Sound Bites

Lookback & Learn from Quarterly OKRs

with Deidre Paknad, WorkBoard CEO

Deidre Paknad
Deidre Paknad, WorkBoard CEO

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Deidre Paknad, WorkBoard CEO: At the end of each quarter of your OKR cycle, you want to do a retrospective as a part of the OKR lookback and learn process. And as you enter that retrospective, there are three questions to ask.

The first is, did we have the right objectives? Are the headlines right? Are we headed in the right direction? Were those our real intentions? Did we have the right key results? Did we measure the right things? Did we measure the real essence of value or did we learn what the real essence of value was?

The second question is, did we have the right focus, the right objectives with the right key results? We measured the right things, but we didn't focus our time and attention on those things in the quarter.

Lastly we ask, what changed? What changed internally? How about externally? How will that affect the next quarter? And you want to ask each of those three questions and learn from the answers in each of the three cases.

Great teams each quarter learn what they could measure more effectively in the next quarter. They do a deep introspection on where they spent their time and whether it really went to the creation of value and to the best possible outcomes. So ask those questions in a deep way and then look externally: what changed in the outside world? What changed in the rest of the organization that would inform the objectives and key results you set into the next quarter.

Lookback & Learns work best when teams approach the conversation with real intellectual honesty. They use the conversation to think deeply and openly and candidly and clearly about what their best possible really looks like. They use data as a driver of decisions. They don't weaponize the data to prove their point or to throw up their hands or take their toys and go home. They really use data in a very clinical way, in an unemotional way, again, to drive the best possible outcomes.

And everyone approaches that conversation with a growth mindset. It's a journey to our best. We don't arrive. And so each conversation we have, each quarter cycle we have, is an opportunity to consider as a team: how do we move closer to great? And so the growth mindset is a really important ingredient in a great retrospective and even greater results quarter over quarter.

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