I have seen Objectives & Key results (OKRs) help many teams overcome overload.
Teams that are on the path to meaningful work are aware of their team purpose. Yet, that alone does not solve the problem of prioritizing meaningful work packages and making impact measurable. OKRs are a proven way to do just that.
Here are the five main points to keep in mind:
#1: Think of tensions as positive
Collect tensions in your team before starting with OKRs.
Tensions are this stuff of life. Without tension, nothing happens. Tensions are the fuel for change, pretty valuable. Just like when you go to the gym: progressive overload, lifting weights, bigger muscles.
#2: Create focus on what is really important
Have some key questions in mind when starting an OKR session.
How can we focus on the “right things” to work in a meaningful way? How can we work together across teams to make the best possible use of our time? How do we ensure that we do not lose sight of the overall goal of the company?
#3: Be transparent at all times
See OKRs as a down-to-earth method to operationalize team purpose.
Objectives are set ambitiously and beyond the comfort zone, explaining how we prioritize work on a quarterly basis. Key results are measurable and should be easy to evaluate with a number. Be transparent on how you break down purpose in work packages.
#4: Appreciate negotiation
Establish rules for OKR meetings that ensure psychological safety.
Facilitate the workshop so that everyone gets a chance to speak. Develop priorities with “yes, and” conversations instead of “yes, but”. Prioritize no more than 3 objectives and key results for each objective.
#5: Keep OKRs alive
OKRs need to be relevant for daily work.
As a leader, bring OKRs into senior management meetings. As a team member, always make transparent which OKRs you are working on. Check every new idea for compatibility with your OKRs!
I hope you can significantly reduce the overload by keeping in mind the activities that are truly important and impactful.
All the best for giving it a try!