Sustainable success through OKRS for startups

Most of us are inspired by start-ups that turned into a global phenomenon. It is a very exciting prospect to build a business from zero ground into an entity that is profitable and meaningful. Solving some of the world’s problems is a worthwhile purpose, indeed and can add value to masses of people.

The above endeavour does not come without a multitude of challenges.  Creating a minimum viable product, marketing, sales, hiring effectively and retaining talent, and coping with external market forces are only some of the elements of creating a start-up that the founders have to consider.

Most startups fail (90% of them), fact. There are however shining examples of newborn businesses scaling into sustainable, highly profitable, and global businesses. LinkedIn SpaceX, and Bytedance, are just a few hyper-successful startups amongst many that can be named.

How do we overcome overwhelm during the start-up phase of a business?

It is more a question of managing to overwhelm effectively than overcoming it. Challenges will always be there, it is to the degree that we meet those challenges with skill, planning, and management strategies that truly matter.

Inspiring all stakeholders with a compelling Vision and clarity of communication, setting strategic goal-setting frameworks in place from the onset, and creating aligned commitment amongst all team members can be a potent antidote to overwhelm.

It’s easy and purely human to lose focus on what truly matters when facing tremendous internal and external challenges. An OKR framework can be utilized as a highly effective method to retain focus and create unity and a sense of purpose amongst team members as they align their efforts towards a shared vision, values, and objectives.

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How we communicate, and how we inspire and reward excellence are also additional factors in combatting overwhelm and a loss of focus.

Do not forget to have some fun.

Especially where the return on investment of your labour is clearly visible, hard work can be very rewarding. Too much hard work without revitalizing your mind and spirit can have drastic negative effects on performance.

To maintain high levels of morale and energy it is essential to take a breather, when appropriate, and have some fun. Make a big deal of small wins as you progress on the path of making your OKRS a visible reality.

Define what fun means in your business and have it. ‘Different horses for different courses as they say.

Communication with an ROI

Especially during the startup phase of a business, it is a common mistake to get tied up in too many meetings of long duration. Remind yourself that it is only through action that we will achieve goals and make our OKR framework a valuable tool in achieving sustainable success for our company.

Meetings can be essential and effective yet it is up to us to make them so. Long meetings without an agenda and gatherings that are not aligned to the vision, values, and objectives of the company tend to not have a return on investment.

Enter every engagement with a clear timeframe, outcomes, and agenda in mind and you would be surprised at what can get done more effectively.

The danger is that we become too rigid and too restrictive in our approach to communication when we pursue a return on investment.

There is always time for a bit of small talk, always allow enough time for some fun, and enjoy the process.

Executive Summary

Endless and even unexpected challenges may arise during the start-up phase of a business. That is the norm., actually. We can position ourselves as start-up co-founders to be able to embrace these challenges through –

  1. Having a performance framework in place from the onset.
  2. Ensuring clarity of expectations
  3. Building a positive and collaborative culture from the start
  4. Ensuring effective communication strategies with an ROI

Talent Development Director of the OKR institute