Sound Bites

Calibrating on
Key Results

with Deidre Paknad, WorkBoard CEO

Deidre Paknad

Deidre Paknad, WorkBoard CEO: For most executives, once you set your objectives and key results and your organization sets their OKRs, you're anxious to see progress against them. And often what happens is you want to see updates to your key results and you want to see what the progress is across the organization.

So it's really tempting to tell your staff or to send messages to people to update their KRs. And unfortunately that language — "Update your KRs" — might actually be undermining your achievement of those key results. And that's the choice of language. When you say "update KRs" — and particularly by week six when you've been saying it for weeks on end — it really starts to dumb down the key results and focusing on the key results into a task and really administrivia and I don't want to do administrative tasks and neither do you. And neither do your people.

Update KRs

So instead of saying "update your KRs" — which isn't what you really want — focus your request instead on what you really want your people and your team to do. You want them to focus on what key results are they trying to drive, where are they now, how big is the gap between their best possible outcomes and where they are today? You want them to focus — really, you want them to calibrate — on where they are on their key results and you want them to calibrate on that at the beginning of the week. So they make really smart decisions about how they spend their time this week and they make great informed choices of where their time's going to have the biggest impact.

You also want transparency. Transparency is a team sport — you have to give to get — and it's also a really legitimate request from a manager to team members. We expect transparency. In fact, as a team, one of the most fundamental rules is that we work together because we're dependent on each other to achieve our outcomes. And that means we have to have transparency as table stakes.

Transparency is a team sport.

And then the last piece here, what you really want is you want to be able to see and identify risks and roadblocks really early so that you and everybody on the team can make good triage decisions about what to move in and what to move out so you optimize achieving your best possible outcomes this quarter. So instead of "update your key results," try: "Let's calibrate on our key results on Monday so we can celebrate on Friday!"

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