The Sixth OKRs Coaching Mantra: Incorporate Alignment
When I studied yoga, I chanted mantras as I stretched my arms and legs. I repeated the mantras hundreds of times. I internalized them as a student of yoga.
The OKRs Field Book introduced the first five mantras for OKRs coaches. I’d love for OKRs coaches to internalize these mantras. I recently discovered a sixth mantra for OKRs coaches when I was interviewed in a recent podcast.
The sixth mantra for OKRs coaches is to “build alignment into the fabric of your OKRs coaching engagement.”
The OKRs Field Book includes tips for building alignment into your OKRs coaching process; however, they are not documented in a single location. This post previews critical content from a future edition of The OKRs Field Book.
How to incorporate alignment into an OKRs coaching engagement
Phase 1: Deployment Parameters & Roles
- TEAMS: When defining teams for OKRs, consider defining OKRs for cross-functional teams (e.g., pods or product squads) rather than functional teams (e.g., Finance, Marketing, HR, and Engineering) as noted in chapter 3 of the field book.
- OKRS TEMPLATE: When developing an OKRs drafting template, include an “alignment check” as detailed in the 7 steps for creating team-level OKRs.
- PROJECT LEAD ROLE: Project Leads should include representation from multiple areas. For example, do not include only HR, Ops, or Finance. Instead, include representation from Ops & HR or Finance & Strategy rather than a single functional area. This ensures OKRs are not perceived as “an HR thing” or a “Finance thing.” Chapter 2 of the field book covers this topic.
- KEY RESULT CHAMPIONS: Consider defining two champions from different functional areas for each key result. For example, if business and tech personnel are not aligned, require that each key result has one champion from business and another from tech to ensure consistent conversations occur between business and tech staff. I thought this was included in the field book, but I cannot find it! If you can find content on defining two key result champions per key result, please contact me at Ben@OKRs.com and I will send a gift your way!
Phase 2: Training Workshops
- ATTENDEES: Include trainees from across the organization rather than members of one OKRs team.
- BREAK OUTS: If you leverage breakout groups, do not breakout by functional role. Instead, each breakout group should include no more than two members from a given functional area. Benefits of this approach are covered in chapter 4 of the field book.
Phase 3: Cycle Coaching
- STEP 1 DRAFT OKRs: When drafting team-level OKRs, bring in several teams that work closely together into a single coaching session. For example, Sales + Marketing + Customer Success or Product + Engineering + User Experience often develop better OKRs when they draft and discuss their OKRs together right from the start.
- STEP 2 CHECK IN: For the “single-team check in” as described in chapter 5 of the field book, consider inviting 1-2 key members of a dependent team to attend these check ins.
- STEP 3 REFLECT AND RESET: Rather than conducting these sessions with a single team, include 2-3 teams that work closely together. Have each dependent team listen into the reflect and reset conversation for all key results. This will have two positive effects: 1) it creates a healthy level of competition that increases the quality of the session and 2) participants are part of the learning experience of other teams.