobs said it best and I like to just leave this slide the way it does. And from an organizational perspective, you know, let's think of all the time that energy and the effort that we go through to hire great people. Look, great companies need great people to do things, okay?

And everybody goes through what I would consider to be an exhausting process before we make that critical hire of that person. And isn't it a shame that if we hire really smart people, as Steve Jobs said, we don't want to tell them what to do! We wanna hire smart people so they can tell us what to do as an organization.

That's where that wonderful innovation and ownership comes in from a company where you're given that little bit of ability, to be able to think for yourself and having people there that wanna know what you have to say because they went to great lengths to make a really good hire. What does it really mean to empower employees? And I think it's first and foremost that you're given the permission to take the action and make decisions. To empower employees, you really need to have the permission to do so. Without the permission, there's no empowerment, you're being told what to do. 

Second is freedom of choice. And I mentioned this earlier in that given some latitude to know what your role and responsibility is within the organization. And as we all know, there's many, many ways to get things done. And being given that freedom and the ability to say, “I think this is really what's most important for me to get done.” And then gaining that buy-in and gaining that consensus not only from you and your peers, but also from the people that you're reporting to that have looked at what it is that you've done and said, “Tim, I think these are great ideas!” 

And then the last piece, which I think is really critically important, is about trust and understanding, okay? So think about it for a second. We're being given that freedom. But if we're gonna be hung out to dry, if we don't get all the way to the top of the mountain where we really want it to get to, we need to know that it's okay.

Okay? We need to know that people involved in our company, that they have the trust and understanding to know that we're doing our best. Okay? And that comes from what I would say is consistent feedback, communication, and recognition of jobs that are well done. Also, knowing their challenges, and having them being able to be worked out.

So communication, feedback and recognition is one of the cornerstones of Objectives and Key Results, which we're gonna get into in a few minutes. So if you think about it, nothing in an organization is ever achieved alone. And to me, the most amazing things in the world are done by teams and empowering your teams is the key to long-term sustainable growth and success.

You want happy people doing great things, excited about their work. Okay. And making significant contributions to your organization, giving them that freedom to do so, and the latitude, and having that trust is where you're gonna get what I consider to be long-term sustainable growth and ultimately long-term success.

There are a few great books I recommend for Objectives and Key Results. Obviously, I like John Doerr’s book, I think it's fantastic. He is the – quote-unquote – He and Andy Grove are the Godfathers of OKRs. Uh, measure What Matters by John Doerr – a wonderful book. Radical Focus by Christina Waki is also a great book. She has two of them out. The first one's a fable. It's very simple, but it really gets the points across. The second one, Radical Focus 2.0. – Excellent book, a little more in detail, gets into more of software development and I think that being able to draw up those priorities, thinking at a higher level. When we do OKR work, we ask people to think at a higher level so that they don't get into the weeds. They're looking at the outcome of the organization: What is it that we want to get accomplished? 

There's another great book and it's called Team of Teams, and it's written by a former general here in the United States, Stanley McChrystal, who was involved in the Iraq War, and what he talks about was an antiquated way of doing business and how he had to get shared consciousness by all the people involved because they needed to be able to make fast decisions knowing the larger picture. And if you know anything about military, you know, they work in a very hierarchical arrangement where you're not supposed to go outside of your, of your purview and what your role and responsibility is. And they realized that that was not a really good way in order to be nimble to accomplish their mission. So it's a wonderful book and I would really recommend that you take the time to read that. 

Why are empowered employees and teams key to organizational growth? Well, it's no great surprise, but empowered teams, they're more inspired, they're innovative, and they're creative. Why would you not want that in your organization? Why wouldn't you want people who are inspired, excited to come to work are looking for a better way, that better mouse trap and are creative? We know that empowered teams are also faster at achieving goals. They save more time because they're focused on achieving things that they have set out to be able to accomplish.

Lastly, I think empowered teams perform better and are really more profitable. Don't believe me! What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna show you some statistics here.

Vidya:

Questions in the chat window. So would you want to take them? Related to the previous slide, you spoke about team of teams and you used the word ‘hierarchical’. So the question is actually in OKRs for everyone – Let's say, how can a hierarchical organization change to OKRs? Can they embrace OKRs?

