Matt Jesperson from Sherpa CRM shares how managing OKRs via Ally.io has been a “dramatic improvement from our prior OKR software experience and our use of manual Excel spreadsheets.”
Sherpa CRM is changing the way the senior housing industry is selling to seniors. They are removing the outdated method of transactional sales tactics to place seniors in facilities, and promoting an empathic, prospect-centered approach that yield far better results. They’ve done this through a proprietary methodology they’ve coined “prospect-centered selling.” Founded in 2014, Sherpa now partners with senior housing organizations in all 50 states, all provinces in Canada and most recently, they’ve landed in the UK. Their tremendous success can be traced to a long standing culture of aspirational goal setting, says Chief Customer Officer Matt Jesperson.
“The idea of setting aspirational goals has always been there from the beginning. But there was never any awareness of a subset of goals, or multiple subsets of goals, that help you obtain or achieve the aspirational goal,” Matt says.
It wasn’t until Pedro Soares, the current CEO of Sherpa, joined the team in 2018 that OKRswere utilized as the goal-setting method of choice. Soares brought with him the concept of OKRs from a previous role, and introduced the concept to the executive team via the book “Measure What Matters,” authored by OKR pioneer John Doerr.
“I managed the process via Excel through all of 2018 and it was effective, but incredibly cumbersome and time consuming,” explained Matt. That challenge led Matt and his team to search for a partner to help automate and scale the process to which they onboarded another OKR software provider. Matt describes that software experience as an improvement, but still time consuming.
“It was a ‘good’ product, but it was limited in its flexibility and so some of the ways in which we wanted OKRs to roll up in how they’re measured, or to be co-owned or co-opted by multiple teams, or just the ability to see them in an easy reportable structure, simply wasn’t possible. I ended up having to export CSV files and then repurpose those through scripts into an Excel cover page that would masquerade as a report. So, again, very time consuming, but a little easier to manage.”
Matt’s search continued. “I came across Ally.io in 2020. We’ve been using Ally.io for the better part of this year. And it’s been a dramatic improvement upon our prior software experience and the prior manual experience.”
“Ally.io has aided in the adoption of OKRs. We were doing them at the company and team level, but we weren’t going into more detail because it was too cumbersome. We’ve now brought it down to the individual level. With the simplicity of the tool and some of the easy ways in which you can update – whether it’s the check-in feature or the integration with Slack – the ability of people to both be reminded and easily update their statuses makes it really functional. It’s not intrusive. It just flows along as a part of people’s day, week, month. It’s helped us standardize the process.”
Now that Ally.io has allowed for the depth of OKR adoption, it’s given individual team members at Sherpa the ability to understand the relevance and impact of their daily contribution. The “why” of their work, which drives employee satisfaction and engagement.
Matt adds, “OKRs give us this ability to look back and see how far we’ve come. Because we’re really good at seeing what we haven’t done or what is left to do. But sometimes it’s hard to look backwards and recognize how far we’ve come and celebrate that and utilize that as an opportunity for gaining confidence and motivation to keep going. And OKRs allow for that. Because now you have a track record. You’re not just on this never-ending hamster wheel.”
On an organizational level, the widespread adoption of OKRs has increased productivity, alignment, and focus. Matt continues that Ally.io has “dramatically reduced the silo effect between teams. Particularly through Covid as we have all our teams working remotely. It keeps everybody tethered in a productive way.”
He adds, “OKRs focused us a lot. OKRs have helped us to identify what is most critical and where dependencies are between teams so we just get stuff done more consistently and a lot faster than we used to.”
After experiencing the management of OKRs via manual spreadsheets and multiple software providers, Matt has seasoned advice to share for those in the buying process.
“The simplicity of setting up OKRs is paramount. If the 3rd or 4th level user doesn’t use the system, then it’s useless. It’s really the ability of the end users to input updates and check-in on their OKRs. Most of the bells and whistles can go away, as long as you have the simplistic format for entering, aligning, updating and checking in. It’s more about the people using it rather than the managers using it.”
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