OKR – no pain, no gain 

If you ask what the essential difference between OKRs and established management systems is, one thing quickly becomes clear – properly implemented, it is not just a different tool but rather a method that goes hand in hand with a different mindset in the company. Hence, it may not come as surprise that the introduction of OKRs is often considered as change process, which needs to be appropriately managed. If this does not take place, many of the often cited advantages of this method fizzle out and the management level as well as employees will quickly lose interest in the implementation. So how can the probability of success be increased?


It’s all about commitment – whether startup, family business or corporate

Although OKRs initially spread to technology companies and startups, we are now seeing increasing interest among large corporations as well as medium-sized companies. Especially family-owned companies have started applying OKRs along the handover process from the founder / owner of the company to the new generation or to non-family managing directors. Regardless of the type of company, the commitment of the management board to the introduction of the OKR method and the associated change process is one core element deciding about success or failure.


Courage and transparency

“If you keep all doors open, you will stop at the aisle.” Of course, it is difficult for everyone to leave the “safe haven” of established methods and strategies, but in most cases too much deviation from the core elements of the OKR method does prevent from leveraging the hoped-for growth effects associated with the implementation. Already at the beginning it is important to openly discuss the core elements of this method and the respective implications with the decision-makers. Be it the quarterly cycle, the company-wide transparency of the OKRs or the question whether all ares should be involved at the beginning. Together with you, we can define possible adjustments to the standard process based on your current situation and the goals and critically examine the impact any adjustment has on the probability of success.


Practice with discipline pays off

Normally, we see the positive influence of this method on increased focus and alignment between departments already apparent in the first cycle. However, depending on context and culture, it often takes a few cycles until the introduction of OKRs leads to measurable success and is internalized by all employees. Similar to starting with a new sport, new muscle groups have first to be trained before they are ready for competition. Having guided the implementation of OKRs in different situations, we recommend involving external facilitators especially when you go through the first two cycles. This allows you benefiting from best practices ad also reviewing the outcome of the first steps neutrally, allowing to make the right adjustments for the second cycle.


Please do not hesitate to contact us as you need assistance in the implementation of OKRs in your organization. We help you to develop the right process tailored to your specific situation and accompany you from setting up the process to defining the strategic goals and helping you to formulate OKRs.