OKRs and the absolute necessity of skill

OKRs and the absolute necessity of skill

A long list of negatives can be attributed to the Covid era, yet at the same time the pandemic has also contributed to some positive paradigm shifts – companies are being encouraged to see their people as the most important asset and to heavily invest in ‘this asset class’ through skills building and other programs.

Goal-setting frameworks, especially OKRs – mentioned here because of their future orientation and aspirational character, contain several motivating mechanisms that help to create a more engaging and motivating climate for your people. The absolute necessity of skill, along with OKRs forms the bridge between strategy and execution.

Agile leadership and a values-based culture are other important elements of the ‘performance ecosystem’ that have the inherent capabilities to empower your company and its people to not only survive but thrive. Within the context of this writing the focal points are OKRs as a bridge between strategy and execution and skills building as a key component of the strategy.

Primarily companies have not spoken about their people as assets in the same way as they speak about highly valued assets such as oil, or property portfolios, nor did they necessarily have a strong focus on the long-term impact and outcomes of their skills building programs

Wellness programs, ESG, and DEI programs are very important and must have their rightful place within all organizations, but for some reason, outcomes-based skills building tends to take a small portion of the limelight compared to the media attention and c-suite focus paid to the other aforementioned programs. Strategic plans tend to not highlight skills development in detail and in alignment with desired and sustainable outcomes, and this factor by itself brings the ability to execute the master plan in question.

The Greatest asset within OKR frameworks is Your People.

We can only achieve our objectives through people. Shaping an Agile growth culture and a motivating climate are critical success factors to making positive transformations and OKR frameworks ‘stick’.

‘The necessity of skill’ highlights that sound strategy, shaping a growth culture, and drafting powerful OKRs collectively form a springboard for growth but the right collective skillsets within your organization are required to execute with excellence.

It can be both challenging and rewarding to ask people to ‘stretch’ beyond the boundaries of their comfort zones. To be ‘uncomfortably excited’ during the setting and execution of OKRs is normal as they are future-directed and ask us to change the way we work simultaneously. Objectives and Key results frameworks reach beyond ‘Business as usual (BAU) and thereby you are asking your people for more than the norm.

Setting goals within that ambiguous space between our performance ceiling and performance limit is an art with several elements to it, but here is the very good news –

With the right amount of focus, any company can do it, and the successful deployment of OKRs can result in unprecedented growth. OKRs and Immersive skills-building programs form a potent combination that can ignite growth.

A recent Boston Consulting Group article entitled ‘Your strategy is Only as Good as Your Skills’, reveals that a strategy can only be executed in a sustainable way, when the teams that have to deliver on strategic intent, either have the skills capacity or are actively developing the required skills capacity to actualize the master plan.

The traditional way of skills building was and is good but will not suffice within this highly volatile world we operate our businesses within. Generic training and coaching have their place but during the deployment of OKRs, highly targeted and immersive learning experiences of premium quality must be created in order to develop essential ‘agile skills’.

The prime skills required to make OKR frameworks sustainable and to exceed expectations in terms of meeting Objectives are, but are not limited to:

Embracing change

Managing resistance to change

A growth mindset orientation

Practical problem-solving skills

 Effective Communication with an outcomes focus

Creativity and innovation

Skills-building programs that form the backbone of strategy execution

When love and skills come together, expect a masterpiece

John Ruskin

A paradigm shift in terms of skills coaching and skills-building programs within organizations is required to make your skills programs work and to equip and empower your people to succeed in a sustainable way.

We need to design tailor-made programs that are lean, impactful, immersive, measurable, and outcome orientated. These programs must not only teach the prioritized skills that are absolutely essential to Agile leadership and meeting our collective objectives but empower team members to apply these skills immediately. Ultimately your people must experience personal growth that not only benefits the company but enriches their lives and families.

By Lean programs, it meant that we :

  • Stop wasting people’s time by learning unnecessary skills
  • Stop wasting people’s time with too much theory
  • Stop wasting people’s time with generic material that does not immediately translate to their e
  • Prioritise skills that matter in terms of actualizing the company objectives and that enrich your people’s careers and personal lives

By immersive programs, we mean that participants must be empowered to immediately and consistently apply their learning to existing projects, and by measurable we mean that the outcomes of the training must be measured in terms of value and sustainable impact.

OKR frameworks are ideal tools to align the skills that teams and individuals have to the objectives of the company. When you draft strong OKR frameworks, there is a need to be highly specific in both prioritizing and defining the actions, initiatives, and projects that align with the Key results and ultimately to the objectives within your frameworks. This high level of specificity ensures that you can, with relative ease define which skills are required to stretch beyond the norm.

Join our OKR Leadership course to learn more about Agile Leadership and sustainable and successful OKR frameworks:

Talent Development Director of the OKR Institute