Hollywood can help your teams solve the right problems. Here's how!
Updated: Mar 8
In my last blog post, I talked about how Hollywood heroes such as James Bond and Marty McFly need a clear mission, purpose, and set of goals to succeed. The same is true of your company!
Mission, purpose, and goals can give your company the edge over the competition, but only if you're able to clearly communicate them to your teams, and only if your teams are aligned on the goals they're working on.
So how do you effectively communicate this high-level strategy to your teams? And how do you ensure your teams are aligned? Once again Hollywood has the answers.
When Frodo sets out from the Shire, his objective was perfectly aligned with the film's main purpose, mission, and goals. If the Lord of the Rings had a corporate strategy it would look something like this:
In this example, Frodo had a granular objective which helped him achieve the film's main mission, purpose, and goals. His first objective - leave the shire - had a set of measurements called key results -pack supplies, recruit a sidekick, and escape the Riders - so that he was able to tell with certainty when he'd achieved his objective. This is an example of an OKR.
OKR is shorthand for objective and key results. OKRs seek to answer two questions:
What do we want to achieve? (Objective)
How will we achieve (and measure) it? (Key result)
Many of the world's most successful companies such as Netflix, IBM, and Twitter use OKRs to:
To communicate the company's corporate strategy
To make sure their teams are aligned to the company's mission, purpose, and goal
To ensure their teams understand exactly what problems they have to some and how their efforts tie back to broader goals
OKRs should be written at every level of the company. They should have a clear hierarchy with each set feeding into the set above. Here's an example to further explain how a company might roll out OKRs from leadership down to different departments:
This example demonstrates how adopting OKR culture can lead to a well-understood company strategy and aligned teams. An individual working in Product Management can now understand what problems their team needs to solve to meet the Product Management OKRs and how in turn these are helping to meet the company OKRs. If each team succeeds in hitting their objectives then so will the company.
How to create great OKRs
OKRs are a commitment to achieve a certain outcome. To remain focussed each team should have around three OKRs per quarter. Each objective should, in turn, have around three key results.
Objectives should have a finite endpoint. For example, the kids in the Goonies must "Find One-Eyed Willy's long-lost treasure in time to save their homes from foreclosure", rather than "Try to keep the Goon Docks community together for as long as possible."
Objectives should be stretch targets - they should feel slightly uncomfortable, to ensure the team strives for greatness.
You should score objectives from 0.0-1.0, to provide consistency across the company. Anything above 0.7 is good. 0.4-0.6 reflects progress was made, but the team fell short. 0.0-0.3 means the team failed to make real progress.
Key results must be measurable. For example, Gru in Despicable Me needs to "Acquire one Shrink Ray" rather than "Figure out a way to shrink the moon".
For transparency, OKRs should be public, so others can see what each team is working on and how they're doing.
OKRs should be written by your leadership as well as by each team. OKRs from leadership help to articulate what they want to achieve. Presenting these to teams, before they write their own OKRs, will result in more aligned goals.
By asking teams to write their own OKRs you'll be increasing their autonomy and purpose.
You too can achieve the clarity of purpose that is present in both highly successful companies and Hollywood movies, if you build a company culture based upon mission statements and OKRs.
The Fab Few provide coaching on crafting mission statements, writing product vision and strategy as well as embedding OKR culture. We can guide you through your first and second quarters as the OKR process is established. Get in touch if you'd like to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org