In conversation with
“Encompassing the cultural change we were implementing we wanted to achieve greater clarity around the outcomes we were aiming for, whilst at the same time fostering a sense of greater involvement, collaboration, and engagement from middle management in the whole process.”
Ian Adams, Assistant Director @ Magenta Living
We asked Ian ~ ‘What was it that lead you to seek our services? What was your challenge’?
“Magenta Living decided 2 years ago to adopt and implement an OKR approach. Our first year was led by myself, with no formal training but having read ‘Measure What Matters’. It’s safe to say we didn’t achieve very much and little changed! In hindsight we carried on doing what we’d always done but labelling it as OKRs. We’d had internal conversations around what could we achieve if we did OKRs properly, certainly much better than we had been. Encompassing the cultural change we were implementing we wanted to achieve greater clarity around the outcomes we were aiming for, whilst at the same time fostering a sense of greater involvement, collaboration, and engagement from middle management in the whole process.
We realised that we needed some external help to facilitate this. We reached out to There Be Giants as we’d worked with Georgia Parker around 4/5 years ago around culture change at Magenta Living with our board and exec teams.”
We asked Ian ~ ‘What work did we do together’?
“We initially worked on benefit realisation of what we wanted to achieve through our approach to OKRs. We had training and development with TBG’s to help turn our corporate plan / strategy into Level 1 and Level 2 OKRs for the current year of the plan, and during the process learnt what OKRs aren’t! TBG’s coached our Senior Leadership Team of Assistant Directors throughout this process. In hindsight we would have started the process 3 months earlier and engaged our exec teams more. At the same time we started an in-house OKR Coach Academy with Roger and Georgia. This allowed us to invest internally on OKR knowledge with a larger range of people. We put 11 people from different levels of management through the OKR Coach Academy, and 6 of us are now moving on to Masters”.
We asked Ian ~ ‘What outcomes were achieved? What was the impact on your programme’?
“We manged to redefine our understanding and knowledge of what OKRs are (and as importantly what they’re not). We rationalised things of importance, that would drive real change and improvement, and from this arrived at an understanding of what a more robust OKR programme looks like and how to get there. It was important to understand our focus on willingness to change and drive innovation in the organisation, and to deliver and communicate our objectives for the new financial year. We also had our quarterly OKRs to take us through to the end of September”.
We asked Ian ~ ‘What would you say to someone thinking about implementing OKRs?
“It’s important to have initial conversations to define and understand what OKRs are. Don’t jump to the conclusion that they are the answer to everything. We learned early on that the temptation to “OKR your entire business” is fraught with difficulty. Do the benefit realisation work at the start and encourage positivity in the process with clear understanding. TBG ensured that we worked through OKRs in a way that would work for us, and coached us to arrive at solutions that would work for us; not a “this is how you do it” mentality and then walk away. Think of OKRs in a clear way focussed on outcomes, not activity – with evidence based on clear outcomes – we wouldn’t have achieved this without TBG support”.