It's natural that any company in a specific stage would face one of the biggest challenges to "cross the chasm" that can be slowed down while having this great ambition to scale & grow. One day in the fall of 2018, while we were around 15 xTalents, I remember discussing in one of xHub Board meeting about how can we keep the focus about our vision & purpose while scalling up corporate & business goals. and then the magic came from our CSO : "How about using OKR as our goal-setting system?" and I was like "OK....what?"
Their initial search for a solution began when their company started to grow in size. They felt they were beginning to lose focus on their goals, so they began to look for a better way to manage their quarterly goals and align their weekly activities.
Let's discover the magical effect of OKR as a goal-setting system
1- What is OKR ?
« OKR » or Objectives and Key Results is an agile goal-setting framework based on defining objectives & keep tracking growth progress, taking the right decisions at the right time based on data driven result. The benefit of the framework is to keep all teams focused & aligned, to measure what really matters & keep tracking it frequently.
The framework includes a number of rules which help employees prioritize, align, focus and measure the outcome of the work they do. OKR helps entire companies communicate strategy to team members in an actionable, measurable way. It also helps to move from an output to an outcome-based approach to work.
2- OKR history:
Over time, many goal setting systems has been launched. the idea is how to manage business by focusing on tangible objectives?
Today, the list of the companies that use OKR includes: Amazon, Intel, Google, LinkedIn, Trello, Twitter, Oracle, Uber... & proudly xHub since 2018 ;)
Here is a rare video of Andy Grove, the "father of OKR" explaining to his team about the theory:
3- What are OKRs components?
OKR’s components are :Objective & key results
Objective is a clearly defined goal, it's the strategic direction we want to go in together. It has to be ambitious, inspiring, challenging & emotionally engaging. they also must not contain numbers, they are general ideas. Key Results will in turn make these ideas land in the world of results.
b. Key results
Key results are simply the result or the level we want to reach to acheive the linked objective, it cannot be a routine activities, it must be quantified result, it's an outcome.In "Engagement circle" one of the most difficulties i personally have faced using OKRs methodology is defining KR as activities rather than outcomes
4- OKR real benefits:
Those are the real benefits of the magic power of OKRs. Let's make one thing clear before talking about magic, this is what benefits we have got after more than year implementing OKR methodology.
5- OKR lifecycle & cadence:
First & before defining any goals, OKR requires having a clear vision, mission & also a company culture that match with OKRs framework purpose, without that, you will be just like going to nowhere direction.
We used -as recommended in the OKR framework- to define company level OKR, then circle- individuals teams together
- Strategic cadence with high level OKR related to the business : it's the company level that we define once a year based on the company vision
- Tactical & operational cadence with short term OKR for circle & individuals: this is elaborated quarterely with a frequent check in to track results at least once a month.
If you want to learn more about how to implement & set OKRs successufly, please check my blog about it
6- OKR visual board :
Today, i'm in love with that simple framework that turns individuals, teams, & company performance while adapting, breaking silos between the other circles & engaging team more & more with a great autonomy.
My effective personal OKR journey started in 2019, today i'ù recognized as "OKR certified professional", the certification means nothing to me as a paper but the most important things is that i've learned too many important things & i'm today keen on this amazing & simple methodology. I'm still proud that the team i'm leading (Engagement circle) was one of the early adopter & beleiver in xHub company, & today , again we're the first circle having a visual board about Engagement Circle OKR for a frequent tracking & progress updating , reminding of course the company ones.
So how to set, define & implement successfly OKRs methodology? to answer that, please check my blog mentionning some few steps we followed to do that ;) : "Key lessons I've learned about implementing & setting OKR"