The OKR Podcast
The OKR Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

Authoring Company OKRs to Motivate Great Results w/ Sameera Moinpour

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Authoring Company OKRs to Motivate Great Results w/ Sameera Moinpour

For executive leaders, OKRs represent a communication opportunity. They can provide direction and motivation, clarity and inspiration – a motivated, inspired organization wants to achieve its best possible impact.

 Authored and communicated well, OKRs help leaders tap more of the skill and will of their team. Sameera Moinpour, head OKR coach at WorkBoard, and Deidre discuss the assumptions and default behaviors that undermine your real intent with OKRs and how to unlock your team’s passion and possibilities.

One of the things they see executive teams do is write the objectives and the metrics in a way that matters only to them. Yeah, right, and they miss the opportunity to use objectives and results and targets as communication right to everybody in the organization. You're listening to the Okur podcast, a show for leaders who want to unlock their organizations growth potential by leveraging the okaur technique and other cutting edge strategies. While many recognize the power of objectives and key results, okay ours, to accelery outcomes and foster a growth and outcomes culture, there's a dearth of information on how to do them well and reap their full benefit. That's where this podcast comes in. Will help you learn to align and measure results pervasively, manage fast, to grow fast and, most importantly, achieve the powerful objectives you've identified. Here's your host day, dread packnock. Today my guest is Semirami, I poor managing director of client services at...

...work board. She's coached thousands of teams on setting an aligning objectives and key results and runs a very popular okay ore coach Certification Program that I think is enabled about eight hundred coaches in enterprises like work day in Microsoft, Cisco and emerging growth companies like malware bites and others, to help their organizations get better aligned on their best outcomes. We're going to talk about some of the alignment challenges that organizations have and in particular, this conversation is for CEOS and for presidents who are asking how to better engage their teams in their organizations in big impact and big strategic priorities. Samura, welcome and let's jump right into the conversation. Often will engage with a customer and executive who wants more accountability and...

...higher velocity results on their strategic priorities. And, as we both know, you can't have accountability without clarity, right and we know from our own experience and we know from HBR that less than ten percent of frontline employees actually understand how they contribute to the strategy. And in our work, and particularly in the course of your work with executive teams, how do you coach them to communicate objectives in a way that resonate with and actually motivate and engage people in the organization? Certainly it's not make the number or high performance team right this sort of the generic version. What do you see and what do you advise for each team? I think it varies. Right, for the executives, it's how do they communicate to their organization with language that really gets every person on the team excited. So, rather than just high performance culture, what type of high performance culture? We want to be a data driven, proactive team that's always doing our best. Or then what does that mean? And...

...then we can define the results for each organization, where the organization is today and what that means for them. But we want to use language and get the team really excited and motivated around the top level strategic priorities. Yeah, one of the things they see executive teams do is write the objectives and the metrics in a way that matters only to them. Yeah, right, and they miss the opportunity to use objectives and results and targets as communication right to everybody in the organization. Right. And it's the basic job of the leader anyway. Right, set the course, communicate the course, bring people all in that course. Right. We talked about means this word localize the objectives or the strategic priorities to each team, of bringing it into the nouns the verbs and the numbers of a given team. You do a lot of work in particular with development teams, with customer success teams and Sales Development Reps, and when they start to think about and apply and localize the strategic prioritis to own team, what surprises you most? I think they're excitement to want to...

...feel connected and to actually get the team rallied around some thing that resonates with them. Surprises themselves and surprises us. They're when the lightbulb goes off and they realize now, I really truly now I'm connected to the mission and the vision and my manager and the next layer manager in the CEO and for the Business Unit leader of this organization. They leave with a huge it's a huge victory. They leave with a new sense of ownership over what they're doing and they leave with a light in their eyes, really with burden and sometimes tears in your eyes right, sometimes tears too, very emotional, and they find out how they fit and why they make a difference. Exactly, and I think it varies for every team. To write. So for Dev teams they are typically known as and many people in the other parts of the organization see them in a certain light, but they want to be known as the most agile team around and they want to own that and they want to know why the product is really and they want everyone to know why the product rocks.

And sales people aren't just about making the quota. They want to know how they make the quota and they want to know why that's important, how it contributes not just to the number but to the overall success the organization. When each team can localize those nouns and verbs, it's a game changer. Right. So they truly know how they're connected to every piece of the organization. Yeah, and that sense of connection is in a really simple way. It's like why we come to work in the morning. Exactly. Like, what is success mean to them? Now everyone can say it. Yeah, I think one of the best tests of an objective and a que result is when you can say the objective and say the key results and you are so excited about that. Right. I I called the double shot test. Right. So if when you say it out loud, it's like you just drank a double espresso and like okay, I want to do that right, then then actually got, I think, the value and the potential of localizing strategic priorities to teach. Right. It actually motivates them to move forward and the sense...

...of ownership, as you point out, is Cathartic. Right exactly. I think then you can tap into not only the skill people bring to work, but you can tap into the will they have to make a great company, a great product and great outcome. Exactly. People are motivated for different reasons in different teams at different levels. Like think back when you were a manager. That might you might have been motivated by something else than you are now, and sometimes people forget that, and so it's nice to give people the opportunity to tap back into. Okay, what actually motivates me and what motivates my peers, and how do we actually motivate others as well along with this? Yeah, your you and I are in different ends of our career, right. I'm several time entrepreneur and founder and executive, right, and you're joined our company straight out of college. Right, it's the earlier part of your career. I hear a lot of executives say. Well, I mean this is just important that my executive team get on the same page. Right. I don't want to distract people with elsie, it sounds silly when I see that. I don't want to distract people with the strategy right or they...

