While committing to the OKR approach is a great first step to achieving your goals, it isn’t a magic quick-fix for businesses. OKRs are a way of executing, and there are many things that need to be done right for your entire OKR program to be successful. Software is an important piece of the puzzle. So, Profit’ OKR software has been developed to help businesses move through the OKR cycle using the PEEL approach.
There are 4 clear parts in every good OKR implementation, as shown in the picture below.
The PEEL approach walks you through each step of the OKR journey:
- Plan your OKRs
- Execute your OKRs
- Engage your employees
- Learn from your successes and failures in an institutionalized way
OKR is not a single activity, but an activity system. The best way to think of your OKR journey is to imagine that you are riding a vehicle that runs on 4 wheels. All these 4 wheels need to be operated in a coordinated manner to ensure you get the best results from your OKR program.
The first step, planning your OKRs, is extremely important. Within this stage, you need to determine what objectives are challenging yet achievable for you or your company. Whether that means refining past OKRs or creating new ones from scratch, this is the moment to determine corporate and departmental objectives. This process involves a lot of discussion about the target. Where is your company today and where do you want it to be at the end of the quarter? What about at the end of the year? After, those involved will also determine the alignment of OKRs; from corporate to departments to teams to individuals, OKRs can all be linked together. As an individual, you can determine which organization OKRs your individual OKRs link to and align them from the bottom up. It’s important to note that some of your department’s OKRs may be dependent on the completion of your individual OKRs or another employee’s. In this stage, those dependencies should be determined. Who needs to be involved in order to achieve this result? What actions need to be taken to make it happen?
Once all of the planning is complete, the execute phase is where the work begins. Once OKRs have been set and determined, you can begin to check in on the progress that’s being made. You can decide how often these check ins happen, whether they’re every other day or once a week–it’s up to you to determine if you’ve made enough progress in between each check-in period. There is also a comments section where you can share your thoughts and elaborate on your progress with your management or team.
For a more in-depth discussion, you also have the opportunity to organize weekly one-on-one or team feedback sessions. In Profit, we use PPP (progress, plans, and problems) methodology to frame these sessions, but you could also use your own method to conduct these reviews.
As you continue to focus on your own objectives and results, there is a dashboard feature in the program to help you keep track of what is going on throughout the entire corporation. Using this tool, you can see how each department is performing and how their performance contributes to the overall performance of the organization. This information can provide you with insight into how your OKRs contribute to the bigger picture.
To break down your OKRs, Profit allows you to create individual tasks that help you make progress and execute your key results. Your manager has the ability to assign tasks to you or you have the opportunity to create them for yourself.
The third part of the cycle focuses on engaging employees. Profit allows you to interact with your managers, peers, and subordinates through an awards system that is based on the completion of OKRs.
The final phase centres on learning. In this section, you are able to reflect on your experiences this period. This gives you the opportunity to consider what you have learned already and where you want to go next. Even if you haven’t made progress with your OKRs by the end of your target date, you’ve probably learned a lot over that period of time–like what doesn’t work in helping you achieve your results. Knowing what doesn’t work will ultimately help you and your peers in figuring out what might and you can use Profit to make note of these past attempts to help yourself in the future. In the performance section, you can also access your OKR reviews based on the completion of your OKRs in the current term. During this reflection time, it’s good to think about what worked well and what didn’t, what supports were needed, etc.
After the learning phase, the cycle begins again with going back to plan your OKRs for your next period. This might me creating entirely new OKRs, adding additional ones, or adjusting your previous objectives. The process of creating and executing OKRs isn’t finite. Instead, it’s a cycle that requires engagement and practice in order to truly learn from your experiences.