Tim:

Well, first off, great question. When we go about, and we're educating folks and beginning them in the OKR program with organizations, that's generally the question that we get, and I think there are misunderstandings about it a little bit when it comes to, oh, you know, “We don't have a lot of stretching in our area,” you know. But if you think about it, there are roles for increasing revenue and then there are roles for supporting the organization. And so everyone is in the same boat, and so we believe very strongly that every organizational department should be involved in the OKR program because it drives consistency of conversation and everyone is really involved. When you think about administrative teams or you think about in support organizations, you know they're there to make the jobs of the people that are driving the revenue into the company and supporting their customers and customer support, those are critically important to be able to drive the overall Company toward its long-term objectives, to its mission, and to its North stars. Um, hopefully I'm answering that question and getting a good concept here. 

But we believe that every organization should be actively involved in the OKR program. Because, each quarter they're asking themselves, “What's the greatest thing I can do this quarter to be able to be either helpful, productive, or greater support? Achieving those things makes my organization run better. 

Vidya:

The second part of that question is “Who should actually introduce OKRs?” Is it HR leaders or founders? 

Tim:

We believe it's very important that the leadership of the company, the C-Suite, really does set the direction for the company, and there's a reason for that. Because they need to be bought in. They need to be able to have this clarity of direction, to be able to have the organization begin to be able to understand how their role and responsibility fits in. Imagine if we had empowered teams, everybody doing what they think they should be doing, based on their role and responsibility with no direction.

To me, it would look like herding cats and it would look like people running in all different directions. And so what we believe very strongly is that that is the most critical part of a successful OKR program is – starting at the top. HR should and can be involved, but to the degree of which they're involved, um, what we see there, specifically is in the performance management perspective, and we have a little different complimentary take on performance management as it's related to OKR work. Um, and specifically, you know, there are certain performance metrics that everybody needs to have in an organization, and there are certain times when you review people's work, but it's the constancy of that communication, feedback, and recognition, that you're having around. And think about it, when we get into OKRs, people are “What's most important” okay? They're focused on what's most important. So those conversations that you're having is how well they are executing against what they've chosen to be the most important things, and that's where you get that true performance understanding, and that's where you get that true performance management. So, um, HR definitely needs to be involved in this to the degree of running the program versus not running the program, as long as they understand that the North stars of the organization must be set by the C-suite in order for everybody to follow, then it's fine.

Vidya:

Thanks Tim. Uh, so this is on what kinda questions do you get when companies approach you to coach them on OKRs? This is probably a broader question.

Tim:

Yeah. You know, we do consulting and advisory services, okay. But, generally we're brought in first on a consulting capacity. Really, the questions come to me in the form of an area of trust, and so can they trust this consultant? Do they get along with them? Okay. I think when they start to do this, they begin to look at you as somebody that we can trust. And then the second part of the question is they begin to ask a little bit about how much time, energy, and effort does this really involve? You know, I think people want that magic wand where it's Google, right?

And so the last question is really about timing. When, actually, should we really get started with this? Now my easy answer there is, of course, you should start as soon as possible. Misalignment happens in any organization and at any time and at any size for no particular reason, it just begins to happen. When people are wanting to put in a goal-setting management system, there's no time like the present, and yet they do need to be conscious of the fact that there is an investment in time for the senior leaders to be able to set that table right?

Because if they don't set the table right with the North stars, then the organization struggles to be able to function. In fact, I was asked in an executive presentation the other day about what is it that the C-suite wants to be able to accomplish with OKRs the most. And they were relatively surprised at my answer and I'll share it with everybody, but it's that clarity of communication. They do want to be able to clearly communicate to the entire organization what's most important. What is it that we're really wanting to get accomplished? We go to great lengths to talk about strategy, but not being able to relay the strategy and the outcomes that we're looking for to the organization doesn't really allow for teams to be able to have that mission possible where they can actually be empowered and know what they're doing is moving the ball in the right direction.

Hopefully, that's a decent answer, but, um, it's trust. It's a little bit of timing, and those issues are the ones that people ask us when we get started. These are widely publicized statistics that are available about OKR programs, and these are staggering – if you look at these for a second. First off, 80% of the employee, 80%! Say that OKR frameworks help create a higher-performing team. Now think of that. Listen, look at this next statistic. 96% of the individuals who use OKRs say they clearly understand how their work connects to their company's broader goals. Think of that. So a good successful OKR program and trust me, if this isn't done right, and even though it's a simple system to operate under, once you get the hang of it, getting it set up right at the beginning – at the get go, is really the key to success.

