“OKRs help companies and teams to excel in execution” – By, Mr. Senthil Rajagopalan, COO & President at Profit.co

  1. COO & President at Profit.co Senthil RajagopalanHow does an OKR Software work and what are its benefits?

OKR is a goal management system used by teams, large and small to collaborate and achieve stretch goals through a framework that ensures regular check-ins, feedback, continuous learning, and solving of problems to make progress. OKRs are simple yet powerful as they are useful for startups and large corporations to execute their strategy with focus and alignment.

For the purpose of planning the company’s OKRs by small teams (ten or less), spreadsheets can be used. However, as the organization grows in size, SaaS-based OKR software serves the need from planning to tracking to getting desired results.

  1. Give us an example when you say OKR brings in organizational efficiency, how does it work?

Software is eating the world, declared Marc Andreesen in his landmark 2011 Editorial in Wall Street Journal.  He was citing companies like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and LinkedIn completely disrupting large industries like Entertainment, Communication, Advertising, and Recruiting. Today in August 2020, the takeover of the economy of the technology companies has grown even more.

The mentioned companies referred above have one thing in common – All of them have been operating with OKRs as their goal management system. The power of OKRs comes from the widespread adoption and proven success stories across the globe.

OKRs are a tool for performance management that sets and monitors goals so that each employee is working towards the goals set by an organization. With that, OKRs promote and maintain transparency and alignment in an organization. This results in all employees knowing each other’s targets and link them to the more elevated level objectives of the organization.

OKRs help companies and teams to excel in execution, as Corporate OKRs are cascaded to department and team levels, alignment and employee empowerment happen. Transparent scoreboards, regular reviews, and feedback cycles provide the framework the required support and rigor to excel in achieving stretch goals. 

  1. With work-from-home (WFH) becoming a new normal due to the ongoing pandemic, how can an OKR help in ensuring business continuity? 

Business continuity and optimization, as a mainstream movement started in the mid-2010s. While there were many competing methodologies, OKRs had the broadest adoption. The main reasons were that OKR platforms are intuitive in nature and when done right, they help companies to easily adapt across an organization, even when they are distributed geographically.

To make their organizations adapt to the new normal, Corporate Leaders can create OKRs to

  1. Design and build human networks, that can collaborate within them, and how to nurture and sustain them.
  2. Play an integrating role across these distributed systems, bringing coherence and providing clear, actionable, strategic guidance around priorities and the outcomes expected at the system and team levels.
  3. Focus on overall system design and provide guidance to empowered teams that focus on their tasks.

 

Any successful business organization with a stable top-level structure can replace much of the remaining traditional hierarchy with a flexible, scalable network of cross-functional teams. These teams are composed of different functional expertise and are from different levels of the organization. They have greater autonomy and accountability, are more multidisciplinary, and are more clearly focused on value-adding performance outcomes rather than performance outputs.

We live in a constantly evolving environment and cannot know exactly what the future holds. The best way to minimize risk and succeed is to embrace uncertainty and be the quickest and most productive in trying new things.”. the popular adage of the business community “Built to last” can be true only if they are willing to adapt.

  1. Can OKRs help build the new category of “remote leaders”? If so, how? 

Yes, OKRs can help build remote leaders of self-managing teams. These teams define their ways of working and are jointly accountable from end-to-end performance against Key Performance Indicators. Self-managing teams deliver baseload activity and define the best way to reach goals, prioritize activities, and focus their effort.  Different team members will lead the group based on their competence rather than on their position and they turn into leaders who feel a sense of ‘reason’ and feel valued in the workplace.  These Team Managers can create their OKRs to

  1. Ensure clear, accountable roles are given to team members.
  2. Foster hands-on governance where cross-team performance management and decision rights are made as close to relevant teams as possible, in highly-productive, limited-membership coordinating forums.
  3. Evolve functions to become robust communities of knowledge and provide stability over time as people move between different operating teams.
  4. Create an ecosystem that extends internal networks and creates meaningful relationships with an extensive external network.

They can track the progress of the team members through Continuous Feedback, Conversations, and Recommending rewards to the members. These leaders would support an open space that gives quick input on their work, top-notch peer collaborations, and access to mentors.

With OKRs, we can envisage a sea change in the organization’s culture moving towards self-managing teams with outcomes-oriented employees, all willing to take stretch goals and collaboratively form empowered teams that collectively celebrate team achievements. No wonder, OKRs have been an incredible tool powering the growth of some of the most innovative companies of this century.

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