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5 Tips For Implementing OKRs Effectively

Objectives should be clear and specific

The hallmark of OKRs is that they’re both ambitious yet simple. Assuming every team has its own set of OKRs, you need to make sure those OKRs are readable, comprehensible, and most importantly, fully and clearly understood.

The objectives of the department—which should be well-aligned with the company’s objectives—must be fully ingrained in their minds because if it isn’t, then you have a whole team operating on a tactical level and not a strategic level. Your team members all need to understand that their actions should be done to achieve the desired outcome or key result. Without clear or specific goals, you risk having a team that is aimless and performing tasks that have nothing to do with achieving the key results you want.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

This goes hand-in-hand with the above tip: you need to be able to speak in clear language with your executives, department heads, and team members. There’s no room for vague language here, be as precise as you can, especially when it’s the company’s goals at stake.

Not only that, but you also need to encourage your team members across all levels to step up and communicate, whether that’s reporting on progress or voicing out a personal need. Create a workplace or working environment that promotes healthy and clear communication without judgement from the other side.

Put OKRs on full display where everyone can see

How can your team members see if they’re doing their job right when they have no intel on the progress they’re making? Whether it’s a specialized OKR tool or an excel sheet, everyone in the company should have access to a dashboard or spreadsheet that is regularly updated and displays the progress the company is making towards achieving their Objectives and Key Results.

Don’t only give access to the department’s OKRs or you’ll risk building a team of silos. Instead, make sure everyone’s OKRs are accessible and on full display for the whole company to see. This encourages teamwork, and also helps each department realize that even though each department has a different function, all of their OKRs are trying to achieve one end result, and that’s the company’s main vision or goal.

Rigorously review your OKRs

OKRs shouldn’t be left alone until the end of the year or even half-way through the year. Each department’s OKRs—as well as the company’s—should be reviewed on at least a quarterly basis.

Reviewing and refining your OKRs regularly will help you and team members to never lose sight of your main objectives, and it also helps keep things in perspective. If you notice that one key result is a little too “easy” to achieve, then you change that into one that is more challenging. If you notice that one of your key results aren’t really serving your company’s objectives, then you refine it so that it aligns with the company’s goals.

Let your teams call the shots for once

You may be the boss, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be “bossy.” Ordering your team members around and telling them what to do may seem like the right thing to do, but if you want to empower your teams and foster creativity, then you have to let them do their job.

Trust that your teams will deliver on the desired outcome and let them figure out the right course of action. They know what needs to be done in their line of work, and as long as there are clear and specific objectives in place, then they’ll surely know how to get it done better than you will. This not only helps your company become more agile by ditching the traditional hierarchal company structure and bureaucracy, but it also helps empower and encourage your teams to brainstorm, think outside the box, and become more comfortable expressing their ideas.

It’s simple: Your OKRs should always, always, align with the company’s strategy and goal

If they don’t, then your departments are going to form their own goals that suit their own personal needs. This is disastrous as it creates a fractured company structure and an operating model that functions aimlessly. Align each department’s OKRs with the company’s, and your team members should better understand what needs to be done by default.

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