Most of us panic when business is going through its low. Leaders must take most of the pressure of the hard times. They have the urgency to do something about the situation, make a plan to assess the circumstances, and execute relevant solutions.
At the same time, leaders need to manage the anxiety of their people. It becomes challenging to figure out what matters for the business and what should be their next step.
In these times, you need a strategy that is quick to implement, simple to understand, right on point, and easy to track. It’s easy for a small team to pivot and change its course, but you need greater alignment between team members for a larger team.
It seems impossible, but Intel came out of a crisis (losing market share) with the help of OKRs. They were using the OKR framework for a while, brought into implementation by Andy Grove. The Intel team regained its market share by working as a whole unit. They succeeded because they combined OKRs with quick and effective strategy execution.
How can the OKR framework support businesses in crisis?
The OKR framework does not work separately from a business, like a tool. It only shows results when you align it well with your business strategy. You have to consider all the aspects of your business, much like a SWOT analysis but more than that. This framework will help you better manage your business and people, and other operations, such as legal and accounts, will go on as usual.
Helps establish what matters
When you’re in a crisis, clarity is more important than ever. When you stand in front of the stakeholders, you must have a clear way of thinking or laying out a rescue plan.
The OKR framework is designed to focus on business priorities and critical goals. It’s like picking the most impactful business outcomes that will make the company sustainable. The best part is everyone a part of this methodology, and they can all see each other’s goals at any time.
OKRs is not just a methodology. It’s also a way to define your work culture. It brings people together by showing them shared goals.
Bringing everyone on the same page
When everyone is in panic, it becomes very important to get out of the chaos and bring order to the organization. The crisis also affects employees’ day-to-day tasks because they don’t know what will come next.
Along with clarity, your organization needs that alignment and calming vision. OKRs are not just some focus goals that a leader decides on and implements top-down. It’s a mixture of top-down and bottom-down objectives. You set the top-line objectives and allow employees to align their OKRs and work with them.
When people have OKRs guiding them in the dark, they can execute the strategies efficiently.
Faster and better strategy execution
In a crisis, you cannot be slow and ignorant because it will only worsen matters. You also cannot act haphazardly and do things that don’t matter. You gather experienced leaders, devise your OKRs based on the business situation, and then get in action.
Your critical business operations go on, but the situation-changing action comes through proper strategy execution. OKRs are pretty simple to understand and describe clearly what needs to be done. They can also support the quick execution of strategy. Even larger teams can bring alignment faster in their organization.
You can even implement OKRs for a month. This shorter cycle can help you experiment and innovate. Moreover, your people can see their and everyone’s OKRs at any time.
OKRs are based on a transparent system. No matter what team uses them, they have to be public. This level of transparency brings accountability to the organization.
During the crisis, all your stakeholders must be on the OKR management platform; they need to know what steps you are taking to drive the company away from the crisis.
Apart from the above, transparency enables people to seek help from each other and collaborate actively.
Facilitating innovation and agile collaboration
OKRs are not just simple goals on the record. They are stretched (harder to achieve). They can help you get out of your comfort zone and achieve things that can take you out of the crisis. For example, setting an ambitious organizational objective that connects two departments will make them collaborate and brainstorm on the tasks.
Motivating and engaging employees
In a crisis, some people lose hope and quit, some get anxious, and some just get laid off. It’s a difficult time, as the future looks blurry, and livelihoods are at stake.
OKRs bring clarity, focus, and shared goals among these people. When people start to believe that they are working on the things that can get them out of the crisis, it gives them some confidence. It also helps the team to stick together and be more engaged at work.
Do better than the competition
Sometimes a crisis is brought upon by the losing market share. This happened with Intel, and they outperformed their competition at that time.
Intel had many advantages already; they had quite open and responsive management, effective communication, and engaged employees. But they still used OKRs to set ambitious goals with OKRs and were able to achieve more market share in the end. This was Operation Crush.
It is not easy to figure out business goals and strategies in the early stage and times of crisis. In these times, all you think about is growth and sustainability.
If you want help in outlining a business strategy aligned with OKRs, reach out to us by getting on a free discussion call.
1. What are the main steps to follow during a business crisis?
Crises in business do not happen overnight unless a major disease outbreaks. Here are the basic steps to follow:
- Try to know the root cause of the problems
- Communicate it to the stakeholders, and all the leaders
- Disclose it to the employees
- Start preparing a plan by discussing it well with all the leaders
- Take relevant actions and allow opinions from junior-level employees
2. What is a good example of effective crisis management?
British Airways lost the data of thousands of customers in 2018.
The company knew it was their fault for security. They did not make excuses and blamed it on the attackers. The Information Commissioner’s office fined them a hefty penalty of 29 million euros in 2020.