Are OKRs the Answer to Effective Strategy Execution?

Traditional strategy execution is obsolete. Now is the time for businesses to embrace OKRs to make their strategic goals happen.

Implementing a successful strategy is no longer just a case of preparing a detailed plan and then rolling it out between a defined start and end date. Business transformation is now continuous and accelerating and it is impacting every business, in every sector.

So has this constant state of transformation changed how business leaders execute company strategy? Sadly not, for many companies, it hasn’t changed things at all.

CEOs still embrace the annual strategy away day.  They cover lots of walls with multicoloured post-it notes. They return to work and communicate their thinking to everyone deemed not important enough to attend the strategy retreat. Top down. A waterfall approach to strategy implementation.

This approach has a number of drawbacks. Strategic goal setting is viewed as purely a management function with no bottom-up input. Financial information drives strategic thinking and KPIs are created for everything. Economic motivation is seen as the best way to gain company wide buy-in, with little concern about winning hearts and minds.

Responsibility for the delivery of the corporate goals is then delegated to people who have not played any role in setting them in the first place. No wonder survey after survey indicates that workers feel disengaged from their employers.

A recent Gallup poll revealed that only 11% of UK workers feel engaged at work. This clearly negatively impacts productivity and profits.

Considering this lack of engagement, it is unsurprising that the grand plans that were so carefully crafted during the away day fail to materialise. The essential tasks that were detailed in the plan get delayed or even ignored as business as usual slowly suffocates the new strategy.

There is a better way. A method that embraces change yet still keeps teams focussed, aligned and ambitious. If you haven’t considered them already, now is the time to look at OKRs. Objectives and key results, the strategy execution framework outlined in John Doerr’s book Measure What Matters and made popular by Google.

OKR is an agile strategy execution framework. When embedded successfully it provides everyone in the company with real time updates and regular feedback on how they are performing. It supports cross-functional teams and keeps everybody aligned to a common goal. People become motivated by working in an environment based on respect, trust and transparency, not just financial reward.

The need for relentless innovation is driving business transformation across all industries. OKRs ensure that continual change doesn’t derail an organisations short, medium and longterm goals by keeping people focused and aligned.

We discovered OKRs 3 years ago and it changed our business. Today, OKR projects are the only thing we do.

If you want to know more about OKRs then please visit our website or if you want to talk why not schedule an online meeting using the button on our contact page.