The OKR Podcast
The OKR Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

What Does Transparency Have to Do with Culture? w/ Mark Organ

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Transparency and Transformation with OKRs w/ Mark Organ

Mark Organ is a visionary who founded both Eloqua and Influitive and is the author of the best-selling book The Messenger is the Message.

In this episode, Mark talks very candidly about the challenges Influitive faced in 2017 that led him to adopt OKRs and the WorkBoard platform – they’d hit a growth wall and the great people in the org didn’t have great clarity on how best to contribute.


Their OKR program was transformational within its first quarter. Mark gives us a candid view on what that’s meant to the company, culture and to him personally.

You see fundamental change in a way that our company works together to sequels. You're listening to the OKR PODCAST, a show for leaders who want to unlock their organizations growth potential by leveraging the OK our 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 packnot today. Our guest is mark organ. He's the founder and chairman of influid, of an early innovator and a very exciting software company in the arena of customer advocacy and...

...really cultivating your advocates. He's the author of the Messenger is the message, a best selling book from late last year, and he previously founded Eliqua company that had a billion dollar acquisition. Earlier in his career. Mark's going to share his experience and his insights. Bringing Ok ours into his organization was something he'd tried earlier without excess, and last year he made another pass at it and had some really promising and exciting results in impacts. He talks about those and from a very personal level. Mark, thanks for sharing your perspective and your experience with us. So, mark, let's start with where the company was that brought you to the decision to use okrs and to to go down the path with that process and with the platform and workboard. What was the situation on how aligned the team was and where it was in its growth rejectory? Before workboard we had a lot of challenges. We were often not executing...

...well in our goals. Were not always aligned. Different departments were all focused on their own area. It's not easy to have a system where every individual is accountable for their results but yet the collective is generating results that they want. One of the things that came up from my direct reports was that we were not focused, and I was not focused enough, on driving individual accountability for people and Aligne. I was really looking for an answer and we try a number of different things before we discovered report. One of the biggest reasons why, which was workboard is because of the human element, I was convinced. So talking to the people of the company, they really understood what drives people with motivates people and have built that into their software and I've seeing a fundamental change in a way that our company works together to secles and how the aligned departments because of some of these insects. And one of the things we...

...really trying to do in the way we approach both the process and the coaching we bring to organizations and in the platform itself is really recognizing that while leaders of the organization want alignment and accountability and they need speed, they don't really get tremendous alignment and accountability and and speed without providing people with what I think of as the hand and glove to each of those things. So if you want a lot of alignment, you need to provide people with purpose right and if you want amazing outcomes those people, they need to feel the purpose of their work. If you want a high degree of accountability, you need to provide people with a high degree of clarity, and very few leaders are good at that. If you want a lot of speed, you need a lot of enthusiasm. People need to be fundamentally motivated and excited and are. The approach our coaches take, as you know, is really to help teams talk...

...through and identify what would be awesome right, what would be really amazing this quarter, and really bring the energy forward, bring their insight forward, bring through the possibilities. If you, as an executive, want a high degree of achievement, that comes from people consistently feeling a degree of gratification that their work, that their accomplishments really matter, that they really contribute to and drive the strategic priority to the organization. Right, they did meaningful things that were really valued and valuable in the organization that they work in. Individual contributors and or managers could have real productive conversations, but what might be possible if all the stars align? That's right. It really changes the nature of the conversations managers and their teams have, and the quarterly cadence causes that conversation on a recurring cycle. So let's talk a little bit about the impacts you saw right away in the process. What what changed in the first quarter that you use...

...the process and the platform? What did you see our first quarter fully implementing work? Port has been really excited every department we beat our targets. Our Services Department smash their goal by over a hundred sixty percent, and I think it's this process of managers working together to individual contributors, to imagine a brighter future and what we need to do in order to get there. And we did more than, frankly, anybody thought, including that anyway, thought was possible. On Accountability, we've gone from seven to eight, just one quarter. Generally. Going from seven like seven foot two would actually be pretty good results for us, but going up a full point it's very clear that we're doing things different and the employees experience it and the appreciate that. Marked sometimes leaders think that people won't want transparency, that they'll resist it, and there's an assumption, the wrong one in my opinion, that people don't want to have others know what they're working towards, and I think in fact it's just the opposite, where transparency enables and empowers everyone through the organization. When there's...

