How to ensure sustainable okr performance by avoiding three red flags

Your strategic planning session created hype amongst team members. Excitement levels are through the roof as you anticipate more growth than ever before. Your objectives and key results have been set only to be executed. Sustainable OKR Performance is foremost in your mind.

Suddenly some expected challenges arise but unfortunately, a slew of unexpected problems present themselves too. These issues start ‘chipping away at the initial high levels of excitement and change the team dynamic. After a month of failing to turn the situation around poor and slow work performance becomes a standard, and your OKR Performance suffers.

Learn more about successful OKR implementation by joining our free webinar here:

Register free okr webinar
  1. Do not confuse commitment with Excitement

For arguments’ sake, you have set a sales objective of a 50% increase in sales turnover for this quarter as you have introduced a very exciting new product line for which there is high market demand.

Both the new product line and the anticipation of commission increases have created a positive hype amongst your sales team members. Initially, your team is confident where OKR Performance is concerned.

Time reveals that there are product certification challenges that delay taking it to market. Marketing costs and related expenses start stacking up before one product unit is sold. Excitement levels start to wane as the realization sets in that the perceived commission’s earnings are not only delayed but under threat. As a result, the team’s OKR performance goes into a downward spiral.

Excitement is always good yet if it is not underpinned by a serious commitment to the Company’s Vision, Values, and OKRs it will start disappearing as soon as challenges arise.

Excitement is never enough, always remember that sincere and strong commitment levels combined with excitement form a potent combination in attaining OKRs, goals, and KPIs.

Build excitement through innovation and continuous improvement yet always foster aligned commitment through stakeholder engagement, a strong and shared value system, and an inspirational vision and purpose.

You can read more on the exponential value of commitments made and kept by management and team members here:

  • Lack of prioritization leads to a lack of focus.

Action trumps philosophy when it comes to attaining success, but there is fine print to this –

Prioritized and carefully weighted action is likely to lead to sustainable success. Action purely for the sake of action will not suffice and will eventually lead to a loss of focus and urgency.

Sincerely celebrate the ‘small wins on the road to making your OKRs and Vision a reality and specifically reward actions that realize the highest return on investment.

The Pareto principle applies – it is common that it is only 20% of the actions taken produce 80% of the results. It is the leadership’s duty to find out exactly what 20% of actions are that produce the most results and instill a strong focus on them. Using the Pareto principle effectively can vastly enhance OKR Performance.

  • Fault finding instead of solution-driven thinking

According to neuroscience, the average human being has over 70 000 thoughts per day of which over 70% are negative. As a result, it is a natural human tendency to focus on finding fault which is not necessarily always a bad thing.

As long as your company culture is of such a nature that team members are both encouraged and influenced to come up with solutions and successfully implement them, then ‘fault finding is actually a positive element.

Fault finding without the immediate application of potential solutions creates a negative spiral and does irreparable damage to the company culture over time. Simply do not allow team members to engage in negative rants without coming up with solutions.

When solutions that were offered by team members are implemented and result in success, handsomely reward them for their ‘results-driven creativity’.

Executive Summary

Challenges are presented when considering consistent and excellent performance when it comes to achieving OKRs and other metrics. Numerous ‘red flags’ can appear yet critical ones to address is –

  1. High excitement but low commitment
  2. A lack of prioritization
  3. Fault finding in isolation

Talent Development Director of the OKR Institute