OKRs – Don’t let your eagerness get the better of you

So you’re all fired up and ready to get going with Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) in your business.  

Great!  That book you’ve read, the video you’ve watched or great tip you’ve had convinced you they’re worth trying, especially as you could really use some focus in your teams.

So, how do you make sure that you don’t fall at the first hurdle?

Fully embracing OKRs can be transformative for a business but, like most change, they come with a few risks.  The first you will likely encounter is that you become disheartened with your initial attempt because it doesn’t go to plan and the transformation doesn’t arrive overnight.  It will take time for new routines and habits to bed in, for people to get comfortable with the increased accountability (and that it’s not going to be used to beat them up) and to set them with just the right level of challenge.

In the true spirit of OKRs, the right thing to do is learn and adapt for your next attempt. 

Did everyone achieve 100%?  In that case, they probably need to be a little more challenging

Did people not update on progress?  Chances are more work needs to be done to build OKR discussions into the regular weekly meetings (which you do have right?)

* Were people unsure where to focus their time?  Maybe you need to be a bit clearer on your priorities, perhaps even have less (but bigger) OKRs next time around?

* Maybe it was difficult to judge if some OKRs had been achieved?  Try sharpening upon how you define key results and make sure there’s a quantifiable (and relevant) measure in it.

Whatever you do, don’t let your eagerness let you get carried away.  Be realistic with your first attempt – keep it simple and keep it clear in what you are asking from your teams.  My tip would be to start people off with just one OKR, get them used to reviewing it, forecasting & scoring it and before you know it, they will be asking “why are we not using OKRs for all the other important stuff too?!”