Why OKRs are not your “silver bullet”.

by Roger Longden | Apr 15, 2019

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OKRs aren't the silver bullet

A recent post written by Craig Kerstiens called “OKRs Aren’t Going to Fix Your Communication Issues” recently popped up on my radar. To be honest, I couldn’t agree with him more. This is why OKRs cannot be seen as your “silver bullet”.

This may sound strange coming from someone who has founded a consultancy (There Be Giants) dedicated to evolving practice around OKRs and the benefits they can bring. 

However, one of the values There Be Giants was founded on (Be Real) demands straight talking so let me be clear. Nothing will change if all you do is write your goals in an OKR way.  And, if you have a low-trust culture where people don’t feel safe to speak up and be honest without fear of repercussion, then using OKRs will not change this.

I find that OKRs can be a catalyst for change though.  They can bring focus and determination and when that’s allied to a commitment to a regular cadence of conversation, you can start to see their benefits. 

This is why, when we help clients set up OKRs, we really major on the quality of those routines and conversations. That cadence is where the hidden value lies. This is especially true when they reflect on some of the principles within the ethos of OKRs: transparency, collaboration and candour. 

Sometimes, these might not be majorly present at first. However, as long as there isn’t anything which is blocking them and there’s a commitment to improve, then I find that’s enough to work with.

In summary, Craig was absolutely right. It’s not the OKRs themselves which will fix your communication issues, it’s the regular conversations which will do that.

Visit the link below if you want to find out more about how OKRs can help you and your business:

A Brief Introduction to OKRs