How to drive innovation and business growth in 2021

by Jenny Bowes | May 01, 2021

time icon 3 mins

When it comes to the innovation process and driving business growth there are a number of factors that need to be considered. This includes frameworks and the cultural and human aspects of your organisation. Today, we’ll take a look into a number of these factors and how they can help you drive innovation and growth within your organisation, alongside OKR goals

A framework for business growth  

There are multiple growth/goal setting frameworks to choose from. For us, the OKR Framework offers a set of principles and practices which really help you to focus on your priorities and helps you achieve your business growth goals. One thing we always advise is that OKRs should only be used for growth, innovation or change projects rather than business as usual activity. 

The OKR methodology is driven by outcomes. So, whether you’re looking to increase revenue, visibility, engagement or performance, OKRs can provide a roadmap to help you create and achieve these bespoke goals.

Five benefits of using the OKR framework to drive strategic growth 

There are multiple benefits to using OKRs to focus on growth,  but today we want to focus on five areas that will really help you on your journey to supercharged growth. 

1. Focus

OKRs are all about focus. The OKR approach encourages you to focus or spotlight on your organisation’s priorities. By providing this focus, team members can design projects that really help you move the needle towards these priorities, rather than get bogged down with the day to day activities of every day. 

2. Alignment 

70% of leaders cite failure to coordinate and align across units as reasons why strategy execution fails. OKRs help leadership teams define focus areas, with their teams being empowered to design OKRs which align into these focus areas. The OKR framework encourages regular, structured conversations about progress, which tackle issues and interdependencies early on the process – therefore ensuring teams stay on the same page and aligned to the common goal. 

3. Autonomy 

Autonomy and empowerment is a really important factor when driving towards growth. You want your teams to have the authority to research and propose projects which will drive growth. By providing this autonomy you are also providing purpose to your teams, by including them in the goals for the organisation and asking them to help you achieve these goals together as a team. 

4. Growth environment – stretch goals 

To achieve strategic growth you need to stretch, not many businesses grow just by doing the same things they’ve always done. Fostering an environment where stretch is encouraged can bring about a wealth of benefits for your business. This drives your teams to think innovatively and create projects and initiatives that push people to achieve the business’ growth goals, rather than encouraging them to settle. 

5. Cross-functional working 

Cross-functional OKRs enable organisations to focus on organisation-wide priorities instead of working in silos across functions. The OKR framework is all about using the right people for each priority. By using this philosophy you gain the skills and innovative ideas for each project. 

Organisational growth is impacted by culture 

A framework for strategic growth is a great starting point, but this doesn’t of course take into account the human aspect of every organisation. It is important to consider the cultural environment of your organisation and whether it fosters the elements required for growth, such as autonomy, transparency, communication and a high level of psychological safety. 

One thing that is essential for a successful OKR programme is a high level of psychological safety. To achieve growth you need your teams to be stretching rather than working within themselves, and whilst this sounds easy. If your teams don’t feel safe enough to stretch, it is likely they will set key results that are achievable rather than aspirational. By ensuring your teams know it’s ok to fail when trying to achieve growth they are more likely to reach for the stars. So ask yourself the question ‘Do your teams feel safe enough to stretch’? 

If you’re planning for growth in 2021 and beyond, talk to us about how OKRs can help you and your organisation. 

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