Tag: business strategy

Unlocking the Power of OKRs to Achieve Ambitious Goals and Drive Business Strategy | Blog

Embraced by top tech companies, Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) help establish high-level measurable goals based on ambitious trackable targets. Paired with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), these powerful tools can fuel organizational success. Discover how OKRs can benefit your business, the best practices for implementation, and how these goal-setting frameworks can work together to drive exceptional results.

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In today’s rapidly evolving and competitive business landscape, setting and achieving the right strategic goals is essential for organizational growth and success. Businesses traditionally rely on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as the primary methodology for tracking these goals. However, are they effective in driving your business strategy? Or can another methodology better suit your business needs?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) have gained widespread adoption in recent years as a popular methodology pioneered by Intel’s former CEO Andy Grove. Its appeal grew when John Doerr introduced them to Google. OKRs have since evolved and spread to various industries and organizations worldwide, driven by the need for better alignment, increased transparency, and more effective goal-setting practices.

So, what exactly are OKRs?

A powerful goal-setting framework popularized by major technology companies, OKR, at its core, is designed to align teams and individuals with the organization’s overall strategic objectives. OKRs consist of these two main components:

  • Objectives: Clear and qualitative goals that outline what an organization wants to achieve. They provide direction and purpose, inspiring teams to aim high
  • Key Results: Specific, measurable, and time-bound milestones that indicate progress toward the objectives. Key results serve as tangible metrics for success

Is it another fancy approach? Are OKRs of any use?

OKRs offer several benefits that make them an attractive choice for ambitious organizations, including:

  • Alignment: OKRs ensure that everyone is working toward the same overarching objectives, fostering a unified sense of purpose and direction
  • Transparency and Accountability: By sharing OKRs openly, teams build a culture of transparency and accountability, encouraging individuals to take ownership of their contributions
  • Agility: OKRs allow organizations to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and adjust their strategies as needed
  • Motivation: Ambitious OKRs can inspire and motivate teams to go above and beyond to achieve extraordinary results

What companies have leveraged OKRs to fuel growth?

Companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Netflix have achieved remarkable success with OKRs in these ways:

  • Google utilized OKRs to launch innovative products and achieve significant business growth
  • LinkedIn used OKRs to expand its user base and improve customer satisfaction
  • Netflix leveraged OKRs to grow its subscriber base and produce hit original content

How can we define an OKR?

Here are some examples of OKRs to help you understand them better:

  • Objective: Increase customer satisfaction by 20%

Key Results: Increase the number of customer surveys completed by 40%. Increase the average customer satisfaction score by 10 points

  • Objective: Launch a new product by the end of the quarter

Key Results: Complete the product requirements by the end of the month. Develop the product prototype by the end of the quarter. Launch the product by the end of the quarter

What pointers should we keep in mind when defining OKRs?

To use OKRs effectively, consider the following four characteristics:

  1. Clarity: Objectives should be clear and easy to understand, providing a sense of direction for all stakeholders
  2. Specificity: Key results should be specific, measurable, and achievable, enabling progress tracking
  3. Ambition: OKRs should inspire and challenge teams to achieve exceptional results, pushing boundaries
  4. Alignment: OKRs should align with the organization’s overall mission and strategic priorities

Should we ditch KPIs now?

While both OKRs and KPIs are essential in assessing performance, they serve different purposes:

  • OKRs are aspirational and strategic, setting ambitious goals to drive overall organizational success
  • KPIs are operational and focused on specific metrics, measuring ongoing performance against predefined targets

OKRs and KPIs 09 12 2023 1

How can we use OKRs and KPIs together to achieve specific objectives?

OKRs and KPIs are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they complement each other in these ways:

  • OKRs provide the direction and inspiration to set ambitious goals
  • KPIs provide the data and measurement to track progress and fine-tune strategies
Parameter​ KPI​ OKR​
Objective Monitor “business-as-usual” drivers, identify problems, and areas for improvement​ Ambitious “business-goal-centric” view for measuring success​
Frequency Same metrics tracked for a longer period​ Metrics may change in the spirit of continuous improvement across multiple fronts and as business objectives change​
Ownership  Owned by departments or the organization as a whole​ Can be owned by individuals or teams​
Scope Focus mostly on operational metrics like velocity​ Focus on business objectives, such as growth, adoption, or customer satisfaction​
Level of challenge Maintaining current performance levels​ Push individuals and teams to achieve more​
Examples Increase velocity by 20%​ Improve brand awareness by increasing website traffic from 15% to 20% in Q2 through targeted marketing campaigns and content creation.​
Reduce customer churn rate by 5%​ Increase customer retention by 2% in May 2023 by improving customer satisfaction and loyalty through targeted marketing campaigns, personalized outreach, and enhanced customer support processes​

What best practices should my organization follow to successfully implement OKRs?

