The Power of OKRs: How to Use This Goal-setting Framework to Transform Your Mindset and Achieve Your Dreams
The true Power of OKRs extends far beyond being s Goal-Setting Framework as it contains several
inherent motivating mechanisms. OKRs present any company with unique opportunities and that is
to capitalize on Objectives and key results as a funnel for strategy execution along with fostering
new ways of working that enhance engagement, collaboration, and ultimately effectiveness. OKRs
tend to thrive in environments wherein a growth mindset orientation is prevalent and generally
submits to a quick death within organizations wherein a fixed mindset orientation is the order of
the day. By carefully shaping the right conditions for OKRs to thrive as a leader and a strategist you
can transform your mindset and achieve your dreams.
Currently, there is a global buzz around OKRs and Agile ways of working, and rightfully so as those
methodologies, when effectively applied is more prone to result in creative, collaborative and
inspirational working environments. Command and control-orientated organizations, that refuse to
change their ways are generally dying a slow and painful death in some cases and in other instances
they are furnaced into ashes rapidly by agile competitors with high innovation rates and speed to
In the absence of:
- A compelling vision, purpose, and mission
- Stakeholder buy-in
- A positive and growth-orientated culture underpinned by a growth mindset orientation
- HR practices in synergy with points 1 to 3 above
- Agile methodologies and agile goal-setting methodologies such as OKRs can easily be rendered
Caroline Dweck’s’ work on mindset beautifully distinguishes between a growth mindset orientation
and a fixed mindset orientation. More about the book here:
As a consultant, business owner, and coach working in multiple industries across various cultures, I
have used mindset tests for the past two decades and a very interesting observation comes to mind
at the time of this writing:
Irrespective of intellectual capacity, practical experience, or background those with a fixed mindset
orientation tends to:
- Display an external locus of control – They tend to blame others or other entities for their
failures and avoid looking inward for answers and opportunities to improve.
- Raise their hands at meetings only to state problems without offering potential solutions
- Resist change even when it is a very useful and necessary change initiative
On the other hand, those with a healthy internal locus of control tend to:
- Look inward for answers and areas of improvement
- Not get bitter but instead get better
- Embrace useful change initiatives
- Volunteer when it comes to setting ambitious and inspiring goals
The mind has a powerful way of attracting things that are in harmony with it, good and bad.”Idowu Koyenikan
It would be very hard, if not impossible to create consistent positive results within the context of
a predominant fixed mindset orientation combined with a high degree of pessimism. As a result of
this line of argument we strongly suggest to not hire people for their skills and intelligence only
but more importantly, for their mindset and attitude, this comes along with the reminder that
mindset can be both tested and coached. (Albeit that the coaching of a transformation of mindsets
is no easy feat)
By deploying OKRs, you as a leader or leadership group are sending a powerful message:
We are fostering an optimistic view of the future and together we can achieve our desired future
This messaging has to be consistent with your actions and will only be taken seriously by all team
members if you are truly serious with this message and persevere, even when the ‘going gets tough
(and it will get tough).
Although ‘hope is not a strategy’ , OKRs send a message of hope when effectively introduced. Hope
is not a strategy yet a much better starting place than an orientation toward despair.
The success and sustainability of OKRs is highly dependent on the following factors:
- Alignment – Not only to the Vision of the company but alignment to effectively formulated
strategies as well as the company culture in a highly transparent way.
- Purpose and impact – it is a well-researched fact that people do not only seek a career but
also a cause and a community. Through transparent alignment with the company’s
operationalized purpose and by fostering collaboration we can provide those opportunities
to our team members.
- A growth mindset orientation and a generally positive attitude
- An outcome focus – a focus on outcomes for all stakeholders but especially the customer
fosters a motivating climate
- Change adeptness
- Planning – Do we have the human resources, financial capacity as well as the necessary skills
building capacity to achieve our OKRs?
- HR practices, from hiring to onboarding to skills building and rewards underpin all of
the above factors.
- Perseverance and discipline. Perseverance and discipline are not only principles they are
skills that can be taught.
- Relevance – are we outdated and merely playing catch up with competitors or are we future
orientated and taking leaps ahead of our competition through smart strategy formulation
and execution through OKR frameworks?