How to Convince Your Company to Accept & Adopt OKR Goals

September 21, 2018 | Zorian Rotenberg | HCI
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In his New York Time Bestseller, “Measure What Matters”, author John Doerr defines OKR goals (Objectives & Key Results), as,

 “A management methodology that helps to ensure the company focuses efforts on the same important issues throughout the organization.

Objectives and Key Results are a powerful goal-setting system that works for organizations, teams, and individuals. They align employees’ goals with enterprise objectives. By using Key Results (metrics) to gauge performance and progress, organizations can improve execution both at the individual and company level.

While the advantages of implementing the OKR methodology are clear, it’s natural for organizations to expect some level of resistance. Read on as we discuss how to get your organization to accept and appreciate OKR goals.

1. Roll Out Among Active Goal Setters

Chances are your organization already has managers or teams who actively set and track goals. Teams that already measure work outputs are more likely to succeed in an OKR environment. We suggest a pilot program with these groups, so roll out the system among them first. Teams that already take a quantitative approach to achieving Objectives will excel in setting and tracking the progress of OKR goals. Other teams or departments will then witness and emulate their success.

2. Educate Your Teams

Resistance to change may be the result of a lack of understanding. Once teams see the “why” behind OKR goal-setting, they will be more likely to support the process. Have managers communicate with their teams about how and why OKR goals work and the tools they will be provided.

Clearly defined and broadly communicated OKR objectives improve alignment, focus, clarity, and engagement across the entire organization. It gives teams the framework they need to be more effective in their roles and focus their contributions on what matters most.

3. Train Teams on OKR Goal Setting

Another barrier to acceptance is lack of training. You can’t expect your teams to perform well using a system they don’t understand. Although we refer to OKRs as a “simple” methodology, training is essential to maximizing results.

Using OKR goal setting software is one effective approach as it eliminates the guesswork in OKR goals. It helps managers set Objectives with their teams using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goal-setting method. It provides tools like dashboards and reporting for insights on goal performance. Individuals can use the software to monitor progress and ensure they’re staying on track.

Atiim has dozens of resources available to help organizations learn more about OKR goal-setting, including OKR introductory checklistsgoal alignment charts, and full-length free OKR eBooks. These resources provide a foundational understanding of the goal setting methodology to better help teams see the “why” behind OKRs.

4. Designate OKR Advocates

After rolling out OKRs successfully in one or more departments, decide who should adopt the role of OKR advocate. These individuals can lead by example and encourage others to follow in their success. They can share their expertise and demonstrate the effectiveness of the goal-setting method firsthand.

5. Perfect the Process

In time your organization will develop an OKR goal-setting rhythm. It will require some fine-tuning in the early stages, but once teams, departments, and individuals begin to see the clarity and focus the method yields, they will continue to accept it and perfect it.

Organizations should aim to set quarterly OKRs. This cadence allows for one week to achieve 10% of each Objective, with a 2-3-week grace period. Repeat the process each quarter by creating Objectives, measuring progress towards Key Results (metrics), and reviewing performance to inform the next quarter’s goals. Each time you repeat, your organization will refine the process, become more aligned, and understand how their focused efforts help support top company goals.

Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, a middle manager or even a front-line manager)? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR & Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!