3 Effective methods to disseminate OKR objectives within your organization

How to get teams to work together towards common and ambitious goals? How to keep all individuals motivated and agile at the same time?

More and more organisations find an answer to these questions thanks to the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) model; because it allows:

  • to link the strategic vision to concrete objectives and actions;
  • align teams on short and medium-term priorities;
  • to accelerate the pace of execution while allowing rapid adjustment of the direction.


From Google to Spotify, Renault to Veepee, the OKR model enables many organisations to harness the power of the collective to achieve big change.

Below, discover an excerpt from La Méthode OKR, Objectives & Key Results: le guide pratique. Written by Elie Casamitjana, Henri Sora, and Juuso Hämäläinen, this book gives the practical keys to effectively deploy the OKR method for more dynamism, efficiency, and agility!

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DIFFERENT WAYS TO PLAN OKR OBJECTIVES IN TEAMS

There are different ways to plan team-level goals. These methods depend on the level of autonomy and maturity of the teams, as well as the capacity of the organization to give them decision-making power. All methods are valid and the organization can choose another once it has become familiar with the OKR model, and the teams are encouraged to take more responsibility for defining their objectives.

There are roughly three ways to align team goals across the business:

  1. Objectives can be cascaded from the upper level (cascade).
  2. The teams adapt the objectives coming from above according to their activity (alignment).
  3. Teams add their own goals to those of top management.


Management must discuss and agree on the method it wants to use to define the objectives of the organization. It can also change over time depending on the maturity of the organization. Let's take a closer look at the different options.


1. GIVE TEAMS OKR GOALS

All teams that have shared OKRs can align on the feasibility of proposals and negotiate priorities they want and can commit to for the next quarter.

Once this is done, a week of vertical harmonization allows them to submit their proposal to management and obtain the possible necessary arbitrations. This week also allows the management to adapt the company OKRs on the basis of the consolidated proposals of the teams. After that, the achievement of quarterly goals can begin.

The Dalenys process is substantial, but in an organization of 200 people, it is still possible. The implementation of the OKR model was aimed at harmonizing all of the company's activities, so particular attention was paid to alignment.

The planning of objectives and key results has been integrated directly into the IT system so that everything is transparent for the organization. This allows teams to know the goals of other teams and therefore improve their alignment with each other when planning goals.


2. TRANSPOSE OKR OBJECTIVES TO THE TEAM LEVEL

The OKR model's approach to setting team goals is alignment. This means that the team carefully studies the objectives of the management and the objectives of the higher level before adapting them to their level according to their activity and its environment. The objectives are in line with those of the higher level, but what the team actually does to achieve the general objectives is defined by the team itself. She is responsible for resources and implementation.

This is what gives the OKR model its harmonizing power. The team does not ignore or change the objectives, it adapts them or transposes them to its activity. And the fact of being able to determine which results and which missions are essential for the team produces meaning and invites commitment and autonomy.

Depending on the organization and the interdependencies between teams, the alignment of objectives can also come from the top. This means that some team goals can flow from the goals of other teams at the same level in the organization. A team can freely take advantage of the objectives of another if they correspond to its activity. The alignment can therefore be done from above or laterally. (…)

OKRs work both ways. When teams adopt top management goals into their own goals, they may also come up with entirely new goals, suggest changes in wording, demand that more ambitious targets be set, or provide management with a wealth of information about goals. This leads to discussions that allow each person to better understand the strategy, objectives, and implementation.


3. TEAMS ADD GOALS

(…) As understanding of the OKR model grows, understanding of strategic goals and the impact of their own initiatives increases, and teams can then begin to come up with their own goals, both bold and aligned with the strategic targets.

Adding objectives means that management communicates strategy and annual objectives to the organization; the teams then define and propose their objectives. If they are in line with the strategy, we can get to work.

There may be rules regarding adding goals. Here are a few:

  • All goals should flow from the top level.
  • One of five goals can be set by the team.
  • Half of the objectives can be proposed by the team.
  • All goals are set by the team.


In most cases, teams end up with a mix, where some goals are derived specifically from higher-level goals and others are unique to the team. Teams often have particular activities in their day-to-day work that are very important to the health and growth of the business but are not reflected in strategic goals. This is why you should always listen carefully to the suggestions of your team. (…)


THE PATTERN SPREADS THROUGH THE ORGANIZATION

Often, when deploying the OKR model, management plays a bigger role in setting goals. The number of team-specific goals and autonomy increases with understanding of the model and improving skills. Trust in teams to set their own goals increases with time and experience.

When implementing the OKR model, there must be an agreement on how the objectives are shared and defined in the organization. Each organization is unique, so adaptation is always necessary. An organization's maturity and how quickly it changes varies, so the goal management model can also change as issues evolve.

Our experts Elie Casamitjana and Henri Sora together with Juusso Hämäläinen share their experience with OKR through the books La Methode OKR. The above is a translation of this content.


Remember, it's never too late to embrace change and unleash the true potential of your organization. Take the first step today with OKRs.