Is your company ready for OKRs?

Updated: Aug 5

The cultural traits needed for an organization to successfully implement OKR management.


Implementing OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) is a fantastic way to foster focus, team cooperation, alignment and autonomy. However, we consider them not adequate change management tools if you come from a rigid, top-down-managed organisation.


At Asia PMO we see that companies which previously ran KPI Management with 6 month or 1 year planning and 5 - 10 yearly KPIs, dictated by the top management, are more and more willing to change to a more adaptive 3 months OKR management cycle. This has been bolstered even more by the fact that Covid-19 proved that long planning and strict waterfall execution cycles are not feasible anymore in the current global business environment. However, before implementing OKRs, we advise KPI-driven companies to review their cultural dimensions and company values and work on them pro-actively to be ready for a more transparent and less top-down management approach.


1. What are the core cultural traits needed to implement OKRs successfully?

(Picture by Asia PMO)


From our experience implementing OKRs in 20+ companies around the world, we reckon that you need around 50% of these cultural traits implemented to be successful in rolling out, managing and measuring OKRs and achieve meaningful results every quarter.


2. How to start implementing OKRs and carry out the change management in the right way?


As in change management, companies should start with OKRs at the top of the company, which does not necessarily mean that the top should automatically dictate or dominate them.

Ideally you start to implement OKR management on company levels in the first quarter and when your top management is convinced and trained on Objectives & Key Result Set-up and weekly results tracking, you can move down to lower departments and / or team levels.


OKRs should be aligned and discussed, rather than impeded, like KPIs. So instead of the C-Level deciding on the quarterly Objectives, we advise running a wider management workshop, including Heads, Managers, Supervisors, etc. to align and finalize the OKRs proposed by top management. This management workshop can only be fruitful if the company has an open feedback and non-hierarchical listening culture.


In start-ups with a highly educated workforce we also send surveys to the entire company to comment on the proposed Objectives & Key Results before they are set in stone. Action proposal should ideally come from the teams rather than the management.


Related: read our blog on OKR + A (actions)


At Asia PMO, we can support you to review your current company values and survey them with your leader and staff level. Furthermore we can facilitate management workshops for you to discuss and align Objectives & Key Results among your key players and build a solid OKR management cycle for action tracking and reviews. For further questions please contact us.


For more check out our OKR page okrasia.com

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