Organizations today adopt an OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework when they wish to accelerate their growth. They actually expect to achieve higher operating margins, with improved goal achievement that are enabled by the OKR Framework. But it is not easy for people who are not in the habit of measuring goals and objectives to suddenly accept that just adopting the framework is enough to start seeing the expected results. Many people in the organization may push back, calling it an unnecessary complication in their way of functioning and even consider it a waste of their time. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Adoption of OKRs helps to engage employees better and also helps in various other ways, as enumerated below:
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Better Task Selection
OKRs help to define your path to success, along with setting the Objectives and ways to measure the output, using Key Results. Everyone in the organization would know what they need to focus on, aim for and what gets measured when they undergo a performance management review. They can choose their daily activities and tasks on the job better, knowing which task is more important and how it benefits the organization as a whole. This alone would prove to be a great help in improving overall performance in the organization.
Goal setting with OKRs saves time in deciding what to execute and ensure better satisfaction by inspiring the teams to perform better, with a keen focus on goal achievement. This process can be supported by looking at what is important to your organization, like your vision, mission, other company-level and team-level priorities and the metrics usually measured and tracked.
Motivate the Teams
Guidelines for settings OKRs clearly expect us to make sure that the objectives set for the teams are achievable but not easy. They have to be ambitious, without being depressingly difficult to achieve. They need to exert the right amount of pressure on people to perform right and reach the goals set for them. This would also help them to grow and aim as well as reach higher. When teams keep reaching closer to aspirational goals, revenues are bound to grow quarter on quarter. Create a daily update for the team, or a dashboard in real-time to maintain visibility on the goals and the results, which showcase the team’s achievement of them. Once you have adopted the framework, you can finetune it further by aligning the OKRs further, by factoring in the relationship and reliance between the departments.
Keep Focus on Strategy
OKRs are about getting the teams to recognize what really matters. Pick them well and keep them simple and limited in number. Get everyone to focus on things that matter and help them to use their time right and make decisions which help to further the achievement of their goals. Most teams are distracted by things which demand their attention on an urgent basis and lose focus on the overall strategy of the company. This is what makes an OKR framework so useful and important, to keep teams focused.
Measuring what Matters
Setting the right objectives is only half the battle when you adopt an OKR framework. The key results piece of OKRs helps you to measure the achievement of these goals. They help you quantify your goals and to know that your performance was up to the mark and to see how well you have achieved your goals and see what percentage of your targets were actually reached.
As OKR framework aligns the organizational goals with individual performance, everyone in the organizations will be made accountable and answerable to the achievement of the targets or the inability to achieve them. Just as people get recognized for reaching their goals, the reasons behind the inability need to be recognized when the goals are not met, so that requisite interventions by way of training or support can be offered to improve performance. Regular reviews, and course corrections, if needed are a great way to manage performance using OKRs.
Help Recognize Performance
When individuals find their contributions being recognized and rewarded, they are incentivized to keep performing better. You will see that recognition for partially achieved goals, which are tough to begin with, can act as a motivator to your teams who will continue to pursue the goals with renewed vigor, driving for growth continuously.
Companies may derive even more benefits when they get started with OKRs, while the actual results could vary by company. In any case, it is important to consider your first quarter with OKRs as a work in progress. You will need to align the inter-dependencies between the departments and teams as you keep working with the OKR framework to refine and improve it. This might call for coordination between the departments and may require discussions on the goals and objectives being targeted. Keep refining your objectives as well as key results and keep on striving to improve the functioning of the OKR framework, until you start seeing better results, quarter after quarter.
You can also read how startups can benefit using a PMS and best practices for business annual planning with OKR framework