In conversation with

Steve Spall
COO Tails.com

“Working out what to focus on and allocate resources to, then how to measure our effectiveness, was something we needed help with”

Steve Spall, COO @ Tails.com

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The situation

We asked Steve~ ‘What was it that lead you to seek our services? What was your challenge’?

“At tails.com we have hugely ambitious growth plans. Our goal is to change the world of pet food for good, and to get there we have so much we want to achieve. Working out what to focus on and allocate resources to, then how to measure our effectiveness, was something we needed help with.

We’d read the book Measure What Matters by John Doerr and recognised that OKRs could be a great tool to help us improve our effectiveness on driving change. We set up a pilot project using 3 of our priorities as a test, which we ran for a couple of months. It was at this point we realised that bringing in an expert to ‘health-check’ our OKR journey was going to be beneficial. We wanted someone who could understand us as a very specific business and give us bespoke guidance.

We wanted to learn about the application of OKRs as a technique; from someone who had seen and applied OKRs in other organisations to fast-track our learning and benefit from someone’s expertise.”

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“Working out what to focus on and allocate resources to, then how to measure our effectiveness, was something we needed help with”

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The solution

We asked Steve~ ‘What work did we do together’?

“The nature of what we do at tails.com – mass customisation on a huge scale – means we’re a complex business, faced with a set of unique challenges. Roger came in initially for a couple of days and spent time getting up to speed with how tails.com works, and well as spending time understanding how we’d trialled OKRs within our own very specific environment. He looked at how we could have used OKRs differently to deliver better results, and also what we could do next. He left us with a number of very practical and immediately actionable suggestions to allow us to get more from the pilot framework we’d implemented.

About 3 months later Roger then came back to help us work out how we could expand our OKR framework across the wider team at tails.com. What really worked well for us was that Roger worked with us to understand our very specific issues whilst sharing his knowledge and expertise in a way that allowed us to get a deeper understanding of OKRs and how they could benefit us on our journey.”

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“Helping us drive more focused change more effectively”

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The impact

We asked Steve~ ‘What outcomes were achieved? What was the impact on growth’?

“Roger helped us figure out how to effectively implement change and develop how we worked together as teams. We have now rolled out the use of OKRs across all of our key business priorities, which is helping us drive more focused change more effectively.”

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“Helping us drive more focused change more effectively”

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In conclusion

We asked Steve~ ‘What would you say to someone like yourself, facing the same challenge you had’?

“OKRs have been a hugely effective tool for us at tails.com, and I’d definitely recommend seeking the advice from an experienced organisation like There Be Giants to get help with implementing them in your business with its specific issues and challenges.

I’d be super happy to recommend Roger. His combination of knowledge and flexibility was invaluable. Through coming in with an open-mind rather than a set of predefined formulas, he incorporated our plans with his own ideas and experience to give us truly helpful recommendations.”

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“Through coming in with an open-mind rather than a set of predefined formulas, he incorporated our plans with his own ideas and experience to give us truly helpful recommendations.”