The Objectives and Key Results (OKR) approach to goal setting has been used by many big players in the tech industry and beyond. Its effectiveness incited a spreading like a wildfire across the entire business landscape. Those companies who have decided to adopt the OKR approach have seen unprecedented growth and continue to do so. But for OKR to be successful, you need to set up clear communication lines in your company.
Setting Up Open Communications
Open communication is something that a lot of companies fail to execute. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it does come with a certain set of challenges, especially for bigger companies. Utilising OKRs actually makes it easier to set up open communications with the entire company as it aims to connect company, team, and personal objectives in a hierarchical way.
Communicating For Key Results
Suppose you were successful in setting up internal communications in your company effectively. What comes next? Part of the growing pains of companies undergoing a switch to the OKR approach is the rise of new challenges. One such challenge is asking for “OKR updates” when you’re asking for an administrative task to be completed. Rather than dumbing down the request to administrivia, frame what you and the team really want. Consider these four ways to reframe your request and re-invite your team to achieve its best:
1. The team actually wants to achieve its Key Results
The objectives and key results approach compels you to define the kind of results you want collectively as a team. You need to tap into that shared intention in order for your team to achieve great things together. Remember, results management is not about what kind of results you were able to produce—it’s how you achieved it. As the leader, you need to drive the attention of your team to the things that matter.
2. Calibrate on Monday, then celebrate on Friday
You’ve already set your goals, and you know you have a long way to go to achieve them. Let’s say it’s only Monday, and you’ll need to use the next five days in smarter ways once you know your goals at the start of the week. That’s why starting the week with a quick calibration session on the Key Results you’re aiming for is essential. A clear timeline helps everyone manage their workload throughout the week and avoid last-minute cramming.
3. Transparency requires a team effort
Transparency helps teams quickly and efficiently allocate resources, communicate risks, and work as a unit. It doesn’t serve you well if one member of the team withholds status. It only forces everyone to work with less data, which degrades their decisions, ultimately slowing everyone down. Maintain transparency if you want to achieve your results quickly and efficiently.
4. Don’t be afraid; lean into the red!
When teams meet weekly, there is always a temptation to focus only on the key results in the green because they are on track for success, unlike their counterparts in the red. However, delaying the discussion of your KRs in the red will leave you barely enough time to address the issues most in need of attention effectively.
Don’t be afraid to discuss those KRs in red, as doing so will help you address them and eventually pull them back into the green. In fact, a lack of red KRs indicates that your team is merely playing safe, which is still a bad thing. Lean into your red KRs and work together to improve them.
These simple ways of communicating your KR results will help your team better understand the importance of doing their part to achieve the desired results. Even the most mundane tasks will help you gain a few steps closer to your goals.
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