Best Practices & Tips for OKR success
OKR is a top management tool used by many fast growing companies to guide and execute their strategy. OKR is a very powerful and flexible framework that can help organizations of any size or industry but it is important to follow the best practices to get the most out of it.
Here are some of the best practices that should be followed when rolling out OKR programs
An OKR program can bring a great change to the culture of an organization but it can take a few cycles before getting it right. Organizations that want to drive this change needs to have an executive team who are committed to propel change throughout this journey. Successful transformation efforts require senior executives to set the direction, lead communication efforts, model desired behaviors, align resources, and hold the rest of the organization accountable.
Objectives should not be all top down, it should be the right mix from both top down and bottom down approaches. Leaders should ensure they have the buy-in of the team for their team’s OKRs.
OKR framework is different from other goal setting frameworks with its unique approach of combining ambition and practicality, teams and individuals should be encouraged to be ambitious and set stretch goals that pushes the limits. Google’s high growth in its formative days is a direct result of adopting OKR’s stretch goal principle. It is very important that OKR should not be linked to employee compensation to encourage setting ambitious stretch goals without the fear of failure.
Focused execution can be achieved by aligning objectives of teams and individuals with the company’s strategic vision and priorities. Aligning OKRs will allow monitoring of different components that contribute to the strategic goals and teams/individuals can clearly understand how they are contributing to the company’s vision.
OKRs should be transparent and it can help build a culture of accountability, commitment, trust and collaboration among the employees.
Set a clear OKR cycle for planning, running and reviewing OKRs. Planning phase is critical as one of the great benefits of OKRs is their effectiveness as a means of translating organizational strategy down to everybody’s reality so the whole organization becomes aligned and focused on what matters most. OKRs that are set right could become the true north for the whole organization to guide and prioritize its efforts. It is also important to review OKRs at the end of each cycle and make adjustments for the next cycle with the learnings.
Regular cadence for check-in
Run check-in at regular cadence to check the OKR progress. OKR is an agile methodology, OKRs are not meant to set once and forget them, constant progress check-ins are essential to identify risks/opportunities and make adjustments in an agile manner.
Selecting an OKR champion, someone who drives the adoption and implementation of this methodology in the organization, is crucial to the initial and overall success. The champions are OKR experts that help determine the process including the cadence, the check-in schedule and also choose and manage OKR tools.
OKR Rollout Program
Plan and execute a robust rollout for the OKR program that engages employees and trains employees on OKR methodology and the tools.OKR could be a powerful tool for building a culture of execution, and results oriented if done right. The above best practices will help move your organization’s OKR program in the right direction.
Writing good OKRs is the first and vital step for the adoption of the OKR framework and will set your organization on the path of success.
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