Objectives and Key Results Model: Hooray, I am an OKR Master

Consultants should also continue their education and reflect regularly: How can I possibly improve my work? That’s why I completed an Objectives and Key Results or OKR further training course in September and can now call myself an OKR Master.

Again and again new methods pop up in the management area, which are “hyped” not only by the trade press but also by training providers as new miracle weapons. The extent to which they actually are, can often only be adequately assessed when one deals with them intensively. What if a new method doesn’t prove to be a magic bullet in this? Even then, it is often still worthwhile to work with it, because the new method of approaching and working on a problem often has a different focus than the traditional one and therefore often opens up new perspectives.

New wonder weapon: Objectives and Key Results, OKR?

This is what happened to me in recent months with the “Objectives and Key Results” method, or OKR for short, which, for example, was described in an article published in the Handelsblatt in August 2018 as the new “wonder weapon of modern managers” from Silicon Valley when it comes to implementing strategy, managing employees and increasing the agility of companies.

What I read about this method made me curious. So, as I always wanted to be methodically “up-to-date”, I signed up for a further training course in Objectives and Key Results or OKR, as well as training to become an OKR Master.

Contents of the OKR training

Topics covered in the intensive seminar included:

  • Why do companies need an agile and systemic target system?
  • Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) at a glance
  • Advantages and benefits of OKRs
  • How does an OKR implementation work and what is needed for it?
  • OKR architectures (pilot, area, team, management group, holistic, individual, …)
  • Scaling of the OKR
  • What are the roles in the OKR system?
  • The OKR Master as a central role (incl. certification)
  • OKR and leadership
  • Day-to-day business versus OKR
  • OKR and target agreement systems as well as individual bonuses
  • OKR and corporate/management culture: need for change
  • The most common mistakes in OKR implementation
  • Cost of an OKR implementation.
OKR planning process

The OKR method and the OKR model have been worthwhile.

And I have to say that the training was worth it – partly because of the intensive work with case studies,

  • how the OKR method can be introduced in companies and
  • How to align OKRs across divisions, functions, and hierarchies to ensure that all activities in the organization are aligned with the same and most important goals.

In doing so, I did not gain any fundamentally new insights, as I was familiar with the combination of “top-down” and “bottom-up” due to my project work for companies with Hoshin Kanri and the Balanced Scorecard, among others, and partly also with “management by objectives”. However, the further training once again sharpened my sensitivity for the importance of a short-cycle target agreement, especially at the operational level or shop floor level, which happens in the OKR method in two- to maximum four-month cycles. Therefore, I will certainly use elements of the OKR method in my future project work in companies.

OKR method has many advantages when used correctly

My preliminary final verdict on the OKR method is: The OKR method is not a new magic bullet neither for leading employees and teams, nor for increasing the agility of companies. However, it is a proven method for strategy implementation, especially at the operational level.

However, two things must not be forgotten:

  • Defining the objectives and key results alone does not enable employees to achieve them – sometimes in completely new ways. Therefore, working with the OKR method also requires a management culture in which managers see themselves primarily as empowerers and enablers or coaches of their employees.
  • It is also important to provide them with tools such as the PDCA cycle or the A3 report, with which they can practice solving problems systematically and largely independently.

One merit of the OKR method is certain:

  • It can be easily linked to such management systems or strategy implementation systems as Hoshin Kanri and the Balanced Scorecard, which are more focused on achieving the medium and long-term (strategic) goals. And:
  • It harmonizes with the CIP and Lean concepts, since it is also ultimately about continuously improving and enhancing the performance of the company and its employees.

Open Objectives and Key Results or OKR Seminar 2019.

Incidentally, in the coming year, i.e. 2019, KUDERNATSCH Consulting & Solutions will offer – in addition to its OKR consulting – an open seminar on the OKR method and how it can be combined with the management systems often already in place in companies, such as Hoshin Kanri, Balanced Scorecard and Management by Objectives; as well as OKR manager training. If you want more info about this than on the website, please send me an Mail .

Many greetings
Yours Daniela Kudernatsch