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OKR's have completely changed my business

Using Objectives and Key results to turn strategies into reality

As a business coach I'm comfortable with helping clients identify objectives and set goals. Yet I've always had a nagging suspicion that there must be a better way of tracking progress and making them happen. So, in 2016 while I was working with my colleagues at Auxin we started looking best practice. That's when we discovered OKR's.

It stands for Objectives and Key Results and is easy to define.

An objective is: A simple sentence that explains what you’re trying to achieve as a business. E.g. Make 8020 a leading OKR training provider.

A Key Result is: A quantifiable measure that will show how successful you have been.
E.g. Generate 50% of 8020 revenues from from OKR training by the end of 2018.

The concept is simple. The execution is hard because it requires a mind shift to take place in most businesses - including the ones I'm closely involved with. As the late Peter Drucker correctly pointed out:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

We started by applying OKR's to Auxin before introducing the concept to our clients and we are now benefiting from the results. Our initial efforts, however were poor.

In the beginning, we over complicated things and were guilty of thinking like individuals rather than as a team. So, we started again...and again until we all had clarity about where we were going.

Once we had created the big vision or moon-shot goal it became easier to see what needed to happen in the next quarter to set us on the right path.

We are now helping clients all over the UK adopt an OKR mind-set and we will expand on our experiences in further posts.

For now, I'd like you to think about these six statements. Are any of these true in your business?

  1. We start lots of projects but we never seem to finish them
  2. Everybody thinks their priorities are the most important for the business
  3. Strategy meetings have a Ground Hog day element to them. Same post-its just different walls.
  4. We have great planning sessions but things always get dropped when we get busy
  5. Our culture makes it hard to change our internal processes
  6. We could be way more productive if everyone put their minds to it.

If at least three of these statements have you saying:

'Yes, that's us!'