Brett Knowles, Head of Innovation at Hirebook
Brett is a long-time thought leader in the Strategy Execution space for high-tech organizations, beginning in the late 80’s while teaching at Harvard and being involved in the initial Balanced Scorecard research and books. His client work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune and countless other business publications.
Pub: May 18 2021
. Upd: October 18 2021
OKRs are 20% technical and 80% social.
80% of the benefits that OKRs generate come from the conversations that they trigger.
The problem is that meetings are the most powerful tool in business. They are also the most neglected, underdeveloped, and misapplied tool we see in most organizations. (The meetings aren’t the goal; it’s the well-run business that we're after.)
Meetings do not happen by accident - they are a process like any other process in your business, and call for careful design, specific roles and clean execution.
The success of most meetings are pre-ordained in the "preparation" stage.
We talked about this a bit in a recent article (OKRs - Consistency Not Intensity)
Each circle in the "meeting cadence" horizontal line represents the meeting cycle we are presenting here.
Consistency in running these meetings is critical to delivering the sustained benefits of OKRs.
Let's look at each stage:
1. On-going activities
This covers the daily activities of your business - the stuff that your OKRs are covering. They fit into two categories: "processes" and "projects" (more on these in a later post). Between meetings you have to get stuff done. This is the getting stuff done phase - it happens before every meeting!
2. Gather Data
It might seem obvious, but before every meeting you have to gather your performance data. The trick here is to make sure your Key Results (KRs) are available at the same cadence required to manage that part of the business.
3. Meeting Preparation (the secret sauce)
This is where the magic happens. There are three major steps:
- Analyze (Objective Owner) - Analyze the last period's performance and produce your commentary. Considering the performance, write the analysis What / So What / Now What (analyze beyond the measure how that result was created).
- Plan the Meetings (Leader) - Schedule how much time for each issue, schedule subject matter experts and other roles. Set the agenda around specific problems for the meeting to solve, time allotted for each problem.
* Arrange for SMEs at the exact time you need them.
* Ensure required presentations are developed.
* Assign meeting roles (Time keeper, SMEs, Notes taker, Facilitator…)
- Prepare (Everyone) - Everyone has to do their homework - prepare for the meeting. Review all OKRs and consider how your activities impacted on that performance and how is your area impacted by the performance that occurred. Share any experience or insights around the performance with the Owner before the meeting.
4. Run the Meeting
Running the meeting is about sticking to the agenda, bringing in the right SMEs at the right time, escalating where necessary. Being clear who is doing what and when.
When all is said and done, more is said than done.
The second most important stage of the meeting, after "Preparation" is "Follow-up". It is super important that the things that you commit to in the meeting, are done after the meeting (and before the next meeting).
6. Ongoing activities
Now you take what you learned in the meeting, and committed to during the meeting, and apply it to your day-to-day activities.
The Meeting Cycle
The most important stage is Preparation. The lead-in and follow-up have to work too - but prepared meetings are about 25% shorter and drive performance up by about 20%. Both numbers that your organization would like!
There's more details around each stage - but this gives you the idea.
Photo credit - freepik