5 Reasons Your OKR Check-ins Are Ineffective

OKR Check-ins

You might argue that OKR check-ins are a waste of time if you are not seeing any improvement in the team’s progress. You may follow the advice of OKR coaches or read about the correct ways to conduct check-ins. Books and coaches will only tell you so much.

How often you should do check-ins and how you do it depends on many factors. You must remember that organizational operations at your place, the managers, the level of communication, and the work culture are different at your business. 

Let’s see some aspects of working that might affect the smooth implementation of the OKR framework and check-ins.

OKR Check-ins

Five reasons that can lead to ineffective OKR check-ins


1. No commitment from the top

Your people will not adopt and believe in the OKRs if you don’t commit to them. It’s easy to pay for OKR management software and tell the managers to implement the framework but would your employees care about that? Probably not.

Your people cannot figure it out, especially a new methodology that can impact their work. This lack of awareness can lead people to work with their respective versions and not align with each other and the business goals. Another thing that can make things chaotic is implementing OKRs abruptly in the whole organization. You must take it slow and consult with other leaders to make the implementation smoother.

When leaders practice what they preach, a team gets influenced and understands the purpose behind using any new framework. You have to be a role model for them. The best way to do the former is to own OKRs and get involved with the team during the check-ins. Show them that you care about your progress and are making efforts to achieve your KRs.

2. Not having OKR champions.

OKR champions are people within the organization that understand OKRs very well and help others to understand and implement them effectively.

You can introduce the new methodology to your employees and even conduct some presentations, but it’s too easy to forget the story and go busy with the usual business.  

What would you do when you start a check-in, and some professionals have no idea what you are talking about? It’s disappointing, right?

You cannot fix this alone, but you can delegate the responsibility to implement the OKR framework across the whole organization effectively. That’s where the OKR champions will come in handy.

3. Not using OKR management software

Not using purchased software is not a problem in a few organizations. A lot of companies struggle to manage the usage of operational and functional tools. On top of that, people don’t engage in regular team meetings.

Adopting another tool is hard when employees are already busy with other workplace tools. Managers don’t mind telling their teams to do everything they can on spreadsheets, but you know how messy handling the sheets can get.

95% of the employees say that using better software would make them more productive.

There are tools and software in the market that combine several functions in one place. For example, you can manage OKRs, and performance, monitor progress, conduct check-ins, share files, collaborate on projects, send emails, etc., on one OKR software platform.

4. Setting over-ambitious goals and copying others

You cannot execute something you just read in a book or when your competitor is also doing the same thing. Why? Your business and the team are different. You tend to wander and keep changing the strategy when you seek too many suggestions and advice. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of too much knowledge. The Internet is full of theories and a variety of opinions about OKRs. When you set the wrong expectations, your employees lose engagement at work.

Don’t copy OKRs from an unreliable source. Keep the goals and objectives realistic. The real impact happens when you experiment and learn from your failures. Get the coaching if needed but always follow the right approach toward understanding and implementing this framework.

5. Not having regular check-ins

Many companies don’t understand the importance of routine in using the OKR framework. They get convinced that it can help them manage their work and people better but fail to implement the system. 

Many organizations are still lagging in making things more active in the workplace. For example, many companies still review employee performance yearly. OKRs, also have a cycle you must follow to make them work effectively. Ideally, organizations should revise their OKRs quarterly. 

Moreover, if you fail to review the OKRs progress periodically, there is no way your people could achieve the objectives. Weekly check-ins are a mirror in which your team can see their progress bar.

An impactful method is to conduct weekly team check-ins where you fix the, agenda and time. Ensure that team members note down takeaways from the meeting to execute the required actions.

Now we cannot sit in the OKR check-ins with you, but we have the expertise to help you figure out effective goals-based strategy execution practices; reach out to us to learn this in detail.


  • How to teach the team about the OKRs?

The best way to implement OKRs at work is to practice the methodology. It’s also not feasible to train a large group of people simultaneously, so companies should have OKR champions that train and mentor employees.

For smaller teams, you can take help from an OKR coach that helps establish and implement OKRs initially. It’s easier for the group to sit together in one place and learn about OKRs.

  • How to identify goals that are overstretched?

Some companies use stretch goals to motivate employees toward ambitious goals. Stretch goals require people to make more effort than their existing work. Overstretched goals are more towards the unrealistic side.

Sometimes you can just take a look and tell that a goal is overstretched. For example, a high traffic conversation rate of 50% on a website is highly overstretched. You can take the help of an OKR coach or an experienced leader to identify these types of incorrect goals.

On the other hand, there are goals and objectives that seem realistic, but a team is not in the situation or capable enough to achieve them at that time. A team can set these goals thinking ambitiously but later find out that the goals are overambitious.

  • What are some tips for conducting better check-ins?

Effective communication is a key driver for any collaboration and optimizing individual performance. Apart from these, the following tips can help you conduct better check-ins:

  • Set the right cadence for the check-ins based on the department, communication between the team, seasonal needs, etc.
  • Have informal discussions before the check-ins so that the data is correct
  • Update all the data on progress and key results before check-ins
  • Correct wrong KRs and actions as soon as you identify them
  • Discuss the strategy and plans with your manager or team leader when you lag on your KRs.
author img

Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

Author Bio

You may also like