I see so many examples of people that have said, Tim, I read the book. Here's my objectives and key results, and they've got 20 different objectives and a hundred key results. And I'm like, well, okay, so we really need to kind of get this, you know, put into an OKR framework that works. So, but, with the successful people, 96% of these people understand how their work connects to the company's broader goals. And those are those north stars that we talked about earlier. When 80% of the company's employees are aligned with the organization's mission, purpose, and business units. Think of this, they're much more highly, more profitable, quality is better, of the value of the work delivered, and they save 20% of their working hours.

Now I'm gonna share with everybody a little story in my first consulting assignment. I could not, for the life of me, get this person – Brian – to be able to really, really want to do OKRs because he was from that mindset of. “I've seen it all, done it all.” And I went to an offsite retreat and ran into him, and he said, “Tim, I have to tell you, I've changed my tune.” And I asked Brian, “What happened?” What did I miss in all my discussions that caused him to now be such a huge advocate? And he said, “Tim, you know, I have to tell you the meetings that we have about our objectives and key results.” That saves – and “I've eliminated four other meetings during my entire week.” So, he was much more productive by putting in place OKRs.

Well really, the question then comes down to why do we like OKRs and what do they do in order to be able to drive this empowerment paradigm that we're here to talk about today? 

A properly put-together OKR program really creates that team of teams, which is that book I mentioned – and I have to tell you, it's a great book. I use Team of Teams quite often because if you think about it, and the earlier question was, are all the departments involved in this?

They are because it's a team of teams, many teams working together for the common good of the organization, and then we refine it down to what is it that they need to get done this quarter. Once that clarity comes into place, it becomes pretty powerful. It also creates this direction for everybody else because – for a second I mentioned the herding of the cats – if there's no great direction, any road will take you there. What we wanna do is give people the right direction, give them the freedom, the choice to be able to say, “I know what my role and responsibility is. I know what's required of me, and I'm gonna be able to accomplish it the way that I think it's best suited for this organization.”

But there's another element to this that I think is really important. Generally, in organizations that don't have OKR programs, most people, most organizations act in some type of siloed effect. And so you really don't have – you have vertical alignment and we all think of alignment in traditionally vertical fashion – from my boss down to me, down to somebody that I may be managing and on up and on down. It's very vertical. It's even when we write org charts, even though it's horizontal, it's really vertical is where the alignment understanding comes in in our heads. 

But what's really, really important is the hidden secret sauce and OKRs is about this horizontal alignment: Having that visual capability to be able to see what everybody else is doing that's in the organization. Two great things take place, number one, a better understanding and respect for what it is that they're doing and number two: How you are playing in their world and how they're playing in yours, and how to be able to work complimentary, not be on top of each other or working for each other's detriment.

The other and last piece is you also may find and discover, “Oh my, there's a huge area here that we all haven't thought of collectively as a group.” And so we want to do that by choosing to be empowered, by choosing your own key results and your own objective, you are much more committed (as I was), than being told what to do.

So how do we use OKRs to create empowered employees and teams? And we've talked about it before. We use OKRs to create clarity. Clarity of communication is critical for an organization's success. Does it matter the size of the organization? That understanding of purpose by the senior leadership collaboratively to be able to set the table for every other aspect of their organization, to be able to better understand how they then could contribute to what it is that the organization is set out to have most important. 

And I think it's really clear, and I use an example of an organization: they were a $9 billion organization. They have three main objectives and they did their objectives in a very interesting way, whereby it was easy to remember – because isn't that what people really want? They wanna wake up every day inspired and by making them inspirational, simple to repeat, that's where you get that wonderful objective. And you know, I use an example of, you can get down to just phone support with an organization. If they're just doing, “Hey, yeah, I'm answering a phone.” I want people to like it – because, but if they understand why and how important it is to their organization, why they will hire, why that company's paying them, there's a much greater chance that they're gonna be inspired, they're gonna be excited, they're gonna have greater outcomes, and they're gonna do greater things for the organization. This next slide kind of shows a little bit about what happens when you don't have clarity and what happens when you do.

