“Strategy.” Is there a consulting firm, research shop, or service-oriented business who doesn’t claim to have mastered “strategy?” It’s an alluring word, because it makes a bold promise. Having a strategy means you’ve combed through the data, thought about it, and developed a solid plan. A “strategy” is totally actionable.
Action means direction, and direction helps clarify priorities. We’re constantly looking for the right strategies to apply to our work. To say it’s important is an understatement. Strategy is the most important thing. It is the only thing.
But what does that actually mean? How do you break something so big into manageable parts? And, how do you turn the strategy into action? In a prior post, we covered Lab5’s latest mission: to use Axy OKR to set performance goals and align our whole team.
In this post, we’ll discuss how strategy filters down from the top through the use of OKRs. Take a look at how we’ve devised winning strategies that make clients happy and make our work valuable.
The goal-setting process
Lab5 uses our OKR tool to steer our entire business strategy. We zoom out as far as possible, and then work our way toward individual goal-setting. What that means is setting company goals for the year first — these are the big things we want to achieve like growth, the launch of new products, etc. Then, we break the year into quarters so we have an accurate picture of what we need to achieve each quarter in order to reach those big company goals.
Once the high-level goals are set in stone, we can set team goals for each quarter. What role does each team have to play in hitting quarterly targets for the company? From there, it’s up to each team to set individual goals that contribute to the quarterly team directive.
In this manner, we ensure that individual goals also support goals all the way up the ladder while also giving teams the responsibility of determining their contribution and ensuring their buy-in.
Once objectives are set company-wide, team-wide, and individually, the team gets to work with a clear direction. Everyone knows what to prioritize when it comes to work each day. Managers know what to check in on with their reports and our leadership has complete visibility into progress within the Axy OKR tool, ensuring there are no surprises.
A look at Lab5’s OKR process
To get a better understanding of what we mean, here are some screenshots, accompanied by a short explanation.
We track our individual progress, but how does it map back to the team? In this tree view, we can see how the company goals are filtering down to the individual level, and how close we are to hitting our targets. This view helps individual contributors see how their work aligns with our overall goals. It also helps management see who might need some extra support, and who is working on the same workstream who might be able to provide that support.
When it comes to objectives, we have complete visibility. We can track whether an objective is on-track, behind, or has already been achieved based on the weekly updates our team provides. At a moment’s glance, we can see the objective’s status as it stands in relation to the parent key result, the company goal, and its current progress. Each owner is accountable for getting the objective across the finish line, and management has clarity around how things are moving along.
When our result automation is turned on, our system pulls in data directly from Salesforce reports. In this case, since we use opportunities to track deals, a real-time report on opportunities can be linked to the key result so the chart calculates automatically. Here it is telling us that we’ve reached 78% of our goal to hit $10.4 million by the end of the quarter. This simple view saves us from doing complicated data transfer and manual calculation, while leveraging data we’re already entering as part of our regular business operations. We save countless hours each week while our progress calculations are guaranteed to be accurate, as long as the data behind it is in Salesforce.
The bottom line
We’ve revamped the way we work and how we think about our strategy at Lab5. It took the right tools and an intentional goal-setting strategy to make a positive change. Using Axy OKR, we’ve been able to align our team from top to bottom, so that everyone understands both their individual strategy for the quarter, as well as the overall strategy we’re using to move the business forward. If you struggle with aligning your team on strategy, measuring your progress, or getting everyone to focus on what matters, it’s possible that Axy OKR can remove the blockers standing in your way.
At Lab5, we’ve helped teams transform their business strategy using OKRs and other reporting and analytics tools. If your team would like to learn more about implementing Axy OKR with Lab5, get in touch.