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OKRs Series-Part 3: How to Implement the OKR Cycle [Template + Article]

This is the third and last article of a 3-part series of articles all about OKRs.

In the second article of our 3-part OKRs series, we shared the common mistakes organizations make when implementing OKRs for the first time (& ways to avoid them). By following a structured process, companies can effectively implement OKRs.

What is an OKR Cycle?

The OKR cycle is a continuous process that companies follow monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually to set new goals, celebrate wins, learn from mistakes, and adjust the process. In this article, we outline the steps of the OKR cycle and how they can be implemented effectively in a company.

The OKR cycle consists of 5 steps as shown in the figure below:

Step 1: The CEO and executive team sets the company’s strategic OKRs that define success for the first cycle (for example the first quarter). We recommend collecting feedback from other teams and managers since they do operational work, and can assess what is applicable and achievable in addition to suggesting new ideas.

Step 2: Once the company-wide OKRs are finalized, each department sets its OKRs, in a way that contributes to the high-level company OKRs, and validates them with their head of department.

Step 3: The heads of departments meet and discuss all OKRs, map interdependencies, identify gaps, and align the OKRs and the teams delivering on these. We recommend CEOs or someone from the executive team also attend this meeting to make sure all OKRs are relevant and approved.

Step 4: With all OKRs set and approved, each team/department organizes a cadence for check-ins to track results and initiatives and conducts them regularly. Those check-ins allow teams to stay on track and adjust OKRs in case new conditions emerge.

Step 5: At the end of the cycle and before starting the new one, conduct a retrospective, celebrating successes and documenting lessons learned.

Then kick off the cycle again and set OKRs for the upcoming period. Some unachieved OKRs might be carried from the previous cycle. This is an opportunity to improve the OKR setting process addressing challenges as needed.

If this is your first time implementing OKRs

Before implementing your first-ever OKR cycle, make decisions on how, who, and when to roll out the new process. To help with this, we created a template outlining the key decisions to make while also sharing some tips and key considerations.

Download the OKR template here.

For more support on implementing OKRs, book a 1-on-1 consultation with us today.


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