We've all been in a situation where everything is an emergency. Everybody's reaction, they're putting out fires and they're not being proactive. There's no agreed on priorities. There's none. Nobody can agree on things. They have their own understanding of what the company's trying to accomplish and they know best. Whereas when you have an organization with clarity: Employees, they're proactive, they're more organized. They're having the ability to achieve at a very high level. Everyone knows what's really most important, and through that clarity and direction, they themselves are able to prioritize and collaborate with other teams and truly be able to outproduce teams that don't have the clarity. 

Next, we use OKRs to create alignment, and I just love this picture. Imagine these rowing teams, if you've ever watched them, The skull teams, they are in just total sync, total alignment. They can go faster. The more they are aligned, the better they go together. The same goes for organizations. The more that they are aligned, both vertically and horizontally to be able to start acting like a team of teams.

So Objectives and Key Results. The way the framework lays its way out is it really does create vertical and horizontal alignment, program visualization, and having that software platform like Fitbots. You're really able to easily see and synchronize your activities with others until you can visualize this, until you can see what other people are involved in, you're just blindly doing your work. And that's where we get those silos. That's where we get people focused in on what they think they're doing. And, “I don't know what's going on in that department. And all I know is I'm really working hard here.” This creates that commitment and critical alignment necessary for all teams to be performing together.

I wanna touch on this word, ‘commitment’, for a minute, because commitment is truly important when you have the ability to go in front of your entire organization and you put your Key Results into a visualization. You’ve then said to them, “This is what I'm going to accomplish.” Now. It's a little intimidating. Everybody goes through that, okay? It also makes you really committed to, okay, I've been given the freedom. To be able to choose my destiny and choose the way I wanna do things. And so once I write that, I am committed like never before. 

So let's talk about what they look like when organizations don't have alignment. They have excessive meetings. We got meetings on meetings. If there's a meeting and then there's another meeting after the meeting! Okay, when you're focused on what's most important, you don't have to have as many meetings, and there's that word, silos. Silos form, and they form around individuals. They form around teams, departments, and they're focused on their work. They don't communicate with others outside their immediate team. And so if you have organizations or you're involved in something like that, more than likely you're really not in complete alignment in your organization. And again, alignment is horizontal as well as vertical. I use this term “360 View,” you know, where you can see all around your company, see what's going on and how you're playing an integral role. So let's talk about organizations with alignment. The meetings are productive, they focus on what's most important versus constant meetings to decide what's most important. 

I think that one of the things that people really, truly, don't necessarily see when they start an OKR program is by focusing and by having these check-in meetings, you'll find that a lot of the other meetings simply go away because there's no need for them anymore. I had a great manager one time tell me that, “Tim, there really is never a problem in business. It's really a communication problem.” And so with communication, they're focused on the same important element. And all the departments are coordinating together and they're pulling together, pushing the rock up the hill together. And I use that great analogy that imagine if you had 10 people pushing a rock up a hill and everyone was organized okay, and pushing it in the exact same direction. It's easier to get that rock to the top of the hill than if you got three people pushing left, two people pushing right, one person not pushing much at all, and uh, that rock will never get up that hill. So how do we take a question on alignment? Yep. In context to enterprise rollouts, cause they're so large.

Vidya:

Tim, can we take a question on alignment?  In context to enterprise rollouts, cause they're so large, do organizations need to take all employees or all team members through KRs? And how much time does it take to align teams? 

Tim:

Fabulous question. The answer on this is it depends. How does this roll out over an enterprise? Okay, so what's critically important is to understand that in order for this to really be successful and starting at the top, you take your time. Okay? And the reason you take your time is you want everyone to be bought in. Again, I had this executive presentation the other day and I implored them to say – Look, it's very important that you get all of the department heads buying into the OKR program. You don't want people mailing it in, and sometimes it's as simple as understanding what's not working for them. And that's the role of the consultant to be able to better understand what's going on with all the departments. Are they all bought in on this? Okay. And if not, what's going on? If that person running that department wasn't really bought in and hadn't really adopted this framework, everybody underneath them, they're gonna get that same “Mail it in. Ah, we don't care.” So it's critically important to get the senior level department heads and C-suite all involved in this collaboratively and all bought in. Once that happens, you can take it down to the next level. Once a program gets to a certain point, you're gonna want to begin to then have certain people running those programs and running those teams for someone running the overall program.