...a high degree of transparency and what each team is working towards and each person is working towards, we have more confidence in them, we have more trust that they're working towards things that really matter. We have better understanding and even empathy for the ambition that they're bringing to work each day. And I find that often the where there is a resistance to transparency it's a function of the absence of clarity and the absence of confidence that people really working on the right things. And so when you've got this radical clarity and full confidence that you're working towards the best possible outcomes, as you've as you've described, I find that the appetite for transparency goes through the roof right one. People now have a lot of confidence and they're happy to share what they're working towards and and as they go from seven to eight, as you describe, there there pretty excited to have that be really visible to others. And what was your experience...

...on transparency? And as you introduced, as you know, in the platform right everyone can see everyone every other team's objectives and key results. So how did that work in your sization? What did you experience? One area where we've made huge strides with the whole workboard process has been in transparency. Everyone can see what I'm working on, they can see what their department heads working on with other departments are working on and can see exactly how contributing to their individual goals, how they contribute to the apartment, how they contributes to the overall company. I believe that when you've got this environment of transparency, people are able to make the right decision. That's the other thing that's been very interesting about our implementation with workboard is that even in the middle of the quarter there are some goals that changed. Some things are different in our market. There's new opportunities and threats. In order for me to maximally contribute to my department and to the CEOS objectives, my objectives have to change a little bit and I think that's the most important aspect of transparency drives agility and agility drives a lot of top line bottom line success mark. When I think about alignment,...

I of course I'm I think it's phenomenally impactful in an organization, but it's not enough. Right. Getting everybody aligned on the strategic priorities is essential, it's necessary, but it's not entirely sufficient unless we also have a high degree of accountability for those strategic priorities. So just because we set okay ours doesn't matter. We really need actually week to week accountability and ownership for driving execution and achieving those key results. How has the combination of alignment and account of ability helped you move the organization forward and bump the growth plan up and forward? How do you think about that? The workboards helped us build a high performance culture here at influtive. One of the things that's consistently come up in surveys and exit interviews is that we've not done the hard aspects of culture right. That's one of the things I'm so excited about now is I feel like we're getting these hard aspects of the culture right and we're doing it in...

...a way that respects the culture of caring that that we care about. I care about so much at influtive. You can have accountability for People's growth and development. These things are usually reenforcing. I think that's absolutely right. If you think about what it means to have no accountability and no alignment from an employee perspective, it sounds something like this. I don't know if this work matters and I don't think anybody cares anyway. The alignment accountability are so fundamental to employees experience of the work they do, of the environment in which they operate. And then in which they work. And without that you have, I think, a real engagement problem. It's a way to provide employees with, or people on your team with clarity, with confidence that the work they're doing really, really matters and that you really care about it, that it's valued and it's valuable. And if you take accountability out of the equation,...

I don't think people really think that work is valuable anymore. No one's paying attention to it, nobody's following up or following through for really working on it, and then it starts to seep into doubt. Well, maybe my work doesn't really matter, maybe people don't really care. So the absence of Alignment Accountability are actually pretty toxic. They're not really bad words. In fact they're really, really powerful words in an organization. Mark. Let's wrap up. Tell us how you think about it now, and I know you've taken this a little farther. It's a powerful or potent process for you and you've really brought that into into your personal world. I love this, the story of how you've done that. Share that with us as we wrap up the podcast today. Yeah, I've been so enamored with this process. So we've implemented here at the company. I've started to do goal setting and alignment, Ok ours at home as well. But a great key results from that is I want my kids to laugh five times we're going to school bus in the morning, and so that's something implemented, something that cheat a little bit. I typically known, but real accounts I've really seen an impact in sort of the...

...rapport relationship that I have my children, and so sort of classic area where you've got some hard matures but driving some greats of soft results. 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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