Enamored and awed by the simple philosophy espoused by Andy Grove, Doerr introduced the concept of OKR’s to Google. Google, in turn, took the concept and ran with it, so much so that today, Larry Page credit’s Google’s vast success to the concept of OKRs.
OKRs might seem like a very complex management tactic, but the truth is that they are simple and easy to apply. Not only do they help organizations set clear goals, but they also help organizations measure those goals.
OKRs are a really great way of getting your team on track and aligning the work that they do with the organization’s overall objectives. Here’s how to introduce OKRs to your team in 4 simple steps.
Introduce them to the concept
Much like John Doerr was introduced to the concept of OKRs by Andy Grovel, your team needs an introduction to OKRs as well. If you want them to utilize it to its fullest potential, then it is important they know how it works. While there are a number of OKR guides out there, why not go to the one that is synonymous with the term OKRs.
Google has an OKR guide that will take users through history and set up and even teach them how to write actionable OKRs. Once they are familiar with the concept of OKRs, you can move onto the next step.
Establish the company’s objectives and your department goals
All goals need to be aligned with an organization’s goals. That is the true purpose of achievable goals and objectives. However, if your organization does not have its objectives visibly spelled out somewhere, how can you expect your team to have aligned goals? It is not a manager’s job to decide upon the organization’s objectives. But you can be sure that your senior leaders already have something in mind.
An organization’s objectives are usually similar to an organization’s vision and mission. But before you ask your team to start preparing their OKRs, establish your organization’s objectives and even more important, establish your team’s overall objectives!
It’s time for individual OKRs!
When your team is using OKRs for the first time, help them draft their OKRs. It would be good to have individual one on one meetings with them where you and your direct report can hash out their goals for the quarter, decide upon a goal setting software should they want to use one, decide upon targets, and set the cadence for how often they want to check-in on their goals, and most importantly how you want to track the OKR’s progress.
Additionally, OKRs should never be static. A static OKR is good for jobs which involve a great deal of routine. But for jobs that are dynamic, OKRs need to be fluid. Fluid OKRs give employees the freedom to course correct, to make use of new tools and opportunities and they allow managers the flexibility to shift targets as well.
Schedule Weekly/Bi-Weekly One on One Meetings
In addition to however your direct reports choose to check in on their OKRs, it is important to schedule short weekly or bi-weekly one on one meeting with them. This is not to just keep track of their progress. It is to also see how you can help them achieve their goals.
Maybe they are falling behind because they have other pressing projects to deal with. Or maybe they have already completed their goals and need more of a challenge? Either way, there is no way for a manager to know all of this only by looking at a goal, its description, and the progress bar.
Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.