Setting Strategy Through OKRs
Success requires the right approach, stakeholders and tools
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a goal-setting framework that has been increasingly adopted by organizations worldwide over the past two decades. Typically developed in an annual or quarterly format, they enable a leadership team to select a list of priority outcomes and clearly link them to how each team contributes towards them. While OKRs are often determined during the beginning of a planning period, there is never a bad time to introduce them for the first time, or to revisit them throughout the year in cases where strategy needs a significant shift. In our conversations with leaders from across the continent, we have heard several relevant strategies to consider to ensure OKRs are successfully used with your own team:
Create collective ownership by setting strategy together: In order to achieve growth, organizations must not only develop strong strategies, but also implement them to their best ability. In an episode of The Everyday Leader, Mumbi Annstella from Tala told us that aligning around goals through the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework may seem time-consuming and tedious at times, but ultimately saves time and resources in the long-run. The OKR approach also ensures that there is a clear owner for each initiative, who is charged with keeping all of the relevant stakeholder accountable for coming together to cross the finish line. This is particularly important for a cross-departmental function such as Growth.
Leave room for managers to influence upwards within a leadership team: In an episode of The Everyday Leader, Phoebe Khagame from M-Shule shared that in her role as Head of Operations, she works closely with her CEO and CTO. She finds herself well positioned to help them stay in tune with both KPI and OKR performance and team wellness when making business-critical decisions. The impact of doing this role well is incredibly impactful for the success of the company. When setting OKRs, remember that they are not just top-down.
Select a goal-tracking tool that provides enough organization-wide visibility and accountability, while being easy to use: In an episode of The Everyday Leader, Asha Mweru from African Management Institute shared with us how she carefully researched a tool to help her company’s 80+ staff select an OKR tracking tool that allowed all levels of staff to see real-time progress against their quarterly goals without requiring extra reporting.