Do you know what an OKR stands for? In this Expert Insight Interview, Roger Longden discusses the background and baseline of OKR – objectives and key results. Roger Longden is an OKR specialist, founder of a There Be Giants company, and an international speaker.
The interview discusses:
- The background of OKR
- Digital processes
- The need for agility
The beginnings of OKR start in Silicon Valley, with Intel being the first company to use the approach. This approach happened to arrive at the same time when people began to show dissatisfaction with the traditional way of measuring and managing performance. OKR was a solution to the need to respond and keep up with technology innovation at that time. OKR works the same way as agile project management, with the exception that OKR applies to the whole organization.
Nowadays, the external factor that accelerated the way how business processes work for around five years and encouraged innovation is Covid19. When a pandemic happened, companies that wanted to continue thriving had to digitalize their business processes and to emphasize agility. Many companies that work internationally shifted their work to online platforms. These companies also reported better quality of work and higher employee efficiency. Since even after the pandemic, many companies might decide to continue their work digitally, digital processes need systematization.
Considering the uncertainty that we live in today, companies should make only short-term plans and objectives. A company could set up a twelve months OKR, but it would be beneficial to reevaluate it every three months. Another thing that helps the company’s agility is to have a cross-functional team setting. Different teams within the company usually have their own objectives as budgets, so it would require quite a mindset shift as OKR needs to be on the team level. For example, the sales and product department share the same objective by wanting the product to be successful. OKR can serve as a spotlight, and it can connect all the departments in a large organization by leading them all to focus on the same goal for the next period.
Agile organizations need two aspects of evaluating performance. The first one is tactical, which includes targets, quotes, budgets, etc. The second, and usually overlooked one, is adaptive performance. The adaptive performance is crucial for true agility in the company. This measures how people respond to the setback or a failure and how they get back from it. It measures people’s ability to adapt and learn from different situations and how they apply that acquired knowledge in the future. And lastly, it measures people’s adaptivity to experiments.
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.