Ally.io
September 28, 2021

The 7 most common OKR problems (and how to address them)

Lucy Hitz
Director of Content, Ally.io
Common Objections

There’s a reason why so many industry-leading organizations use OKRs: they work.

Tech giants like Amazon, Slack, Dropbox, Google, and so many more trust the objectives and key results methodology to deliver results, increase alignment, and improve agility. And yet, it’s human nature to have some hesitations when introduced to a new process. 

So, how do you overcome the hesitation and convince your organization to adopt OKRs? Below, we’ve compiled the 7 most common objections you may hear when introducing OKRs to your colleagues, and the talking points you can use to help shift their perspective. 

Download the eBook to learn more about getting OKR buy-in in your organization. 

Common OKR problems and objections

1. “I already have too much on my plate” or “I don’t have time for this.”

Respond with this…

  • OKRs keep you focused on 3-5 goals at a time so you can give more attention to what matters most. [See OKR Examples]
  • When you have OKRs defined, it becomes very clear which work is driving results for the business. This empowers you to say “no” to work that’s not a priority.
  • While all new things take a little time to get used to, the OKR methodology includes intentional efforts and tools to help the process become a welcomed habit, not a time-consuming task
  • 72% of Ally.io customers say our OKR software actually helps their teams waste less time.

2. “We’re already tracking this information elsewhere.” 

Respond with this…

  • Perhaps this information already exists, but is it functional? When goals, data, and processes are constrained by siloes or dispersed across multiple systems, it limits our organization’s ability to embrace opportunities, address risk, and adapt to change.
  • Our leaders need easy access to information that reflects progress, challenges, or opportunities across the organization so they can plan for success. Without this, they’re flying blind. With the OKR framework, there is full transparency – for every individual, leader, and executive – into business results.  
  • Great! With an OKR tool like Ally.io, you won’t need to duplicate your efforts to record this information. Native integrations will pull data right into Ally.io and seamlessly connect your efforts to updates.

Integrations

3. “This isn’t how they do it in Measure What Matters.” 

Respond with this…

  • Measure What Matters is a great book, and a huge contributor to the popularity of the OKR methodology. However, it’s not a playbook that works for every organization. Since we’re not Google or Intel, we need our own, individualized rollout plan that takes our organizational culture into account.
  • With a partner like Ally.io, we get more than just an OKR software. We get access to expert coaching and strategy, onboarding and training resources, and so much more that will help tailor our OKR program to fit our company. 

4. “I don’t want to be scored.”

Respond with this…

  • OKR scoring isn’t about compensation (in fact, that’s actually a way to hinder performance and growth!). Instead, it’s about continuous improvement and a holistic approach to growth. 
  • OKRs make performance discussions more actionable, and more frequent with regular check-ins. That’s a good thing, because it means that even if you fall a little behind, you’ll get back on track quickly. 
  • OKRs are supposed to be ambitious, so there’s always a chance of “failure.” In fact, they actually can help you intentionally build a risk-positive company culture.

5. “I don’t want my team to be distracted by frequent check-ins.”

Respond with this…

  • Checking in often gives you the data you need to understand what’s happening within your business. This high resolution allows you to continuously fine-tune and improve.
  • Check-ins let you catch issues or roadblocks in real-time instead of waiting for an end of quarter review to notice something’s gone awry. This way, you have a chance to get on track before things get completely derailed.
  • With a tool like Ally.io, integrations help you ensure that check-ins aren’t a distraction. They simply become part of your workflow. Check out how Ally.io integrates with Slack, below, to make check-ins quick and easy.

Customer Success

6. “I already do a daily/weekly huddle. Why do I need to do updates?”

Respond with this…

  • Updates will make those huddles efficient and actionable. Instead of having a meeting about tasks that need to get done, updates will inform your agenda by identifying what’s going well, what’s at risk, and what needs to be prioritized or adjusted in order to stay on track.
  • Other teams are not at your huddle. Updates allow for the transparent sharing of progress between your team and your other cross-functional partners who may be depending on your work to move forward with theirs.

7. “I don’t want another admin thing to do.”

Respond with this…

  • OKRs aren’t a task list; rather, they’re a set of the 3-5 most important things for you to focus your attention on. In this way, they actually help you eliminate other tasks that might feel administrative, and save you time in the long run.
  • Little housekeeping efforts along the way pay off in droves at the end of the quarter. Instead of blocking off an entire day to review at the end of a goal cycle, you’ll already be prepared with up-to-date data and a presentation-ready dashboard.
  • Integrations make updating and managing OKRs a breeze. With Ally.io, you can connect to your favorite software (like Salesforce, shown below) with just 2 clicks, and have it automatically send data updates for your check-ins.

Salesforce

Overcoming OKR Problems

While your colleagues might pose one of the objections above, sometimes the real question behind it all is, “What’s in it for me?” That’s why it’s important to come prepared to your conversations about OKRs with the benefits the methodology offers for different roles within your organization.

Download and share our eBook on How to Get Buy-in for OKRs to better understand the benefits for executives, managers, and individual contributors. 

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