The optimal OKR Success habits

The Optimal OKR Success Habits

A habit is something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it.

Cambridge dictionary

Essentially, a habit pattern allows the human brain to rest. When you have done something repeatedly, you do not have to think about it anymore, so layers of mental stress are removed from the equation.

We keep being engaged in habit patterns even when they do not always serve us because there is some reward to be received from a particular practice. We know smoking is unhealthy yet rewarding – I feel calmer and more relaxed when smoking.

An organizational culture is nothing but the culmination of the collective habits of everyone within the business. A careful analysis of what patterns serve us and which do not can form a foundation for the sustainability and success of OKRs.

OKR Success habits

The primary pitfall of any practice is that once it becomes a habit (a bad habit), it takes time to stop. We can transform this pitfall into an advantage by ensuring that we make the practices that serve us while deploying OKRs habitual.

What are considered to be bad habits which threaten the sustainability and success of OKRs?

  • Negativity
  • Monologues
  • Long feedback cycles
  • Absent leadership
  • Controlling
  • Vague communication
  • Favouring a vast number of rules over a pragmatic value system
  • Being output focused
  • Failing to do resources assesments
  • Poor Strategy formulation
  • Poor OKR education
  • Misalignment

If we do not hold ourselves accountable, we can easily make a habit of behaviors that do not serve us or the company. A method that can support the building of ‘healthy habit patterns’ is to reward behaviors that support OKR success, such as, for example, regular check-ins.

This is where strong Leadership is a basic requirement to the Success of an OKR implementation –

As leaders, we need to be ‘living examples’ of the behaviors and habits that serve us and the company. Leadership habits such as being outcome-driven and executing shoulder-to-shoulder with team members are critical success factors in excellent OKR implementations.

As Leaders, we can initiate the formation of habit patterns by, for example, ensuring that the weekly check-ins are scheduled and that we conduct ourselves during those meetings in an inspirational way.

collective Habits that form a high-performance culture

How we disseminate information in an organization is a factor of high impact on both the organizational culture and performance. When knowledge ‘radiates’ throughout the organization through regular and collaborative standups, we create an environment of transparency and trust. When, on the other hand, information only gets stored, and team members need to retrieve it when they see the need, we are dealing with information flow reactively and less optimally.

The shorter the feedback loops are, the better – As the OKR Institute, we advise having pro-active weekly OKR check-ins and highlight that as likely to be the most critical factor of the sustainability and success of OKRs.

The Leadership habit of having a physical presence when it matters most helps to build trust among team members. The Lean management principle of ‘Genchi Genbutsu‘ (Go and see) is a pragmatic approach to leadership and management and prompts leaders to witness and take part in execution.

A personal habit I would like to share is to challenge myself daily by asking the straightforward question – What is Next?

This very simple question challenges me in the following ways:

  • What will I be doing that is new and challenging?
  • It helps me to challenge the status quo
  • It stimulates creativity
  • It helps me to think on what help I would need to achieve a far reaching goal.

Talent Development Director of the OKR Institute