Defining an OKR for Organizational Health

Mark Gandy, the host of the CFO Bookshelf Podcast, asked me a question in the 54th minute of our most recent conversation, “How do OKRs tie in or integrate with organizational health?”

As I attempted to answer Mark’s question, it became clear that defining measurable key results that reflect organizational health is often quite challenging.

Some clients want to reduce staff attrition rates, but they quickly point out that some attrition can be a good thing. So, they draft a key result like, reduce unwanted attrition. But then they are faced with the task of agreeing which staff are “wanted.” Other organizations are looking to make improvements in diversity and inclusion; however, aligning on the metrics to improve in this area over the next few months is often difficult.

Coaching Tip: Include Team Members to Draft Internal OKRs Bottom-Up

In our experience, taking a bottom-up approach that involves lots of team members can be especially valuable when drafting key results that reflect organizational health. In fact, simply asking the question, “how will we know we’re improving the health of our organization?” leads to important conversations that are probably worth having right now. When OKRs lead to important conversations, you’re doing OKRs right.

Conclusion: Define an Internal OKR for Organizational Health!

With the pandemic, many organizations are looking inward. They are exploring how best to support remote workers and address declining employee engagement and retention. Based on an analysis of our clients starting after 2021, we find that the majority choose to define both an internal objective and an external objective. External objectives focus on customer impact; internal objective focuses on organizational health. 

 

  • If you’d like to explore bringing in an external OKRs coach to facilitate the process of creating an internal OKR with your team to have an important conversation, contact Ben@OKRs.com.
  • To listen to the most recent podcast hosted by Mark Gandy that includes an analysis of how OKRs integrate with organizational health, just click the play button below.

Interview Highlights

  • Explaining OKRs to an eleven-year-old
  • Objectives with or without a timeframe
  • Objectives and the context of business priorities
  • Outputs vs Outcomes
  • “Crawl, walk, run … nail it before you scale it.”
  • OKRs vs KPIs
  • The disconnect between strategy and OKRs
  • OKRs and organizational health

Five Tips to Better OKRs

“We ended our conversation with Ben as he discussed his approach to achieving greater outcomes with OKRs. Here are his five tips:

  1. Put a name next to each key result
  2. Each key result needs a baseline
  3. Reduce the number of OKRs
  4. Standardize scoring
  5. Write short objectives with a compelling ‘why’

Regarding the fifth item, Ben states objectives should begin with a verb. Objectives should be qualitative, not numeric. Measurability in the near term is required.”

Here is Mark’s intro to the Podcast:

“I make no apologies for believing that Ben Lamorte is one of the most gifted business teachers and coaches I’ve ever encountered. While he’s the global go-to expert in OKRs and coaching other coaches, he could be that conversationalist who can inspire, educate, and inform on any business topic. In this episode, Ben is back to talk about OKRs. In this show, we address outcomes vs outputs and where KPIs fit in this conversation.”

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