Many companies struggle to achieve their goals. Look at your company. How many goals did your team achieve for your organization? The situation is such that employees are not even aware of their main organizational priorities and goals.
Only 51% of organizations try to establish business-aligned goals and objectives.
The lack of alignment between the organizational goals and business strategy execution is one of the critical reasons for slow organizational growth. Even if the leaders design a properly aligned set of business objectives, they fail to align the team members to these objectives. They don’t invest enough effort to follow practices that facilitate bottom-down initiatives to align with the top-level business goals.
Many leaders know about the OKR framework. They learn about them but fail to understand the effective methods to implement them in their companies successfully. Any company’s OKRs are unique to them. There is no standard playbook you can use. This article aims to solve the problem of lack of alignment in a company using OKRs.
Staying relevant to the business when using the OKR framework
The best way to start using the OKR framework for your organization is to ask the right questions. Brainstorm and discuss with other leaders about your business’s situation and vision.
Be specific and clear.
In most organizations, employees don’t even know their top-level business goals, let alone align their work with those goals. You must carefully establish goals to ensure better alignment and impactful actions.
Analyze your business and keep the missions, values, and vision in mind. Involve leaders and managers in the goal-setting process. OKRs should be specific and measurable, with clear and quantifiable key results.
Connect the OKRs with what matters for your business
You don’t create goals that you feel are necessary for your company. This is the mistake many leaders make. They set irrelevant goals and keep working on them the whole time. In the end, it’s the same result – unachieved objectives.
Align goals with the organization’s overall strategy and vision to ensure that they contribute to the organization’s long-term success. You should address the real needs or challenges the company is facing. This will help ensure that you are working on important things that will have a meaningful impact. Set deadlines for these objectives and communicate the decided goals to each employee.
Using the bottom-up approach for goals-setting
In many organizations, leaders roll out top-down cascading OKRs for the whole organization. This practice is a big barrier to innovation, collaboration, and alignment of employees’ day-to-day work with the business.
The most meaningful method is to mix top-down and bottom-down KRs. Employees can make their efforts more relevant when they set their KRs and align with the organization and other departments.
The OKRs truly work when they are displayed openly for everyone to see. Transparency and continuous team meetings help people to align their strategy and individual goals to the top-level objectives. A junior employee can see the CEO’s KRs and learn to set relevant KRs of his own.
Set aspirational yet realistic goals
Goals are useless if they demotivate people. Setting unrealistic goals can cause the team to lose hope and disengage from their work. OKRs should be challenging but realistic, as this can help to motivate and focus efforts.
You must know the difference between two types of goals – committed and aspirational. Committed goals are 100% achievable, whereas aspirational ones are stretched goals, and a 40-70% achievement is appreciated. Make people believe that aspirational goals are achievable.
Don’t overdo the number of OKRs
This whole framework is based on the human tendency to achieve more with less. A higher number of OKRs don’t help and have a counter-productive effect. Too many goals don’t allow people to focus, and tracking progress is hard. Moreover, if you continue to do this, you may lead your people to burnout.
Measure what matters for the KRs
This is an easy mistake for companies new to the OKR framework. Leaders often fail to realize that the company’s KRs don’t fulfill the business value. Take some time and carefully select the right metrics to measure.
Identify the right metrics that drive growth for your business. Consider the needs of all the stakeholders in the business – customers, employees, and investors. Ensure the metrics are easy to understand and measurable.
Track progress and conduct bidirectional conversations
Regularly track progress toward achieving OKRs and provide feedback to employees to help them stay on track and adjust their efforts as needed. Check-ins are the best to align the team and check progress.
Revisiting goals and alignment
You should review goals and adjust them to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with the organization’s needs. You can do a quick review each day with OKR management software. See if you are progressing on the KRs and how your teammates are doing. If you feel a KR is irrelevant, you can raise your concerns at the regular check-ins.
Check-ins are regular meetings held routinely. You do these meetings to review progress, identify roadblocks, and do problem-solving.
Facilitating cross-functional collaboration
Active collaboration is a powerful tool for any organization looking to kill silos and achieve swift growth. ORKs naturally boost cross-functional collaboration by providing shared accountability to employees.
When people interact actively, they get the work done quickly and efficiently, solve problems in their progress, and correct their course. These interactions can also help them find any red flags among their OKRs.
Score your KRs and reflect on the performance
It’s a fruitful practice to reflect upon your performance at the end of a goals-setting cycle. The contributors should score their KRs based on achievement percentage and the quality of their work.
This is a form of self-assessment to analyze individual performance. This exercise is a good way to learn better decision-making and to create better business-aligned goals for themselves.
We can help you create business-relevant OKRs to better align your people with your company. Talk to our OKR experts to learn how we do this.
1. Are OKRs SMART goals?
Yes, OKRs fulfill every aspect of the SMART goals. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
2. How can I differentiate between KPIs and KRs when creating OKRs?
You must be familiar with KPIs. You use KPIs to measure the performance of an individual, organization, or department.
KRs are specific, measurable outcomes used to measure progress toward a related objective in the OKR framework. Talk to our OKR experts to relate it to your organization or teams.