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How to get started with OKR at your company in 6 steps? Easy guide to roll out OKR & build quick progress


Originally posted on April 20, 2021 @ 3:45 pm

OKR-Objective Key Results - OKRInsights.com - The Ultimate OKR Resources site

Are you looking to align employee priorities within teams and your overall company? For more information look at vegas world. The OKR methodology might be your solution.

The OKR methodology (or Objectives Key Results) is a great system for managers and employees to set, cascade, and communicate goals throughout your company. There’s no doubt how important it is for managers to align employee objectives with their departments and overall company. The concept sounds simple enough, but we want to make sure you find success using it for the first time. The OKR methodology is a system for setting, cascading, and communicating goals throughout your company.

Please note, for in-depth insights & comprehensive guides – Check out the following detailed reads, enriched with nuances & learnings from actual deployment across high-growth workplaces. Check them here as follows to improve overall OKR capability maturity: OKR Case StudiesA 6 part comprehensive OKR Manual on demystifying OKRsThe Ultimate OKR Checklist & Key Lessons learned from OKR Case Studies. In addition to this, also see Google’s guide on OKRs for best practices & deployment methodology.

It brings focus because they make it easy for companies, departments, and teams to recognize what the current priorities are, and to align them with employees’ personal objectives.

Quick overview of the steps you’ll need to take for the first time to roll out OKR

  1. Brainstorm company goals with an annual plan in mind
  2. Collaborate with managers to draft their first set of department Objectives Key Results
  3. Communicate the Objectives Key Results methodology to the entire company
  4. Employee draft their own Objective Key Results
  5. Finalize Objective Key Results alignment company-wide
  6. Review individual Objective Key Results and continue to monitor performance

Overall, there are 4 key reasons Leaders & Organizations find success with OKR unlocking high value in long term –

From our experience, they’ve proven to be valuable by saving time and resources on tracking performance as well as building a transparent culture where everyone feels informed

Now that you know the benefits of OKR methodology, it’s time to get a grasp of how to create your own. Simply put, objectives are outcomes that reflect current company, department or personal priorities. For every objective, you might have up to 5 corresponding key results that align with the following:

  • Answers the question, “How do I know if I have achieved my outcome?”
  • Is the end result of a series of tasks, but not the tasks themselves
  • Is Measurable

Here are few examples to walk you through the concept (yes, it’s that simple)

As you can see, the objective sounds challenging, and that’s how it should be. The key results indicate essential milestones that need to happen before this your objective or outcome can be achieved. This should effectively break down the actions you need to take to make it happen. Beware of confusing key results with tasks. Tasks should be generated based on key results (More on that in the upcoming content, Stay tuned & Make this link sticky)

But why Objectives Key Results?! The secret sauce of why they are so followed & the organizations which have incorporated this methodology successfully are so successful (& so hailed as well), is by using Objectives Key Results is the alignment of objectives to high-level company objectives, to drive focus and understanding of why an objective is important to the organization as a whole.

Here are the 2 of most commonly followed OKR alignment models:

The Full Alignment Model

The full alignment model usually appeals to corporations and large departments, integrating well with established management processes that are usually top-down. It’s also more manageable to establish cascading OKRs in this way because employees can clearly see how goals are being aligned.

The goals cascade in a waterfall pattern with minimal changes, from top to bottom. On the top level of the company, we have the CEO or senior leadership, on the next level of the company, we have the Director of Product and Director of Marketing. In this top-down model, their objectives will be taken directly from the key results of the CEO.

The Flexible Alignment Model

The flexible alignment model usually appeals to startups and smaller teams. The nature of this alignment inspires companies that have flexible cultures which promote agile changes and growth. While all objectives are ultimately aligned with higher-level Objectives Key Results, there is no strict alignment that prevents individuals from setting personal growth Objectives Key Results.

On the top level, the CEO has the same Objectives Key Results as in the Full Alignment Model, However, the change lies in how the OKRs are being cascaded to the next level. Rather than creating objectives from a superior’s key results, managers can set their own department OKRs with their own aspirations in mind as long as it aligns with the company OKRs.

Setting up the Cadence cycle for management

OKRs are time-boxed and run for a predetermined amount of time. It’s your decision as to how long that span is. Most organizations use a quarterly cadence, meaning every OKR runs for a three-month span. This is often seen as short-term enough that every week counts, but long enough that real progress can be made. The OKR methodology is most successful when there is a rhythmic process attached to it.

Setting up Check-in cycle for tracking

While most organizations put in time and resources around creating OKRs, leaders should also focus on internal processes such as check-ins, 1-on-1s, and feedback loops in between to receive real-time updates as well as to provide proactive support. As a leader, your job doesn’t end with selecting the OKR methodology. Communication and training are key because managers and department heads play a huge role in making the implementation of OKRs successful.

Any company that leads from the top will find manager buy-in to be extremely beneficial to the OKR roll-out process because it’s demonstrating by example. Your managers or department heads are the best people to run your annual objectives by. Task them with drafting alternative objectives that fit the company, keeping in mind they have different departmental priorities. We recommend rolling out before a new year or quarterly cycle within your company.

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