Picture this if you will… an initial enquiry is made, the introductory discussions have taken place, and a proposal has been delivered. An OKR consultant has outlined for the client all of the main steps that need to be taken in order to maximise the likely success of the OKR implementation. From general introduction sessions and the training of different audiences, to the development and alignment of actual OKRs, and finally the implementation of an oversight and governance regime, it’s all been laid out. All is as agreed to this point.
But the client looks at the list of recommended activities and starts to think ‘Do I really need the consultant now?’. ‘Could I not save the money and implement the steps alone, utilising the power of the internet to guide me through?’. And so begins the merry dance between cost-conscious client, and value adding consultant.
With the exponential growth in popularity of OKRs over the past few years there is a huge amount of information about the framework available online, and with much of it accessible for free (including our own FREE Introduction session) it is clearly tempting for organisations to feel there’s enough out there to allow them to undertake this journey alone.
But the view from the other side of the coin is somewhat different - simply doing something, as opposed to doing something well, are two entirely different things. And where the implementation of strategy is concerned the difference might equate to the entire success or failure of the organisation as a whole. Not something to be taken lightly. As a consultant however, how do we convince clients that spending money in this instance is a much better bet than saving it?
When we are presented with these situations there are a number of areas we tend to focus on in demonstrating the added value of external support:
· Expertise and experience: OKR consultants specialise in implementing and managing OKRs across various industries and organisations, bringing extensive knowledge, experience, and best practices to the table. They have likely worked with multiple companies, witnessing different challenges and successes, which enables them to provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your specific needs. It is unlikely that an implementation will progress without a hitch, and in these cases it’s critical for success that skills and experiences developed through prior practical application are brought to bear.
· Training and education: Implementing OKRs successfully requires proper training and education for your teams, pitched at the most effective level for each audience. Consultants can conduct workshops, training sessions, and coaching programs to educate your employees on OKR principles, methodologies, and best practices.They can help create a shared understanding and buy-in throughout the organisation, fostering a culture of goal alignment and transparency.
For further thoughts around the subject of ‘Training Debt’, the stored cost of failing to prioritise this step, please see our recent post.
· Objective perspective: External consultants should offer an unbiased view of your organisation. No two implementations will ever be the same, so consultants can be relied upon to objectively assess the current state of each specific client organisation, identify gaps, and provide recommendations for improvement. They are not influenced by internal politics or preconceived notions, allowing them to focus solely on the most effective ways to implement OKRs.
· Customised approach: As has already been alluded to above, OKR consultants understand that each organisation is unique and has its own set of challenges.They work closely with you to understand your company's culture, values, and specific objectives and, based on this understanding, they can tailor the OKR methodology to fit the organisation's needs, maximising its effectiveness. With an ‘open source’ framework such as this, the importance of customisation based on previous experience should not be underestimated.
· Faster implementation: OKR consultants have the expertise to expedite the implementation process. They can help each client design an OKR framework, define measurable objectives, and establish relevant key results efficiently that are specific and unique to the organisation. Their experience allows them to streamline the rollout, ensuring that the implementation is effective and aligned with your organisation's goals.
· Continuous support and feedback: OKR consultants provide ongoing support and guidance even after the initial implementation. They can review your progress, provide feedback on the quality of objectives and key results, and suggest adjustments to optimise performance. Their expertise ensures that your OKR implementation remains effective and evolves with your organisation's changing needs.
· Change management: Implementing OKRs often involves significant changes in how teams set goals, measure progress, and collaborate. OKR consultants can assist in managing this change effectively, addressing potential resistance, and helping employees embrace the new approach. Their change management expertise can smooth the transition and increase the likelihood of successful OKR adoption.
In answering the opening question therefore, ‘Why use an external OKR consultant?’, the answer should be clear. Employing external expertise could very well be the main differentiator between just implementing OKRs, and implementing them effectively.