To ensure successful implementation and maximize the benefits of OKRs, consider the following best practices:

  1. Top-Down Alignment: Align OKRs with the organization’s overall mission, vision, and strategic priorities. Ensure that OKRs cascade down from top management to every individual, creating a unified sense of purpose
  2. Collaborative Goal Setting: Involve all relevant stakeholders in the OKR-setting process. Encourage open discussions and feedback to build consensus and ownership
  3. Clarity and Simplicity: Keep objectives and key results clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid jargon and unnecessary complexity to ensure everyone grasps their role in achieving success
  4. Measure What Matters: Focus on key metrics that directly impact the organization’s success. Avoid setting too many OKRs to prevent diluting efforts
  5. Flexibility and Adaptability: Embrace the agile nature of OKRs. Continuously review and adjust OKRs as circumstances change, allowing teams to stay responsive to market dynamics
  6. Regular Progress Tracking: Implement a robust tracking and reporting system to monitor progress regularly. Provide frequent updates and celebrate achievements to boost morale

OKRs and KPIs are powerful tools that can drive exceptional performance and success for organizations. By setting clear and aspirational objectives and measuring progress through specific key results, businesses can unlock their full potential. Strategically combining OKRs and KPIs allows organizations to achieve extraordinary results in a dynamic and competitive environment.

Start implementing OKRs in your organization today! Define ambitious objectives, set measurable key results, and foster a culture of transparency and accountability. To discuss how to embrace the power of OKRs to propel your organization toward new heights of success, contact Hemant Agrawal.

How To Drive Dramatic Productivity Improvements | Blog

Most companies choose to lower cost in their service areas by using labor arbitrage and outsourcing and, in doing so, save an average of 20%. An alternative approach is to increase productivity; recently, some firms achieved 100-200% improvement  in areas such as applications development and maintenance and other service areas. Clearly the potential offered by productivity improvements dwarfs the labor arbitrage route. So, why haven’t more companies focused on the productivity method and emphasized it over the outsourcing or labor arbitrage route?

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Are You Prepared for a New Normal? | Blog

This is the fifth in a series of blogs that explores a range of topics related to these issues and will naturally evolve as events unfold and facts reveal themselves. The blogs are in no way intended to provide scientific or health expertise, but rather focus on the implications and options for service delivery organizations.

These insights are based on our ongoing interactions with organizations operating in impacted areas, our expertise in global service delivery, and our previous experience with clients facing challenges from the SARS, MERS, and Zika viruses, as well as other unique risk situations.

A month ago the equity markets were hitting all-time highs, but as I write this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 30%, largely due to the actions being taken to control the spread of COVID-19. Simply put, many enterprises are shutting down and pulling back – preserving cash, cancelling projects, delaying investments, and freezing hiring and/or laying off employees. We are truly living in unprecedented times.

However, through the confusion and panic, leading enterprises are demonstrating their preparedness in this difficult business environment, putting their leadership and digital business models on display. Amazon is pivoting quickly, responding to the crisis by not accepting new inventory to their warehouses other than medical and household staples, extending delivery hours and quickly hiring 100,000 additional employees to meet demand, while raising employee wages by $2/hour through April.

Other lessons from a less dominant company includes a Chinese cosmetics company, Lin Qingxuan, which was forced to close 40% of its stores in China (and 100% in Wuhan) during the peak of the crisis. The company quickly redeployed sales resources to their online presence to influence customers and drive online sales, resulting in 200% sales growth over prior year sales for the same period according to Harvard Business Review. In another example, luxury brand LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton and Fendi, has repurposed its perfume manufacturing lines to make hand sanitizer, a move that may win the hearts of consumers as the crisis diminishes.

Clearly, this crisis demonstrates just how quickly consumer and business demands can change. If your business model is not designed to absorb these impacts, you most likely have been severely affected.  Leading enterprises are already planning for the end of this crisis. China is seeing a dramatic decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases, factories are reopening, workers are returning to their jobs, and companies such as Dow Inc. are actually seeing increasing demand for goods in China.

If you were one of the companies on the outside looking in, now is the time to act so that the next crisis does not catch you on your heels. To fortify your business model, start by doing the following:

  • Review the alignment of your business strategy, business model, and core processes. The evolution of many enterprises focused on one area – such as client interactions – while overlooking other processes – such as such as manufacturing, supply chain, distribution, or accounting. The entire value chain must work in harmony when facing dramatic shifts in the business environment.
  • Develop your perspective of the “new normal,” and quickly make adjustments. Do your customers still want to do business with you in the manner they did before the crisis, or will they expect a new normal? Do you really understand your customers’ buying behaviors? This crisis may have a significant impact on how you conduct business in the future as you learn new habits such as remote work, virtual collaboration, enhanced e-commerce, and improved visible business tracking.
  • Understand what drives your value – outsource everything else to more capable providers. Dedicated outsourcing providers invest in their core business and strive to offer world-class services so that you can focus on your core value drivers. While outsourcing will drive cost efficiencies, you should expect it also to drive quality, flexibility, and agility of non-core processes that can better enable your business model.
  • Review the alignment of strategic third parties to your business model. Many enterprises do not understand the value of a vendor management organization (VMO) until a strategic partner fails them. A VMO ensures alignment to the business model and selection of the right providers and suppliers to ensure they can move at the speed that your business model requires.
  • Ensure your organization structure is aligned to your business model. To deploy as quickly and decisively as Amazon, Lin Qingxuan, and LVMH, you must have an organization that is innovative, empowered, aligned, and prepared. If your organization structures have not evolved as your customers have, you may want to review the reporting structures, spans and layers, and internal governance models to be certain you can address quickly changing business environments.

While this crisis has not yet peaked in many parts of the world, it is not too early to begin planning for a recovery and the new normal. Leading companies are monitoring the situation while also pushing forward with transformation and cost saving plans, incorporating changes with new learnings. This is not the first time we have been here, and it certainly will not be the last. Now is the time to not panic, but be bold and forge ahead.

Visit our COVID-19 resource center to access all our COVD-19 related insights.

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