Communicating for Key Results

Why asking for “KR updates” may be undermining your actual results

Deidre Paknad  ::  Goal & OKR Achievement

To get better results this quarter, consider how you ask your team to focus on results. When you use the phrase “update your KRs”, you’re asking for an administrative task – no one wants to do admin work (and you probably don’t want to nag about it, either).

Calibrate on Monday, Celebrate on Friday

Rather than dumbing-down the request to administrivia, frame what you and the team really want: To calibrate on the gap to desired outcomes so you make decisions that lead to your best possible outcomes. Consider these 4 things to reframe your request and re-invite your team to achieve its best:

1) The team actually wants to achieve its key results
Remember the team cares about the results it defined together; tap into the shared intention to achieve great things together and why they matter to everyone. Results management is how results are achieved – it’s not luck, it’s paying consistent attention. Your role as leader is driving attention to the right things.

2) Everyone wants to make smart decisions this week
If you know on Monday you have a long way to go to achieve your results, you'll use the next 5 days in smarter ways than if you find out on Friday ... or four weeks from Friday. Ask your team to start the week calibrating on the key results they’re driving, so they make better choices for their time. You don’t grow fast if you manage and measure slow.

3) Transparency is a team sport
Transparency is a genuine, legitimate request from and for everyone on the team. Teams by definition succeed together, in large part by optimizing fast and well for inter-dependencies and challenges. Transparency helps teams quickly and efficiently allocate resources, communicate risks, and work as a unit. When one person withholds status, it forces everyone to work with less data, degrading their decisions and slowing down the whole team. It reduces the options the whole team has to achieve its collective best.

4) You want to lean into the red!
Knowing where you’re not making progress is the most important piece of data you’ll get. It’s the data you need to focus time and efforts to optimize outcomes. The sooner you know about the risks, the more flexibility and recovery time you have. Without the clear signal of red and amber on OKRs, you’d need to look at everything just to find the few things that really need your focus... and that would waste valuable time you could spend driving real results.

Ask for what you really need, and you’ll get better results.
Want help with a full communications plan to take your achievements to the next level? Just let us know!

— The Velocity Gurus @ WorkBoard



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