5 simple ways to make your OKRs successful

Want to know the secret behind successful OKRs? Read our blog to find out the industry-proven tips to make your OKRs successful.

You heard about OKRs. You did your research. You realised that OKR is not just another silicon valley’s fancy idea. And now, you believe that OKRs hold the key to alleviating your organization from all its planning woes, forever. So, you finally decide to implement them in your organization. But then, comes the hard question – “How you can ensure that your OKRs will be successful?”

Sooner or later, every OKR enthusiast will face this question. But he/she should remember that the OKR framework is not a magic bullet that will automatically solve all your organizational and planning problems. The hurdles you face during your OKR adoption are indicators that point out the deficiencies in your existing workflow, that you may have to rectify yourself. So, keeping a learning attitude learning and a flexible approach are the prerequisites to make your OKRs successful.

But, as they say - “Well begun is half done,” so having a solid start in implementing the OKR framework will bring us that much closer to its success. And to do that, we present to you the following 5 ways that will ensure you get that solid start in your OKR adoption journey and enjoy their eventual success –

  1. Develop the right environment first

The OKR framework is not just a goal-setting strategy. It is a complete remodelling of your approach towards work. It’s a result-oriented methodology that requires a result-driven workforce. Hence, before implementing OKRs you should teach and train your team on the OKR principles so that they can set and implement OKRs the way they are meant to be.

Since it is a collaborative approach, OKRs require complete transparency between teams and individuals. There is no place for hierarchies that obscure the work-visibility of top-level managers from the bottom-level employees. Moreover, if your company has been running on a productivity-tracking mindset – where maximizing individual productivity is the goal, then you need to change that to a progress-measuring mindset – where accelerating the overall progress is the supreme goal.

You should also keep in mind that OKRs are not meant to include your run-of-the-mill, business-as-usual activities. The actions that you will set under them should require you to think, innovate, and stretch your capabilities to make a real impact.

  1. Narrow down your focus

When writing the OKRs, you may get tempted to add objectives targeting each and every business concern of your organisation. This approach, although comprehensive, will not generate any impactful result in the end. You should identify those key objectives that are the need of the hour or have the potential to make the biggest impact. So, collaborate with your team and brainstorm to find out those main objectives that you need to focus upon, right now.

Same goes for the key results. Ideally, an objective should have 2 to 4 key results. Key results must have a metric to measure the outcomes. They are, after all, the means to achieve the end (objective), not an end in themselves. Their completion status will let you know if you are delivering value or just working on the tasks.

For beginners, it’s good to set OKRs at the organizational level first. Then, team-level OKRs should come next. At last, OKRs at individual-levels can be defined, if needed. This approach can ensure all the OKRs are aligned to the primary goals.

  1. Keep the OKRs separate from the performance reviews

Good OKRs are always ambitious. They are supposed to push the envelope. At the same time, their accomplishment/non-accomplishment should not be used as a marker to judge your team’s output. It is enticing to see your OKRs as targets for your team members, but you cannot judge anyone’s productivity based on the objectives that are inherently stretch goals.

If you do so, then you risk making your employees to hold back, and to set less ambitious OKRs for themselves in future. It will distract them from accomplishing the company-wide objectives and make them go for achieving their individual goals and to just hit their targets. It will lead to individualism rather than collaboration.

But having said that, you can align your KPIs with your OKRs. The metric for measuring your KPIs can be made a part of the key results. While KPIs can provide you a mean to measure the success of your everyday business activities, the key results will let you gauge how much closer are you in accomplishing your business objectives.

  1. Keep reviewing your OKRs

Once you set your OKRs it doesn’t mean that you can’t revise, update, or change them. In fact, for the first few quarters you will be doing that a lot because you have to align your internal processes to the OKRs and sometimes vice versa.

But even after you have gained a reasonable expertise in implementing OKRs, you should keep them flexible to incorporate the shifting dynamics of the business world. Sometimes, attrition can obstruct your course. Sometimes, a new disruptive technology may force you to re-design your operations. At other times, a change in upper management or any merger or acquisition can come as a surprise. In situations like these, it makes sense to change or even redefine the OKRs to handle the tasks or threats that need immediate attention or remediation.

  1. Use a tool for the maximum impact

You can ease your transition to OKRs and increase their chances of success massively by incorporating a tool for setting the OKRs. As mentioned above, OKRs are not a one-time activity. It requires regular status-updates, tracking, and sharing of information among teams. So, it makes sense to use a tool or a software to manage your OKRs.

Although there are many tools in the market today for managing OKRs, choice should be made by considering multiple aspects like – features, cost, support, and of course how effectively the tool can implement the OKRs in their true form.

Witsmate is a comprehensive OKR setting tool created on the philosophy of making the adoption of OKRs as easy as possible. It includes all the important features of setting, managing, and tracking the OKRs. And if your enterprise is already well-versed in OKRs then you will find Witsmate to be a mature and sophisticated platform with advanced features like team management, tasks alignment, KPI integration, and a Kanban board for tasks and project management. Using a tool will free you from managing administrative tasks around OKR and will help you concentrate on work that really matters.

Initial adoption of the OKRs will never be a straightforward process. Every enterprise is different and will face different kinds of hurdles in its OKR implementation. But with the above-discussed points, you can not only have a great start in OKR adoption but also make your OKRs successful.