In March 2023, a groundbreaking survey conducted by OKRmentors & Quantive delved into the minds of close to 500 leaders to unravel the enigma of successful strategy execution. The findings, compiled in The Global State of OKRs, provide profound insights for leaders and strategic execution professionals. In this article, we explore a crucial element for achieving strategy execution mastery: the rhythm of execution. Discover how setting the right time frame for your OKRs and tracking progress with regular check-ins can transform your organization's performance.
Setting the Right Time Frame for OKRs
When it comes to the cadence of setting, executing, and evaluating OKRs, our survey revealed interesting insights. Over half of organizations (51%) adopt a quarterly OKR cycle, while a significant number (27%) establish OKRs annually. This trend holds true across countries and industries, but there are notable differences based on company size. Smaller organizations tend to have more frequent OKR cycles, with 56% of companies with less than 1,000 employees opting for quarterly cycles compared to 20% using an annual cycle. Among companies with more than 1,000 employees, 41-49% use quarterly cycles, while 32-39% prefer annual cycles.
What Overachievers Do
Overachievers understand the power of a quarterly rhythm, with 71% of them setting their OKRs on a quarterly basis. This is 1.5 times higher than their beginner counterparts.
The timeline you choose to measure your OKRs plays a vital role in your success. Quarterly OKR cycles offer the opportunity to adjust your strategic execution four times a year, striking a favorable balance between monthly cycles that can be too short and annual cycles that may feel disconnected from day-to-day operations. Some organizations leverage multiple OKR cycles simultaneously, combining an annual cycle for high-level objectives with quarterly cycles for more tactical goals at the team level.
Tracking OKR Progress
We also explored how often organizations review their OKRs to evaluate progress. The results showed that 37% conduct quarterly reviews, 28% review monthly, and 10% review weekly. Although the trend remains consistent across industries and company sizes, there are geographic variations, with countries in the "Rest of Europe" segment more likely to review OKRs monthly (41%) than quarterly (33%).
What Overachievers Do
Overachievers prioritize frequent OKR check-ins. An impressive 57% of them review their OKRs monthly or even weekly, with 33% opting for weekly check-ins. This is 4.7 times higher than beginners.
The OKR check-in is a vital yet often overlooked practice for OKR success. Regular touchpoints help teams keep OKRs top-of-mind in their day-to-day operations. Weekly check-ins provide dedicated time for discussions on progress, enabling meaningful dialogue, alignment, and continuous improvement. By engaging in weekly check-ins, you unlock 52 opportunities to enhance collaboration, challenge assumptions, and elevate your strategic execution game.
We recommend adopting a hybrid approach that aligns long-term objectives to an annual cycle while tracking key results on a quarterly basis. This ensures progress towards overarching goals while maintaining focus on short-term achievements. Additionally, holding OKR check-ins as frequently as possible, ideally on a weekly basis, can be seamlessly integrated into existing team meetings, requiring just 10 to 15 minutes to effectively communicate updates and foster engagement.
Achieving strategy execution mastery requires establishing the right rhythm. By embracing the power of quarterly OKR cycles and implementing regular check-ins, your organization can unlock its full potential. At OKRmentors, our collective of experts is dedicated to helping organizations become OKR overachievers and reach new heights of performance. Explore how we can assist you. Alternatively, download the complete report for comprehensive insights into OKRs' best practices.
Remember, it's never too late to embrace change and unleash the true potential of your organization. Take the first step today with OKRs.