Part 3 of OKR-Misconceptions: Only Large Organizations can adopt OKRs

When we talk about OKRs, the first thing that we focus on is how the biggies of the world like Google, Amazon, Intel, Netflix etc have used OKRs and found success.

When we start with such big companies, somehow doubt creeps whether OKRs are only meant for companies with huge workforce and humongous revenue.

So even though a business owner with a mere 50 employee workforce is focused on what they want to achieve, they will still doubt if OKRs is the right method for them.

The doubt is not a bad thing as it leads to a better assessment of requirements and better decision making but whether their small workforce can employ OKRs and make it a success is the real question.

Well, the answer is yes. OKRs can be utilised to help in improving a company’s focus, align its goal in its entirety and also serve as an extremely effective tool for employee engagement.

Now the counter-question that arises is How OKRs facilitate that? 

The superpower of OKRs can be summed up in the simple acronym known as FACTS.

Let us take some simple examples to demonstrate each of the aspects of FACTS.

1) F for Focus 

After deciding to implement OKRs, the most important aspect that needs to be kept in mind is FOCUS. Why is it so important?

Well, when a company starts using OKRs they may want to achieve a lot of things, they may want to increase their brand value, their revenue, their global presence so on and in an attempt to do all those, they may set an unrealistic number of objectives and key results. Focusing helps them to prioritise what has to be done more than the others and for that setting up OKRs that should ideally be not more than 6.

2) A for Alignment 

OKRs help in aligning organizational objectives across teams and team objectives with its team members.

If the Objective of the organization is to increase revenue by 50% by the end of the quarter, then the teams will set objectives and key results such they are contributing to that objective.

For achieving such an objective the business development team may set key results like increasing deal value by 60%, increasing partner onboarding by 30%, etc. And individual team members can work towards achieving them as a team. Only then it will be a success.

3) C for Commitment  

Commitment is the foundation aspect of OKRs. Team members must be committed to achieving all the goals that have been agreed upon between them and the organization. For example- if it was decided to increase the partnership overseas by 60%, then all the team members must work to achieve that.

4) T for Tracking & Transparency  

One of the most crucial points of OKRs is transparency. In OKRs, each team member has clarity on what each of the other members is doing and how are they contributing towards the objective. There is no hiding or behind the back activities that take place.

Similarly tracking the goals to ensure no one is distracted from their actual path is necessary. This is the very reason why manageable key results are set.

Everyday tracking will lead to micromanagement, hence the check-ins on the goals can be scheduled at regular intervals. But for example, if an employee is consistently not showing good outcomes and the organization feels if they have more frequent interactions with their manager, they will do better, then special check-ins provision should also be there.

Giving and getting feedback from anyone across the organization for own self or for someone else should also be practised as it helps a lot in bringing up the overall performance levels.

5) S for Stretching  

As mentioned in our previous articles, OKRs are meant for setting stretch goals. It enables the employees to explore beyond their boundaries, beyond what they know they can achieve, thus helping them in their personal development.

To conclude, these aspects don’t require an organization to be humongous. A 50 employee organization that has the focus and determination to reach a dedicated place in a dedicated period of time, and doesn’t restrict their employees by just the goals that the authorities think are best, are the ones who should explore OKRs.

Any organization that follows a lot of top-down processes should not adopt OKRs as it hampers the creative freedom of the employees in setting their own goals and ultimately doesn’t do the organization any good.

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