Wondering if your company is OKR ready?

What is the best Implementation method for OKRs?

21 December, 2021
4 mins

So you’ve decided to steer your business with OKRs? Great decision! Now whether you’re excited or overwhelmed by getting implementation done, this blog is for you!

No doubt, OKRs are important for your company: if implemented well, they can accelerate the digital transformation of any organization. Objectives and Key Results reflect the Company’s vision and values in a broader picture and how well the employees are engaged with set priorities. 

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But, what is the best practice for companies to follow while getting the implementation done of the OKR system? Should it be cascaded top-down, horizontally, or vertically? 

If Industry stalwarts are to be believed, rushing with OKRs can be disastrous. A poorly implemented system, not one slows down the entire operation but also ends up creating chaos in the production and accountability.

This is why we’ll discuss the best implementation methodology for your Company in this piece. 

What should be the best Rollout process? 

Pilot with a small group or Company-Wide OKR? 

This is for you to decide. Based on the Company’s purpose and goals for OKRs, C-suite managers must figure out what works well for their organization. Some organizations find it easier to dip their feet into OKRs with a small team piloting the process, and gradually across the organization. However, others prefer to jump in full force with a company-wide implementation, to keep the entire organization on the same page from the beginning. 

OKRs inherently push the companies to strive further by skimping on the unnecessary things and focusing more on the high-impact objectives. Thus, both Pilot and company-wise OKRs will give you the benefits of focus, alignment, and commitment, but for how long, let’s find out. 

Gradual Rollout 

While rolling out the OKRs for the first time, companies may find it an alien concept-thus; they may feel hesitant in getting the implementation on a larger scale. For such companies who are larger than 100 employees and new to the concept, our suggestion goes with sticking to Pilot OKRs. In the OKR system wherein one team is chosen for this strategic initiative and then spread across departments, piloting is a great way to build OKR champions for applying OKRs within your organization. 

Company-Wide OKRs 

If your company is less than 100 people strong, then Company-wide OKRs may be best. A Framework wherein all the departments get acquainted with OKRs in one go gives fewer layers to work through and takes less time for rolling out the goal-setting framework within the organization. The primary benefit of bringing the whole Company together on the framework reflects better-aligned communication and team collaboration. When the whole Company comes on the same page, it increases employee engagement, giving them a sense of being valued by their managers.

Here are some tips on how to implement the OKR system successfully:

• Get Buy-ins from key stakeholders

While rolling out the OKR framework, it’s important to get the top-level management buy-in. For this, it’s really important to tell the top-level management how and why OKRs matter for your organization. Because companies that don’t have top-level management for OKRs, often tend to fail. Paying less importance to OKRs will lead to fewer check-ins, leading to the failure of the entire goal-setting framework. 

• Educate People about OKRs beforehand

Once you have the OKR buy-ins for everyone in the organization, the next step should be educating people about OKRs. This is the major pitfall on why companies remain on the backfoot while implementing the OKR structure. Since your people are new to the framework, they may find it an alien concept to adapt at first. Thus, it’s essential for employees to understand the nuances of goal setting as well as to be on the same page with managers. Conduct Workshops, Brainstorm on the idea of OKR implementation, and communicate more about OKRs to make things easier for them to adapt. 

• Focus on What matters the most

Focus plays the dual game when it comes to OKR implementation. If you set the focus right before implementing the OKRs, the focus will remain intact throughout the process of OKRs. For this, experts suggest prioritizing a few OKRs. For example, follow the rule of thumb. The goals-setting process of OKRs forces the upfront choice-making of what’s important in the time frame. OKR brings a handful of initiatives to the surface while deferring the less urgent ones.

Create three objectives per team and 3-4 critical results for each objective to leverage the strengths. Doing this will cut through the clutter, and your teams will be able to focus on what’s more important during the set period of time. 

• Conduct Regular Check-ins 

Creating OKRs leaving the check-ins for the next quarter will lead your OKR framework to fail- big time. Thus, once you have your high-priority goals and high-impact objectives in line, spend time conducting regular check-ins, say, once a week. 

Conducting the Check-ins will save your time and implementation practices and will also help you find the key learnings for the next OKR cycle.

• Be Patient with OKRs

OKRs do not guarantee overnight success. They take time. How much depends on how well you’ve curated the rollout plan of OKRs. Managers need to give OKRs some time in order to implement them effectively. It takes 2-3 quarters for companies to develop expertise in delivering the values they are seeking from the OKRs.

Final Take: 

Taking the key things into account can avoid making the OKR Implementation process cumbersome. If not given much focus, OKRs can turn into an incredibly daunting task for both managers and employees. However, JOP has got you covered. At JOP, we have experts w

ho understand that implementing OKRs needs a robust system to support growth, not merely as a goal-setting exercise that takes place four times a year.