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OKR 101

Establishing an OKR system that works

The OKR framework is a great way to turn your organization’s strategic plans into real results. Although making a change to the way your organization sets goals may take some getting used to, the effort is well worth the rewards your company will reap. 

Here are a few things you need to do when developing an OKR program to make sure you are getting the most out of this goal setting framework.

Get senior management on board.

OKR programs are most successful when they’re embraced at the top and cascade down to the rest of the organization. This allows executives to guide big-picture strategies that align with the organizational mission, vision, and values.

okr system

When OKRs are aligned with the mission and vision set by leaders, they help your organization stay focused on the big picture. Key leaders can also contribute to a culture of accountability and retrospection by visibly modeling and championing the OKR program.

 

Need more help getting senior management on board? These resources can help:

Why Your OKR Program Needs Leadership Buy-In 

Selling OKRs to an Executive Team: 5 Common Objections 

Leaders, here’s why you need OKRs 

Why OKRs Are Important for Leadership 

Identify an OKR Champion.

Implementing an OKR program can quickly become disorganized when there isn’t a specific person in charge of making sure its debut is successful. 

Select one person, the OKR champion, who will own the implementation of the OKR program at your organization. Your OKR champion will spearhead the rollout, adoption, and use of your OKR program. They should understand and communicate the ins and outs of OKRs, including best practices. They often will also serve as the system administrator if you’re utilizing an OKR software.  

Read more about what an OKR champion can do for your organization. 

Train everyone on OKRs.

establishing an okr system

An OKR system cannot be successful without company-wide alignment and transparency. Every employee should have a firm grasp on the benefits of an OKR program and must understand how their role and contributions will impact the short- and long-term progress of the company’s objectives. Knowing how their goals align with other team members will make it easier to focus their time on the right things.

It is best practice to assign someone to own the OKR trainer position. This person will help get everyone up to speed by scheduling training sessions, fielding questions, and identifying ongoing educational opportunities for all employees.

Here are a few resources to help you build goal alignment at your organization:

Alignment Challenges & Solutions For Global Teams 

How To Build A Positive Company Culture With OKRs 

Establish a new rhythm of business. 

You may already have a system in place to check in on progress toward goals, but an OKR program will likely require a more consistent and frequent cadence of check-ins and reviews than what you’re currently doing. Take some time to assess which elements of your existing processes are working, and brainstorm how they will fit into your OKR program. Consider if there are any processes you have that are important for the organization, but not quite hitting the mark. Can they be improved? What changes will need to be made?

setting okrs

You need to be prepared to set aside dedicated time to nurture your OKR system. This nurturing keeps goals relevant to the current state of the business and promotes organizational agility, a key benefit of OKRs. We recommend OKRs be set on a quarterly basis so teams can remain nimble and focused on the short-term initiatives that must be accomplished. Then, get in the habit of setting weekly check-ins to measure and discuss OKRs. This will create accountability and encourage organizational adoption of your OKR program.

Check out the following resources for more tips on creating an OKR rhythm:

Enabling OKR Champions

How To Run Successful OKR Reviews

OKR Meetings 

Ready to get started?

Establishing an OKR system that works isn’t always easy, but these tips will help the process go more smoothly. If you are new to OKRs and need support, don’t forget to ask for help!

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