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We’ve compiled tactics, insights, and real-world experiences from over 10,000 OKR workshops into one comprehensive guide. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know to start facilitating impactful OKR workshops that leave executives and team members excited!

An OKR workshop is a collaborative session where members of a team come together to define their objectives and key results for an OKR cycle. These workshops are crucial for ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that the goals set are in line with the organization’s overarching goals.

In a large organization, with the number of levels and teams involved, it might seem almost impossible to make sure that everyone is working towards an overarching strategy. Simply setting OKRs won’t help your organization achieve its goals. Ensuring your OKRs are of the highest quality, aligned across the organization, and laser-focused on the current strategy is where it’s at. Only then, will you see the positive effect OKRs can have on your strategy execution. What’s the best way to make sure your OKRs check all the necessary boxes? By having everyone set their OKRs in interactive, engaging OKR workshops.

The purpose of these workshops is to facilitate collaboration, clarity, and alignment regarding your organization’s goals and how to achieve them. With OKR workshops, your organization can establish a framework where strategic goals are communicated, understood, and effectively executed at all levels. By the end of each workshop, every team should have a well-defined set of OKRs that addresses the organization’s top priorities, and each team member should be aware of their responsibility towards achieving those OKRs.

There are three types of OKR workshops

To make sure the overarching strategy trickles down into all levels, we break OKR workshops into three main types; Executive workshops, team workshops, and tie-offs. The executive workshop is the first OKR workshop that should be held for any organization. Every decision made during this session forms the foundation of your OKR program, as all subsequent OKRs will stem directly from those decisions. Here, the executive team sets the direction for the year, and ideally also sets the focus for the next quarter or OKR cycle.

After these company OKRs have been finalized and published to the organization, they should be localized down in team workshops. This is done in a layered fashion: L2 aligns to L1, L3 aligns to L2, etc. Therefore, no department or team will set their OKRs in isolation – there will always be context!

Tie-offs are sessions where team leaders between two levels, like those from L1 and L2 teams, confirm their OKRs and ensure they address the correct priorities. These sessions are extremely effective in addressing a lot of common problems, such as: endless OKR setting, misalignment, duplicated efforts and cross-functional dependencies. We go more in depth about each of these workshops in our guide.

Preparing for OKR workshops

Being prepared for an OKR workshop will make facilitating it much easier. For example, before a team workshop, you should always set up a 1:1 sync with the team manager. This way, you will be able to address any aspects of the team dynamic that need attention or clarification. Additionally, familiarizing yourself ahead of time with OKR examples relevant to the team’s area of expertise can also be beneficial. The team might even already have OKRs for you to look at if this isn’t their first rodeo!

Preparing for executive OKR workshops can be a whole other beast, as it involves understanding the vision and mission of the organization. Gaining insight into the organization’s current strategic direction and the underlying rationale establishes the groundwork for defining OKRs. This preparation is essential and will prevent you from potentially going down rabbit holes when starting with a blank canvas. Executive time is precious, so approaching the workshop with a hypothesis and draft based on input that you’ve collected ahead of time is recommended.

If you want an easy way to make sure you’re prepared for each OKR workshop, we’ve included OKR workshop preparation checklists in our guide!

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