...think that it's not important or it's not relevant to people at the I do, the entry level in their career or who are frontline employees, that they just do tasks they don't really need to understand the purpose of the picture. Tell me whether that's true for you and what do I mean? Obviously you work with a lot of frontline employee. You see how other people engage in and behave in what it means to them. But let's you personally first. Well, I think that's certainly not true and I think for me personally, I want to know how I contribute to the bigger picture of the organization, how we're going to be successful, how I know what I'm doing every day contributes to that and if I wasn't coming into work and I didn't know that, I'd feel a bit lost, like is what I just did really moving the needle, and if I had just no transparency into that, it probably wouldn't feel so right. Of course we have that. So I know what I'm doing, I know how I contribute to our team success and I think for teams they sometimes think that if they're just in the line item task in...

...detail every day, like yes, I'm getting a bunch of work done. But their fear and our fear is people who are new and on new to the workforce and learning everything we can. We want to know how we can be successful in the organization and where's guessing if we can't, we can't read anyone's mind. It turns out none of us can. Yeah, no matter how long we're in the work force, pro something we learned. Yeah, no, there's a presumption. I think that executives a great communicator and that everybody will just understand how to apply that right. And what we found in the hundreds of teams we've worked with to localize the strategic priorities and objectives and key results is essentially less than one percent of the teams that come into a room to talk about their strategic priorities objectives for a ninety day period and what the key results are. Less than one percent actually can do that in less than an hour. There's so much assumption, so much guesswork and pretty big gaps on what's the intent, what are we really trying to accomplish? And it all that tells me is there's really not a lot of clarity. There's...

...not a lot of alignment. We're not having a conversation about what it is we're trying to achieve together and how that aligns. We're not aligned. Yep, there's that simple life, right, and it's habit at the executive team, but it should be the habit at every team level, right, right, every group of people that come together thinking they're accomplishing something together, right, right. I think that that gets forgotten, right they it's executives will spend all day and sessions and then they go back to their normal job or they'll talk to the people they see that they sit around, or maybe their direct reports, and they have to rely on their direct reports to be effective translators through the organization. But if they don't quite under or stand, they can't. And so the sessions and actually this facilitation really helps them in connecting the dots and threading through in the localization really allows every team to translate the strategy to what are the results that their team is driving this quarter? Yeah, it's a whole new muscle, I think, and it's a muscle that think helps organizations actually make results their habit exactly. And when you think about...

...making results, to have it, like really institutionalizing results as the orientation of a company, big items there are we have to be able to measure and focus on those results if we're really going to make results. To have it and actually figuring out what to measure is actually pretty hard as well. Right, a lot of times people default to measuring an opinion. Well, I think we got right, which is not really measuring, and then, you know, reverse storytelling at the end of the quarter to say well, I think we did good. Right, it's not the same. But when you think about measuring and focusing, what are some of the best practice you see of the teams that really do make results to have it? What do they do differently than teams that sort of have deliver? There's a lot of kind of practices of best teams and results driven teams, and I think it's starting with the results. Every Monday. What are we trying to conflance tune back into the results were driving? And we can all see those as we're walking into work on our phone, so there's no question of where they are.

Who on of them? Where do they live? You can, I'll see them now we all know what they are and every time we meet we're not going to be on extraneous item, but let's meet on the results we're driving and let's remove the road blocks to get these to those results. Yeah, and let's continue just focusing hard on the results and making sure our work aligned to the result. If there's work that isn't aligned to the results, then that's a question. Should we've been to be working on that? Yeah, so let me ask you, since you are a results rock star yourself, you live a day without work? Word, absolutely not. I think every day you need to, and I personally need to just stay sane and to say live and to drive towards my results. And by Noah, work I have to do to drives to towards those results and whatever form and function is, because we're on the road so much, it's how do I stay focused on our own team's results amongst being everyone else's? And it's easiest way to do that. Couldn't live it a without it. Yeah, I can't go to day without it either. Right. It's yeah, what am I trying to accomplish and what do I need to do to get there? And that's...

...actually all I think about. All the time anyway. So I would just it's going to get it out of my head and into my APP and onto my phone and that might desk and actually drive my results around it. So that was great having an opportunity to talk about your experiences and the best practice. As you see it's, I think of the work we do with customers to help define an align strategic priorities as as holy work. Right. It's the most fun we can have supporting other people's success and helping every team in an organization connect to that success. I love it. I love it as well. Yeah, we are lucky we get to do this work. When we think about in the big context, though, in the big scheme of things, this kind of work becomes so important. Right, this process, this cadence, because the external market, the speed of data it, the piece of change is faster and faster and in less organizations can articulate their strategy, iterate on it, activate it through the organization and engage people in it...

...very, very quickly, and they can do that in faster and faster cycles. You're not going to be effective competing in dynamic market places, right. You want to iterate, activate and engage people on your strategy at are faster than the market. So this skill building, this ability to localize the strategy, to bring it forward, to engage people, to measure and focus on it, is really crucial in dynamic market places. You've been listening to the OKA our podcast. Subscribe in your favorite player so you never miss a moment. Thanks for listening. Until next time,.

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