Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a simple yet powerful, collaborative goal-setting protocol for businesses, teams and even in some cases, individuals, relied upon by organisations around the world to drive strategic focus, transparency, alignment, and engagement. But one key element that sets OKRs apart from other management methodologies is the inherent flexibility to use multiple cadence rhythms.
Taking a step back, a unique property of OKRs is that they are 'open source', meaning that there is room for interpretation when applying them in any business context. This allows for OKR practitioners to favour particular applications of the framework, and here at OKRAdvisory we often find value in combining the methodology with our extensive background in strategy maps and balanced scorecards, in what we sometimes call Variable Cadence Implementation (VCI).
The VCI approach
VCI combines the best attributes of two powerful tools, strategy maps and OKRs, to promote strategic alignment and balance measurement throughout an organisation.
A VCI approach is easy to understand and to apply, and offers enhanced engagement, and improved strategy execution.
The real essence of VCI is a recalibration of the speed of strategy execution to suit the different levels in an organisation. After all, senior executives operate with a different time horizon to team leads and operational staff, so it stands to reason that their execution cadences should reflect this difference.
By combining this “top down” strategy map with “bottom up” OKRs we overcome conflicts faced by all organisations in how to exert influence and communicate throughout different levels. Senior leaders now possess a robust and comprehensive tool for communicating strategy and monitoring its execution (strategy maps). At lower levels OKRs promote flexibility depending on changing circumstances, while also promoting alignment with overall strategy, and focus.
Another differentiator of OKRs is that unlike many early strategy implementation models which were developed independently of technology - not surprising when we consider they originated in a time before the widespread use of personal computers and smart devices - the ongoing evolution of OKRs over the years has progressed hand in hand with the advance of technology. In part due to the potential complexity of multi layered OKRs operating within different cadences, they are unusual in their reliance on the effective adoption of suitable technology to increase the chance of successful implementation, usually in the form of a bespoke OKR solution.
Fortunately, unlike many OKR specialists, we are entirely technology agnostic and appreciate that where bespoke solutions come in to play there is no such thing as 'one size fits all'. Our consultants all have technology backgrounds and as such are best placed to advise our clients on which solution is most appropriate for their specific implementation in an entirely independent manner.
There are many advantages to OKRs and with the successful implementation in certain high-profile organisations there’s no surprise it’s growing in popularity. Get in touch with one of our experts today to find out how OKRs can benefit your business.