A touch of start-up: How OKR makes our global company more agile
We at Frauscher have now been working with the OKR management method for more than a year. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results.
The benefits: It helps us to think globally and digitally, to align the most important plans with the strategy, to implement them faster and to increase transparency.
Intelligently mastering the global, economic and technical challenges
As a world leading technology company, dynamic, increasingly complex markets, rapid technological developments and rising customer expectations present us with new challenges every day. The balance between operational activities in day-to-day business and simultaneous orientation towards strategic goals is becoming increasingly challenging.
The rapid market growth of recent years has indeed opened up completely new opportunities and possibilities for us. However, increasing complexity requires innovative ideas and faster actions. We were therefore aware early on that new approaches were needed to achieve our strategic goals and to adapt them on an ongoing basis.
OKRs - a modern management/leadership tool
For us, innovation is closely linked to digital transformation. This implies the question of which methods make us more agile and help us to handle digital transformation systematically as a permanent state. We have worked on strategies and visions in numerous workshops - but nothing has really changed. Strategic challenges have been put on the back burner in favour of day-to-day business. It was not until a consultant specialising in agile management methods finally inspired us with the OKR method (Objectives and Key Results) that we were on the right track.
Instead of leaving our departments and locations alone with their own tasks, with OKR we have an agile framework that helps us to prioritise strategic goals and create a uniform understanding of the big picture without neglecting day-to-day business. We can now give our goals an expected value and have defined criteria for evaluation. It is not a question of meeting the set goals 100 percent each time; what is important is the direction and the dynamics, in other words; speed is important.
It is a question of pooling resources and ensuring clear and transparent communication. We focus on the most important goals for the following three months. Conversely, this means that we also create an understanding of what is currently not getting us ahead or is not being done. The Frauscher corporate strategy, vision and mission are reflected in our short-term operational planning.
How the OKR method is helping us at Frauscher
In my view, the sharpening of global and local OKRs contributes to a more goal-oriented, productive and transparent way of working. In order to quickly perfect the OKR method, we have organized great workshops with our partner Murakamy. Practical examples have helped us to develop an understanding of the method and to continuously improve our communication. This was done in line with our corporate structure and culture. After all, OKR cannot be implemented without prior strategic considerations. Although the method may look simple at first glance, the way we use the tool must be tailored to our application.
However, the learning process was far from complete: When I think of the first two cycles, they were a bit chaotic. We have recently completed the fifth OKR cycle. The result: we are making steady progress. In my view, the key to success is above all a clear and comprehensible formulation of the objectives. Our goal is to continue to optimize the method and learn from our mistakes. I am convinced that it is worth the effort, because Google has been working very successfully with the framework developed by Intel since 1999. Many start-ups but also larger innovative companies also rely on the OKR tool.
After the first OKR cycles I have identified the following benefits for us:
- Clear and comprehensible formulation of objectives and results: This ensures that we use our resources more efficiently.
- An increased commitment of each individual employee through a joint definition of objectives.
- Transparent communication: Every employee knows the objectives and key results of his team, other teams and even the CEO's company set.
- A short and clearly defined time frame for achieving goals makes us faster: A cycle always takes three months.
- More agility through independent action: Less monitoring, but support in case of any obstacles and problems.
I personally see a major benefit of the method is the fact that strategic goals can be planned in consideration of the daily business and can be handled by the team members on their own responsibility through OKR. The decision to use OKR therefore also led us to turn away from classic management approaches, as these would stand in the way of the development towards agile organisational design.
Instead, we have installed a global management team that acts in a structured manner and keeps an eye on all challenges.
I am proud to say that OKR has already made us faster, more agile and more transparent. Last but not least, the OKR method was and is also a support during the Corona period, as it allows us to meet the current challenge in a more flexible and focused way and, above all, in a more digital way.
However, we have certainly not yet reached the end of our OKR journey and will continue to report on experiences, progress and learning.
Book tip OKR:
Objectives & Key Results: Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr.