There is no way to escape it, leadership team buy-in when it comes to OKRs is fundamental to the success of the methodology. “If OKRs as an initiative don’t originate from the top, it’s vital that those leading them enrol senior sponsors who will role model OKRs to the rest of the business. It’s a vital part of standard change management and it saddens us how often it is still absent from OKRs at their early stage.” There Be Giants, 2019 OKR Report.
The benefits of leadership buy-in were fascinating to see during a recent There Be Giants client workshop. Here’s the story – the Switzerland-based client had tried to implement OKRs two years ago but with limited success. The organisations’ CEO then read Measure What Matters and felt enthused for OKRs again. Following the slight deflation from OKRs not working the first time around, the book offered clarity on the benefits the company was missing, such as alignment, cascading and culture. So, with an added belief, the company set about crafting their OKRs for a second time – which is where we entered from stage left.
The team had managed to write their OKRs but were struggling to implement them. There Be Giants worked with the organisations’ team over a 5 day period to create their playbook, 2020 OKRs, and align the OKRs across departments within the organisation. Here’s the link to leadership – the CEO was only booked in to attend 2 days of the workshop, but following the teams approach and buy-in, she felt enthused to join the workshop for 4 out of the 5 days! She even cancelled all of her meetings to make sure she could attend – talk about leadership buy-in! This driving force throughout the organisation is something we found inspiring and a real pleasure to be in the company of.