Being Intentional About Results

Deidre Paknad  ::  Strategy & Execution

As leaders, our words and deeds matter. I talked with a leader today whose team sabotaged its own outcomes by letting the OKR process obscure its purpose. They lost sight of the fact that OKRs help us agree on what matters and focus our efforts there ... they drive the allocation of our attention, not just document our intentions.

To avoid these hazards and improve your outcomes, here is the opposite of a to do list — this is your "stop doing" list:

1. Stop using the acronym.

No one needs another acronym. Everyone needs clarity on the objectives and results we want to achieve in Q1 and 2023. Use the real words, not the short cut, and more people will lean into the process because they remember its value.

2. Stop asking for updates.

Great results come from great focus and facts to make faster decisions. Ask for what you really need! Don't make results transparency administrivia and your team won't either.

3. Stop creating parallel reporting and focal areas.

If you aren't going to pay attention to the objectives and results the team aligned on, they aren't going to either … and you will have wasted their hearts, minds and time.

4. Stop fearing the red

Start discussing it instead. Hold yourself accountable for the results you aligned on at the start of the quarter and your team will follow your lead.

5. Stop doing just annual KRs.

Make the hard decisions and prioritize the results that are most important for Q1. This will help everyone else make good choices and decisions, but it will require you to make real trade offs and decisions yourself. If you can't define the most important outcomes for the coming quarter, how will other people in your org? What framework will teams use if not OKRs? Most likely: Each person uses their own mental model, they'll operate on assumptions, and you don't achieve those year-end results.

Let real business discussions, outcomes and decisions guide your voice and your day.

Additional Reading

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Fast Flexibility is a Recession Advantage

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OKRs are a Competitive Advantage

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Jeff Gothelf, co-author of Lean UX and OKR expert, explains how teams that set their goals as OKRs have a unique competitive advantage in their market.

McKinsey and WorkBoard: Building a Digital Operating Rhythm with OKR Software

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WorkBoard CEO and Co-founder Deidre Paknad joined Daniel Eisenberg, an Executive Editor at McKinsey & Co. for a recent conversation that covered the genesis of WorkBoard, the imperative for digital inclusivity, and what enterprises of all sizes can learn from the constraint mindset of startups.