By Jeff Brunings
Have a fresh perspective on the strategic planning process with Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

Connecting the work of employees to a company’s overall strategic plan accomplishes a number of things. For starters it helps achieve the desired outcomes of the plan itself. Growth, profitability, new market penetration, recurring customers, you name it.

But aligning people to company goals and allowing them to see how they individually contribute, what they’re accountable for, and how they’re part of the bigger picture often achieves more than goals themselves.

Connecting employees to a strategic plan builds culture. It’s the kind of culture that fosters productivity and efficiency in both action and communication. With this comes improved productivity.

So it goes without saying that a successful strategic planning process connects employees to a company’s overall strategic plan. Staff is part of the process and they need to own their actions.

One way to achieve this is to use the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) process. It’s a process already implemented by Intel, LinkedIn, and other organizations seeking a fresh perspective on aligning the entire organization with transparency to a company’s strategic plan.

Originally designed by Intel in the 1990’s, but getting renewed attention since Google’s adoption of the practice, OKRs are essentially defining Objectives for the company, team, and individual. Being that they are both ambitious and a tad bit uncomfortable, as well as supported by Key Results that make the objective clearly achievable, Objectives are quantifiable and lead to objective grading.

The fresh perspective on this approach is to involve the whole company during Objective-setting with transparency and openness in a relaxed environment that fosters creativity. Most will want to set up company Objectives quarterly and annually. Driven by management teams, company Objectives are published staff-wide/company-wide to gather information and perspectives before being finalized. Once in place, company Objectives lead to team Objectives, which lead to individual objectives.

Pretty straightforward approach, right? Simplistic, maybe. But, don’t underestimate the time required to get it right. You’re treating your company as a family and each member is instrumental in its success.

Interested in learning more about Objectives and Key Results? Search Google and the company helping to drive its popularity. You’ll find lots of helpful advice. In our next newsletter, we’ll dive into Key Results and how to make them quantifiable and supported by objective grading. In the meantime, start thinking how you’ll approach your next strategic planning process with greater openness and transparency.

Jeff Brunings

With over 20 years management experience in multi-industry environments, Jeff drives customer experience by advancing the effectiveness of OnStrategy’s cloud-based platform and services.