Um, it is an agile program, whether we've talked about it or not, it's agile. It resets itself on a quarterly basis. That requires a little bit of timing. Hopefully, that answers the question.

Vidya:

Good. Awesome. Thanks. 

Tim:

Are there any more questions before we move on to the last segment? So the last piece, and again, I'm a power of three guy. And think about this. We know this is really beginning to stick in an organization when the discussions are all about how your key results are doing. That commonality of saying, “Excuse me, I have key results. You have key results. That's when we know that that's slowly getting that culture change.” That's critically important. This management change and culture change. What sits behind this is trust. You're giving people that ability to go out and do the things, that we hired great people to do. Giving 'em that freedom and latitude to be able to do this. No one's right 100% of the time. When they get a chance to set a goal, sometimes they set it a little higher than they thought they should have, or maybe they didn't get all the things they wanted to get accomplished, accomplished. And that shouldn't be a reason for someone to be let go. And so building that area of trust, um, to know that it's okay to take some shots in your business, okay. And that by taking those shots, you're not gonna get hung out to dry and, and knowing that it's done collaboratively. You know, one of the great things about trust is knowing that when you've created your Key Results that you do run 'em by your manager, “Hey, this is what I'm thinking this quarter. What do you think?” 

But one of the nice things and an ancillary benefit of empowerment is collaboration. And so we're big on collaboration as Atruity, as a consulting organization, we believe that given the chance for a manager to be able to say, “Hey Jack, I really like your thought process here. What can I do to help you as a servant-leader? What is it that I can do? What pieces do I have to move out of the way so that you can be truly successful?” That's what a leader does. A leader listens, A leader motivates, and ultimately that's what people really like. 

Here's what happens when organizations, you see this trust lacking. They're not hitting their goals. They have difficulty achieving performance targets, cuz the focus is on doing what somebody else really wants. And honestly, it, uh, it creates a little bit of a lack of innovation. Your company struggles to innovate. People stick with what's worked in the past instead of thinking about what the future might have in store and what could be done better. So without that trust, they're gonna do what they're told.  

Now, organizations with trust. If they have real freedom, given a chance to commit to them, they're gonna crush 'em every time. And lastly, we believe that innovation does improve, okay. Because really great ideas, great innovations come from the people that are really closest to the work that they're doing. They're the ones that have that ‘aha’ moment. They're the ones that have that, “Hey, I think we could do this differently. And I think, based upon what the organization wants to accomplish, this might be a better way to do things.” So by giving people that freedom to think and that alignment, that's where success really happens. So with that, I'll close and ask if there are any other questions?

Vidya:

Is there a magic formula that an OKR coach can use to help organizations? 

Tim:

A magic formula - haha! So I'll speak about us as an organization. I think enthusiasm is a big deal. Okay. Um, I think being an internal evangelist about the program, being highly educated, not only about OKRs, but really what underlying issue really, why, how are they important? That's a good formula to start off for success. I think the other thing that I would mention, we've done this with dozens of companies and our methodology is sound. Okay. We know what works. So those will be my magic formula.

Vidya:

Thanks, Tim. How are we implementing OKRs for project implementation teams and how do we approach tasks to key results? So the movement of tasks to key results in context to a project implementation team. I'm guessing this is a technology team.

Tim:

Right. So let's talk about that team, okay? At some point at that team, there's someone that's running that division. We do pilot programs all the time in departments. It may be that those North stars are really what the department wants. Okay, but let's start there. You're gonna want that department head to basically have its North Star. What is it that we're trying to get done this year? What is it that we're trying to get done this quarter, as it begins to break down into a a software development organization? What happens in software organizations is this ability to prioritize and so the prioritization should come from the top, like this is what we need to get done over a particular quarter. What happens is in software development teams, traditionally, this word ‘Agile’ comes into play. And Agile and Scrum is a wonderful, wonderful methodology. DevSecOps, wonderful methodologies and approaches to being able to have that iterative approach as you do things rather than building it the way they traditionally used to do things and end up realizing you're in the wrong direction.

