How to Relaunch Your OKR Program
(And make it work)

Despite having introduced OKRs to your company, you might still feel as though they aren’t having as much of an impact as you had anticipated. This is usually caused by the lack of one or more building blocks that we consider essential for an effective OKR program. Here, we will dive into how to relaunch your OKR program with these building blocks so that you can start seeing results!

Relaunch your OKR Program with
The Five Building Blocks

By making sure that your OKR program contains these five building blocks, your OKR program relaunch will be more impactful and effective than ever before.

A Strong OKR Process

The structured, documented backbone of the program

Thoughtful Change Management

Clear communication and transparency

Engaging OKR Workshops

High-quality, outcome-focused OKRs that make an impact

Robust Training

A uniform understanding of the methodology

Dedicated Program Team & Active Community

A certified team to help sustain and scale the program

A Strong Process

If you were building a house, you would need a strong foundation, right? That’s exactly what every effective OKR program needs. A strong, custom process that is documented and made available to the organization. Every organization is unique, with its own set of goals, challenges, and priorities. You can’t just take a process that worked for one company and apply it to yours. Your OKR process should be tailored to your organization’s specific needs.

It all starts with defining your company’s overarching mission and strategic goals. What’s the point of setting OKRs if you don’t have an end goal in mind?

Creating a strong process also entails that your organization needs to agree on how you will approach OKRs in general. For example, how often should we set our OKRs? Three times a year? Quarterly?

In addition, the roles and responsibilities of everyone need to be defined and made clear.

By having all of these factors decided upon AND DOCUMENTED before the relaunch of the OKR program, your organization will have a single source of truth that ensures a uniform approach to the process.

  • What’s the strategy?
  • OKR parameters (cadence, success criteria, etc.)
  • Roles & responsibilities (program team, coaches, etc.)

With a clear structure in place, you’ll have the foundation for a successful OKR program.

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Thoughtful Change Management

Rather than just hoping for the best, what you want to do is manage the change associated with the OKR program relaunch. It’s essential to be clear to everyone as to why you’re reintroducing OKRs and revisiting the approach.

It’s important to find a balance. You don’t want to come right out and say, “what you’ve been doing isn’t working.” But rather, if you say, “we want to improve our alignment and transparency even more this quarter,” no self-respecting individual will object.

Thoughtful change management is all about consistent communication. Don’t stop communicating the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of OKRs. Integrate this communication into your onboarding processes, manager training sessions, and all-hands meetings to keep the OKR program top-of-mind.

Your change management plan should include various forms of media. In person training and communication is always preferred over recorded video sessions. This way, you are able to answer questions directly. Emails should of course also be included – this is a business after all. If you operate in a physical office, hanging up flyers or posters on your bulletin board is a great way to remind people of workshops or to update their OKRs.

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Engaging OKR Workshops

Ensuring your OKRs are of the highest quality, aligned across the organization, and laser-focused on the current strategy is paramount. Only then, will you see the positive effect OKRs can have on your
strategy execution.

OKR workshops are sessions where teams discuss, define, and align their OKRs with a certified coach. The purpose of these workshops is to facilitate collaboration, clarity, and alignment regarding your organization’s goals and how to achieve them. With engaging OKR workshops, all teams in your organization can set high-quality OKRs that feed into the overarching strategic goals.

When we run OKR workshops for our clients, the executive team initially sets the company OKRs. These OKRs are then localized down in team workshops. By localizing, teams are able to craft their own OKRs that make sense to them and what they’re specialized in while also driving progress towards the organizational goals.

Looking for a detailed look at how to run these OKR workshops yourself? We have a guide for that.

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Robust Training

Have you ever played a team sport, but with everyone following a different set of rules? Sounds like a mess, right!? Without a uniform understanding of the framework, that’s what an OKR program can be like.

The crux of many OKR program failures is a lack of standardization. There is a lot of information out there about OKRs, but it all seems to be different. That’s why it’s imperative that everyone in your organization is on the same page about what OKRs are (and what they aren’t). Only then, can you have a truly successful program. The best way to do that is by making sure everyone in your organization receives the same robust training in the methodology.

Everyone learns differently, and this is not unique to OKRs. Hence, world-class OKR programs integrate various learning formats such as on-demand video courses, live classes, written instructions, and more.

When organizations stop investing in training, OKR programs often experience fatigue and stagnation. Teams become lazy and start merely copying OKRs from one quarter to the next. Through results rituals, retrospectives and dedicated time for reflection, teams can consistently learn and enhance their approach.

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Dedicated Program Team & Active Community

Establishing a community of internal OKR coaches can play a pivotal role in driving cross-functional alignment, identifying misalignment/roadblocks, addressing questions, and alleviating program fatigue.

With such a community, your organization will have a far easier time sustaining and scaling the OKR program as the company grows. They will actively help your teams set, update and stay on track with their OKRs.

We recommend getting 5-10% of the workforce certified, depending on the size of the organization. Ideal candidates should already have a great understanding of the business and at least one year of experience at the company.

Your certified OKR coaches will be able to:

  • Lead OKR workshops
  • Train individuals and teams in the OKR methodology
  • Provide support throughout the OKR cycle
  • Be the go-to person for OKR related questions
  • Identify and solve misalignments/risks

The journey is ongoing

As you embark on the journey to relaunch your OKR program with these building blocks, remember that the key to success lies not just in the methodology itself, but in the commitment, collaboration, and adaptability of your teams. OKR programs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Tailor it to suit the unique needs and dynamics of your organization and explain the reasoning behind the relaunch to everyone. Embrace a culture of transparency, communication, and continuous learning, as these are the cornerstones of a successful OKR program!

We Can Help You
Relaunch Your OKR Program

If you need a helping hand relaunching your OKR program with the five building blocks, you’ve come to the right place.

Make sure your relaunch is the best it can be with our OKR Breakthrough program.

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We Value Our Clients And They Value Our Close Partnership

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Andrew Huxter VP Northern Europe & Growth Markets EMEA at ResMed

Wave Nine really helped us understand the “real-world” potential of OKRs and enabled us to build and embed them successfully into the commercial organization. The insights they shared in leading us through the cycle has really driven a change in how we prioritize and enabled us to establish a very productive operating rhythm.

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Jeff Rachlin VP Customer Success at Menlo

Wave Nine helped us come together as a team to create a shared set of goals, objectives, and key results. Embedding their experts into our teams has accelerated the OKR rollout throughout the organization and we have achieved greater focus and results. We really appreciate the support of Wave Nine and would recommend them to organizations looking to kick start their OKR initiatives.

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Khaldoon Al Harmi Manager – Planning & Development Strategic Planning and Evaluation at KFAS

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole Wave Nine team for their great efforts and support. You have been brilliant throughout; we couldn't have asked for more from you.

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Craig Snaguski Chief of Staff at Marvin Engineering

When we first tried implementing OKRs, we worked with another firm, but they didn’t have anywhere near the same level of engagement that Wave Nine would show. In the end, we got so much more from Wave Nine's expertise that it turned into a continuous engagement.

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Larry Sanford VP of Operations at GetSetUp

I was impressed by the Wave Nine team’s engagement from the start. They were highly responsive and they worked to understand our business. They came to serve as an extension of our company, making sure we were doing everything right as we streamlined our implementation.

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Nick Sullivan General Manager, Strategy at Kiwibank

What Kiwibank really enjoyed was that with Wave Nine, OKRs are such an intuitive system that makes you live and breathe OKRs, rather than just setting and forgetting OKRs.

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