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With the rise of the OKR methodology as a goal-setting framework to help companies structure and measure growth, the need for radically simplified ways to surface insights and updates across every layer of the business has become more important than ever before. The OKR methodology is a great way to drive alignment and create a cohesive execution strategy, but for too long the process of trying to roll out this methodology has been broken.
While companies formerly tracked OKRs in google sheets templates, they quickly came to the realization that this form of structuring an OKR tracker template didn't surface valuable information in a way that was actionable. After failing to gain valuable insights from OKR google sheets templates, companies made the pivot to low cost or free OKR tools. While these solutions in theory could help provide a basic OKR 101 tool for employees, companies realized that these OKR tools were too cumbersome or complex for employees. A lack of adoption and value forced most companies to reevaluate whether OKRs were a good fit for their business.
While strategy and operations leaders were asked to get back to the basics of simply providing a forum for OKRs explained to the rest of the leadership team, the reality was that OKRs weren't the problem. Rather the process for how OKRs were being set, executed, and reviewed.
Here at Elate, we believe that whether you use OKRs or any other goal-setting framework, success comes down to three principles: people, process, and tools.
Strategy and operations leaders weren't provided with the proper tools to help roll out goal-setting frameworks across their organization. Until now.
Elate is the leading Strategic Planning software built to help SaaS companies communicate their vision, create alignment, and track performance all in one place.
Today, we wanted to share how Elate is helping leading companies build a radically simple OKR tracker template that drives adoption, engagement, and results with OKRs across every layer of your business.
Let's start by breaking down the OKR framework itself, and where tracking OKRs falls into place in the overall process.
When looking at OKR examples, whether those are OKR examples for operations, sales, marketing, or any other department, it's important to first start with building the objective itself. The Objective connects the specific job to be done or goal to be reached with the overall direction of the company. Often Objectives connect throughout the organization. While you don't have to create a completely connected structure from top to bottom, it is important to ensure that as individuals are building their personal OKRs, they understand how it is contributing to the overall success of the company.
Once we've defined the objective and why it is important to the business, we can add key results or the measurements for what success looks like. Usually we recommend between one and three key results, depending on the scope of the objective. These key results should be measurable, clear, and only entail the metrics that are directly tied to the objective. While there might be other results that are impacted or impacted by your objective, those don't necessarily need to be tied directly to the objective.
To help in building clear, consistent OKRs across your business, we recommend sharing a company formatted OKR template that can be used by all employees. This template not only outlines what an objective and key result should look like for your employees, but it also should include how you think about setting OKRs.
As we've shared in the past, maybe the most important, but often overlooked part of setting OKRs is first setting a universal standard for what OKRs should represent at your company. You might start by referencing OKR template Google Sheets that can be shared across teams or even standard google OKR examples you find from a quick google search or in reference to the book Measure What Matters. However, the overall OKR format you choose to implement for your business is critical to overall success, so we think about spending time thinking about this format, rather than simply plugging in a structure used by someone else.
For some companies, OKRs are meant to be attainable, almost expected. We work with companies that aim to reach 100% attainment of OKRs, because they set them as foundational goals that the company expects to achieve.
For others, OKRs are ultra aggressive. They are meant to be hard to attain, and success can be reaching 75% of key results for an objective.
From what we've seen across many of the companies we work with, they use a blend of the two models. They set realistic, attainable goals that they want employees to feel they can achieve, while also setting a few stretch goals on certain objects that give a little extra push toward overachieving on certain key results. The key in these examples is to help individuals feel as though they have objectives they can meet, while the company-wide objectives might be more aggressive. This way individuals can succeed and rally around the company objectives together. So make sure to include this background with your framework when rolling out OKRs.
Once you have a solid foundation for the OKR framework and format in place across your business, you can now move to how you implement an OKR tracking solution to help drive adoption and surface insights.
For OKR tracking, we here at Elate believe in one simple concept: make updates radically simple.
To break it down further, the value of starting your OKR template in google sheets is that it is incredibly easy for employees to update. However, you miss the value of surfacing insights and aligning team members in a meaningful way. Yet, if you try to move employees to a traditional OKR tool, then you lose the radical simplicity of allowing them to provide quick updates and challenges associated with their OKRs.
At Elate, we want to bring the best of both worlds into one solution.
With integrations to platforms like Slack, it's super easy for employees to quickly provide an update on any objective, and provide commentary or status changes if needed. Similarly, Elate’s robust OKR reporting and strategic planning features allow strategy and operations leaders to get notifications and alerts on the critical information across their business.
In Elate, you can customize OKR tracking to align with the cadence that makes the most sense for your business. Whether your company has weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly OKR tracking, Elate can be customized to reflect the specific update cadence that aligns with the stage of your business.
OKR tracking should be radically simple, yet extremely powerful.
As you and your company think about implementing an OKR tracking template, it's worth thinking about the larger picture of why you chose to implement OKRs in the first place.
At Elate, we believe any goal-setting framework, such as OKRs, is crucial to measuring ongoing success and setting clear, defined goals that create alignment throughout your organization. However, an OKR framework shouldn't be set just for the sake of setting an OKR framework. It should be tied in with a larger strategic plan.
OKRs are a great way to set the rhythm for day-to-day execution and performance management, but that rhythm has to connect with the long-term vision for the company. Elate empowers companies to connect the long-term vision with the day-to-day execution through our strategic planning solution.
Whether you are looking for an OKR dashboard to measure performance in a unified view or looking to implement an OKR tracking software, Elate is built to connect the results of your OKRs with the company's vision and direction.
If you're interested in learning more about how we are working with today's leading strategy and operations leaders, reach out to our team today for a demo. We'd love to share how we are helping power the strategic planning and OKR process for today's companies.