An Executive Primer on Performance and Engagement through OKRs

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Why OKRs improve Performance and Engagement.

The principal benefits of OKRs are:

  1. Better objectives – well-considered, aligned and documented succinctly. 
  2. Extreme focus on what matters or will make a measurable difference.
  3. Measurable results to show the success of objectives and individuals.
  4. Structured, repeatable management process
  5. Accelerated personal learning and continuous performance management.
  6. Increased engagement at the same time as performance.

However, Executives need to understand that effective OKR use is one of the most fundamental company improvements they will ever undertake.  The rewards are high.  The skills and commitment to master OKRs are also high.

Foundational Best Practices

 A few foundational best practices include:

  1. All executives and managers own personal OKRs.
  2. Multiple people do not own OKRs, although high-level OKRs cascade down from the CEO to the rest of the organization.
  3. Monthly “OKR Review” days are the most critical days in the company.  If you do not have a highly effective review OKR review day, OKR progress will be substandard.
  4. Successful teams commit to running the company through OKRs and tie management cadence, 1:1s, performance management, and training and development to OKRs.
  5. Scoring OKRs, and documenting the learning and adjustments are a mid-term success.  When you can do that accurately and meaningfully, you are 50% of the way there.

Questions to Ask Your People in Management Meetings and 1:1s

Questions to ask your people about the last OKR period are:

  1. What was your previous score on your (top priority) OKRs?
  2. What were your (documented!) learning and adjustments?
  3. How will I see that reflected in this month’s OKRs?

Questions to ask your people about the current OKR period are:

  1. What’s your current score on your (top priority) OKRs?
  2. Where will you be by the OKR review?  
  3. How are you adjusting or prioritizing to improve that score?

Related Resources

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