However, and this is really critical, the understanding of tasks versus outcome is much different. In software development and in agile daily tasks. What do we got? Get it done. Task, task, task, task. When you create your Objectives and Key Results, look to the outcome, okay? What we see in key results all the time is that, and I'll use this – and forgive me because I'm not a software developer – but it can be nothing more than something like we need to be able to design, develop, and test a particular function. Okay? Over a course of 90 days. The tasks are what you just heard. The Key Result was the outcome. And then being able to put that in a measurement fashion. How would we know that that happened? How would we know and how would we prove it? And that proof is where you start to get to the management metric.

And just to add to this, I believe all good Key Results – I'll give an example here. This is a good Key Result. We're gonna open three new accounts this quarter. That's a good Key Result. You know, a great Key Result says three new accounts opened this quarter. Notice the difference. The number is first. Always start with the number. Now when you talk about tasks, You really need to think more about outcome, okay? The tasks are things that come on a daily, weekly basis. You do get your priorities, but what's the most important thing? What are the outcomes that we wanna accomplish over 90 days? Now what happens is Agile people get a tendency to get task-oriented, where this is raising that thought level and saying, “Really, if there were only two or three things that we really wanted to accomplish, how would you be able to encapsulate into an outcome over a given 90 day period?”

Vidya:

Thanks. That is awesome. Thank you. I think we are, uh, good with the questions so far and, uh, thank you for taking the time to answer.

Tim:

Yeah, so I, I'm just gonna close here, the video, with a couple things. Working with us – we do OKR implementation, program management support, advisory capacity. We'll do pilot programs. We also have executive briefing. So basically let executives know a little bit deeper about what OKRs can bring to the table. And that's really where you get that excitement. So if, uh, if any organization is looking to do that and wants to get their C-suite involved, we do an executive briefing. It's about 90 minutes. It's very lively, hopefully as questions and answers, little quote about us. This gentleman, Paul Smith, he was Senior Vice President, uh, general manager for the public sector at Red Hat. Thought we did wonderful work. Paul was a wonderful success story. 

Last but not least, check out our podcast OKRs Q&A. We're releasing our 80th episode here next week. And we're very excited, but check 'em all out. There's a lot of subject matter experts. There's a lot of our clients. Also, if you'd like to go to our website and we have some uh, case studies there as well. You can listen to people that have used and worked with us.

And, it's a good way to get to know who we are as an organization. Now with that, I'd like to thank everyone for doing this with me today. I hope this was productive for everybody. Thank you.

Vidya:

Uh, thanks to, you know, I'd started the webinar by seeing that it's been a privilege to host you and we really, truly mean that. Every interaction with Tim, we learn something new. Thanks Tim for really encapsulating the entire OKR program into three pillars of clarity, alignment, and trust. Thank you to all the attendees as well. Uh, Tim is on LinkedIn, so if you'd like to reach out to him to learn more about Atruity's offerings in OKR consulting, and thank you for all the great questions.

Tim:

Well, you're welcome. And, and Vidya, first off, and thank you so much for doing this with me today. I was honored and pleased to be able to be a part of and to be associated with what I think is some fantastic software. And just to close, we do business globally. So, you know, I've consulted all over the world and we help programs all over the world. So we're a boutique firm, but we do things globally and, and as I say, I never – no need to sleep, haha! So, but thank you again for having us. It was truly my pleasure today. 

Vidya:

Bye, everyone. 

Tim:

Thanks. Bye now.

Vidya:

Good night.

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Founder, Chief OKR Consultant and Podcaster at Atruity

#14. Mission Possible: Accelerate Growth with Empowered Teams | Tim Meinhardt, Atruity | Fitbots OKRs

Tim Meinhardt is an OKR Consultant, Coach, Expert, Speaker, Podcaster and CEO of Atruity. Atruity helps Executives Get Their Organization Focused, Aligned And Committed To Accomplishing Its Top Priorities Using OKRs. In this webinar we go through the following - * Sponsorship, strategy, simplicity are ingredients to get successfully started on OKRs * 3Cs to keep it going: Commitment, Cadance and Conversations are core to keep OKRs going * OKRs are like gym: You need to it give time to yield results. Do not force OKRs for your employees, let them pick the goals then they are more likely to achieve it.


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