How to Transform Managers Into OKR Champions?

Manager to OKR Champion

When you don’t establish goals in your organization, people don’t have a clue about what they need to achieve and how. Goals are like a guiding light in the darkness. A goals framework helps companies compete with their rivals in the fast-paced business world.

Does your company have a system to manage and monitor goals and objectives? If yes, then how are you implementing them across the departments and teams?

The OKR framework is not new to the leaders, and it may seem easy for them to implement it. They may buy OKR management software and conduct workshops for employee training, but it’s not the right way to execute this framework, especially in large organizations.

Manager to OKR Champion

Source: Pexels

Read on to see how delegating the OKR implementation responsibility to the managers in different teams can work effectively.

Who are OKR champions, and what’s their role?

OKR champion is the name given to individuals in your company that behave like OKR coaches and guide the team to implement the framework successfully. The senior leaders and management choose these champions, so you know how important it is for the senior leaders and CEOs to understand and commit to the OKR methodology.

Let’s see what their roles and responsibilities include

  • Be the go-to person for anything linked to OKR Software.
  • Ensuring every team member understands the concept and implementation process.
  • Driving the smooth rollout and adoption of the OKR framework among their team or department.
  • Training the team to work with OKRs and integrate it into their job role.
  • Ensuring the OKRs stay accurate and helping the team to identify their mistakes.
  • Being accountable and promoting accountability among the group.
  • Ensuring that team understands the importance of regular check-ins.

How should you train the managers to be OKR champions?

Senior management chooses the OKR champions based on their skills and relationship with the team. Here are steps you can use to choose and train managers to be OKR champions:

1. Choosing the individual OKR champions

Senior management usually appoints employees who have some authority over a group and can communicate effectively with people. Good soft skills are a great plus point in a champion. Some other attributes that you should consider are:

  • Passion towards OKRs
  • Understand the employee-level work well
  • Experience in strategy execution
  • Proficient in using business software and tools
  • Patient and have solid relationships with team members
  • Influential mentors

2. Coaching about OKRs

This step is crucial to ensure you implement OKRs effectively throughout the organization. When you have chosen your OKR champion candidates, let them read the theories and related principles. An excellent book to start with is ‘Measure What Matters’ by John Doerr. Don’t take too much time, but let them grasp the fundamentals.

For the next step, you should take help from an internal or external coach. You might want to skip this part and jump straight to OKR implementation, but you must know that choosing the wrong OKRs will make the whole point of using them meaningless.

You need a Coach who is experienced in helping organizations establish OKRs and designing business strategies around them. It’s an excellent investment for the long term because, after training, you would have your in-house OKR champions. 

The OKR coaching covers everything about the business. The training workshop should include the top leaders and champion candidates so your manager can link the OKR framework with business strategies and priorities. Coaches spend sufficient time laying out the company vision, mission, goals, priorities, strategies, SWOT analysis, etc.

The training should cover all the essential questions, like

  • Why should you use OKRs?
  • Which teams and departments will be using OKRs?
  • How to keep the score of the KRs?
  • How will the teams review performance?
  • What are the precautions for setting OKRs?

Near the end of the training, your OKR champions have to set company and team-level OKRs with the help of the Coach.

3. Establishing the company and team-level OKRs

With the help of other leaders and champions, you brainstorm the short- and long-term organizational goals based on the current business situation and aspirations. Beware of using the copy-paste method in the OKR setting process, every business is different, and yours, too, needs careful planning.

You should ideally assign 3-5 objectives (with 3 KRs each) for the organizational level OKRs. For team-level OKRs, refer to the former set of goals and align team-wise OKRs by having discussions with team leaders. The Coach’s role is essential here as they will point out mistakes and significant flaws in the process and plan. Champions should carefully note down all the major points here.

4. Implementing the OKRs

This training phase is where the Champion’s skills and understanding of OKRs are tested. The Champions will make sure the OKRs are executed in the right way by following the team closely.

You can go straightway to an OKR software platform if you are sure that the platform fulfills all the OKR management needs. The OKR Champions ensure that people get onboarded smoothly and trained to use the software effectively. 

Other responsibilities of the OKR champion here include

  • Smooth onboarding and updating of OKRs.
  • Provide all the learning resources.
  • Train the team to make the most out of the software.
  • Coaching the new employees
  • Helping people to understand their roles and purpose for using OKRs.

Now finding the right OKR management software and Coach can be hard, so we have solved this problem by combining both at JOP. Get in touch with us to know how we do this.


  • How many OKR champions do you need?

A good rule of thumb is to allocate one OKR Champion for every 15-50 individuals in your organization. 

  • How long does it take to make a manager OKR champion?

From the start of the training to implementing OKRs among a team, it can take around a few weeks to make the manager capable of becoming an OKR champion.

They learn about OKRs through teaching sessions and then discuss the business strategy with the leaders and team to finalize OKRs.

After the initial implementation, Champions are expected to lead the OKR framework in that organization from the next cycle.

  • What are some helpful training resources for OKR champions?

The best way for managers to learn OKRs is to have hands-on experience in knowing the business strategy, goals, and priorities and then sitting with the leaders to brainstorm and establish OKRs for the organization and teams.

Helpful resources in the above can be – the OKR coach’s training materials and books like Measure What Matters by John Doerr.

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