Using OKRs to Unleash the Power of Your People

Business leaders across the world have woken up to the power of OKRs – Objectives and Key Results.  At Auxin OKR, we have seen a sharp rise in enquiries from businesses seeking advice about OKRs since John Doerr launched his book, Measure What Matters in 2017. 

In his book, Doerr refers extensively to another three letter acronym, which has generated less attention but is equally important. CFRs – Conversations, Feedback and Recognition. It is the conversations that OKRs stimulate that make them transformative. Couple this with honest feedback and authentic recognition of tasks people are accomplishing on a daily basis and CFRs become the key to unlocking the power of OKRs.

If you’ve read Work Rules by Laszlo Bock (Ex Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google), you will recall he talks about how OKRs impacted the HR department during his time at Google. Seems every business guru needs to coin their own TLA and Lazlo is no exception. He talks passionately in the book about M-T-V. Mission -Transparency -Voice.

Peoples hands coming together to show teamwork

MTV shapes how Googlers interact with OKRs within the company. Understanding the mission, seeing how every department connects through transparent communications empowers people to voice their concerns and ideas. This open approach to managing people was vital to OKR success within the search giant.

Annual appraisals will gradually become less important, as more and more companies shift to providing feedback continuously. This is a perfect environment for OKRs to become embedded. It also reduces the temptation for employees to game the system by putting in a big effort one quarter before appraisal time. This behaviour is inevitable if reviews are directly connected to compensation.

Instead, of administering and facilitating staff appraisals, the HR team of tomorrow will be faced with different challenges. They will have to develop new internal training programmes and create their own CFR guidelines and best practice documents to sit alongside their OKR knowledge base. 

What might this involve? Well, it could include training staff to deliver constructive criticism or guidance on how to communicate meaningful praise. These are the skills that progressive human resource professionals will become increasingly familiar with. 

OKRs are a fantastic way to introduce agile management practices into any organisation that wants to achieve ambitious strategic goals. In an increasingly knowledge-based economy, motivated individuals are essential to making this happen.

CFRs encourage people to think about how the work they do, impacts on the success of others. Creating an OKR culture within an organisation only comes from people talking to one another and buying into the overall vision of the organisation. Google equate it to behaving like a founder.

This focus empowers people to act autonomously whilst also making sure their actions are aligned to the vision of the business. 

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