August 19, 2021

How to use OKRs to navigate organizational change

Lucy Hitz
Lucy Hitz

Let’s take a look at how OKRs can be used to navigate every kind of change within an organization, from M&As to restructuring to rebrands— and even unforeseen disruptors like COVID-19 and fluctuation in market conditions. A strong, widely adopted OKR framework can prevent change from looking and feeling like chaos.

Prefer to listen? Watch the webinar on navigating organizational change with OKRs ft. Ally’s Customer Success Manager Manish Dixit and There Be Giants founder Roger Longden.

Preparation pays off

As Roger Longden, founder of There Be Giants, shared in our recent webinar,

“Change is the only constant, so therefore it absolutely pays dividends to have a solid, robust, and repeatable approach to how you manage change.”

Doing so allows an organization to adapt quickly, no matter what changes are thrown at (or thrust upon) them. But what does this look like in practice?

OKR Process


Longden recommends all organizations to be prepared with a framework that includes a method for change, a technology platform that ties methodic elements together, and a plan for guiding your people through times of transformation. 

The OKR method for managing change

Objectives and key results (OKRs) allow you to define new priorities as strategy shifts, to reinforce routine while also embracing agility, and to adopt new standards. 

OKR Case Study

With the right OKR software in place, adapting to change quickly is much easier.’s Manish Dixit recommends looking for a solution with baked in best practices, integrations, collaboration and reporting capabilities, and a robust notification system that helps employees get into an OKR groove.

OKR software

The ability for a platform to scale with your organization is especially critical during times of change, so look for one that can grow alongside you. 

6 tips for using to manage change

As Customer Success Manager at, Manish has led hundreds of organizations through times of change. Here are his tips for how to use Ally to manage change:

  • Create custom time periods. Change doesn’t happen on a regular cadence, so it’s unlikely to fit perfectly into typical quarterly or biannual time periods.
  • Establish strategic pillars. These will help you stay hyper-focused on the “right” goals 
  • Ensure consistent check-ins. During times of change, frequent check ins are critical so you can course-correct if needed and avoid high employee attrition rates. 
  • Review (and celebrate!) progress. Have frequent checkpoints on progress and highlight wins to boost employee morale.
  • Eliminate stretch goals. You may not have the resources to stretch, and trying to do so might increase the degree of change your organization is experiencing. Pause them for now, and revisit later.
  • Enable private goals. While we’re usually all about transparency, sometimes during change that practice can cause more harm than good, especially during restructuring. Create private goals that are relevant to only a subset of the organization when that’s the case.

Managing the human elements of change

There is a strong link between how effective OKRs are at driving results and the status of your organizational culture. In times of change, this link becomes even more pronounced. 

Longden uses a change management model that embraces innovation and human motivation. It’s broken out into two familiar phases: the carrot and the stick.

  • The carrot involves laying a foundation for change that asks employees to imagine how the world can be a better place if the change takes place.
  • The stick comes next, after creating this vision and building a sense of urgency around making it happen. The stick asks, “What is the cost if we don’t act upon this change?” This empowers teams to deliver (guided by OKRs) the vision, and ultimately return to a state of business-as-usual. 

Every period of change that an organization goes through is a lesson. The benefit of the OKR methodology is that it’s agile in nature and fosters a culture that embraces data-driven improvements to process and practices.

Want to learn more about using OKRs to drive transformation? It’s time to skim our whitepaper 8 Ways OKRS Help Businesses Grow and Thrive.

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