4 Tips on How To Make OKRs Coaching More Successful
Recently I have completed a four-month OKRs coaching program with a Malaysian technology company. In four months, the average sales of this company increased by 31%, the working accuracy has improved by 24%, the time wasted in unclear communication has been reduced by at least 16 hours a month per person.
When I look back on my coaching journey, these four tips helped me and will contribute to your future OKRs coaching.
1. Transform from “Task-driven” to “Value-driven”
When your clients are writing key results, they are likely to think of the mile-long task list, but forget what really adds value to drive the progress on critical work.
Our value as an OKRs coach is to help them build a critical thinking framework effectively by asking them: if you complete all the key results, will you achieve your objective?
The compliance department of this Malaysian client had a significant discovery after they were asked this question. In the past, they focused on calculating the number of SOP violations, which was an item on their task list, but they soon realized that the number did not matter at all. By answering this question, it became clear that identifying the SOP violations that had the biggest negative impact and overcoming it would reduce their business losses.
What is the critical thinking framework in OKRs? It is the ability to analyze information in a way that leads to a value-driven outcome, not a task-driven output. With this mindset shift, within the first month, the compliance department improved accuracy from 80% to 99.17%.
2. Reinforce ongoing discipline to stay focused
Some of your clients might be busy coping with ad-hoc and urgent tasks but forget about their OKRs. As an OKRs coach, your value is to remind your client that once they set OKRs, it will NOT be on autopilot. OKRs will be achieved when time in invested in maintaining an ongoing discipline through check-in meetings. Guide your client to do this in these steps:
Step 1: Remind your client to fix a date and time within the team to do regular check-in meetings. All the pilot teams of this Malaysian client used weekly meetings to keep their OKRs as a priority, and attributed this ongoing discipline to their OKRs success.
Step 2: Help your client identify gaps in their check-in meetings and resolve their unique challenges. For example, your client may be updating their action plan completion status during the check-in meeting—remind them to connect their action plan with the OKRs.
3. Use OKRs for most important work, not for the boss
OKRs should reflect the most important work that the team wants to make measurable progress in. Teams should not do OKRs just because their boss wants to do OKRs.
There are two questions you can ask your client to identify this. The first question is: “Why now”. The second is: “Do these OKRs drive the desired behaviors and results to your team?”
Nearly all the pilot teams of this Malaysian client saw the benefits of doing OKRs through increased team morale and autonomy, personal growth, and aligned goals. They decided to get more employees involved in learning and using OKRs in the coming cycle.
When your client uses OKRs for their most important work, and not just to satisfy their boss, that’s how your client can truly benefit and are more likely to have total buy-in.
4. Keep leadership team involved all the time
Successful OKRs implementation requires a significant commitment from your client’s leadership team. You can guide your client’s leadership team by implementing these three roles:
At the beginning of the OKRs workshop, invite the leadership team to give an opening speech and motivate pilot teams about OKR’s benefits to both the company and individuals.
The leadership team needs to support both their employees as well as the OKRs coach. Invite the leadership team to attend OKRs check-in meetings once a month, so they can reduce obstacles for pilot teams. It is equally important for the leadership team to introduce you officially, and empower you to play the role of OKRs coach during the first meeting.
Encourage the leadership team to provide mentoring and have a conversation with the pilot teams after the first cycle of OKRs, or when resistance is identified.
As an OKRs coach, our value is not only about teaching our clients how to use OKRs technically. It is more about enlightening them by using a critical thinking framework and ongoing discipline to build a sustainable OKRs mindset and culture. I hope these four tips can help you increase the value you deliver to your clients.
For more insight on how to become a more effective OKRs coach, click below to pre-order The OKRs Field Book which is set to be released in 2022.