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How Chief of Staff in Startup can Drive 10X Results with OKRs?

Being a Chief of staff in startup isn't an easy task. From managing goals to ensuring harmony in the team all is your job. You can run all these executives' goals effectively by implementing OKR in your startup. Read on to know how.
Sagrika Mehta

Sagrika Mehta

Chief of Staff in Startup

Whether you are a Chief of staff in startup that is funded or is boot-strapped. As the right hand of the CEO, you wear many hats. 

You work in harmony with the C Suite to manage goals and priorities in your organization. Your responsibility doesn’t stop at planning. You strategize, oversee strategic implementation, align and push the business forward. 

What if we tell you that…

You can run all these executive goals and bring 10x results to a start-up with one simple framework?

That is- OKRs

Doesn’t it sound like music to your ears!

Chief of staff in startup: Why do you need OKRs?

In start-ups so much happens at once. Even the best efforts can also get drifted and get fractured somewhere on the way of scaling up. 

As chief of staff in startup, are you finding it difficult to keep all departments aligned? Do you want to ensure your teams are working toward the top priorities? Do you want to scale your start-up at a 10x rate?

If you answered yes, use OKRs as a tool to fight the battle.

Here are 5 reasons why you need OKRs as a start-up-

With 3-4 objectives and 2-5 key results for each objective, OKRs help start-ups stay focused on what’s most important.

  1. It helps the CEO, COS, and other executive leaders to relentlessly track progress each team has made.
  2. It will save you from burning cash and energy on products that nobody wants to buy.
  3. It helps you validate business plans.
  4. OKRs are a cost-efficient and highly transparent way of fostering alignment in the organization.
  5. With stretched goals, OKRs help you scale up faster and makes your growth steady.

Take for example the startup Swiply which has had 10x growth with OKRs. OKRs have helped Swipely to hit a record $1 billion in sales. 

Insane! Isn’t it? 

Chief of staff in startup: how you can drive 10X results with OKRs?

chief of staff in startup

Below are 8 actionable steps with which you can drive10x results with OKRs as a chief of Staff in startup-

1Leadership and employee buy-ins

Leaders are the people in authority in your start-up. They are the decision-makers. They set the ideals that the rest of the employees follow. So leadership buy-in should be the first thing you do to make the OKR framework bring 10x results to your start-up. 

After your leaders are convinced, win the trust of employees on OKRs. The success of the OKR framework in every start-up largely depends on how the employees have adopted and adapted to the new framework. 

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To make the OKRs work, act as both information carrier and provider. Communicate to your teams and answer their queries. Help your employees understand how OKRs work, how the framework can impact their performance, and how they can “make life easier”. 

CoSs is responsible for maintaining strong relationships with key stakeholders and employees. Your role as a Chief of Staff includes connecting the dots among the CEO, Executive leaders, and employees.

Make the most of it to make make your start-up thrive with OKRs.

2Improve cross-departmental collaboration

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

A Forbes article stated that when people feel part of the team, they are more motivated. This results in “higher engagement levels, lower fatigue levels, and a higher success rate.” And directly impacts employee performance.

While lack of collaboration and coordination across departments can lead to confusion, waste your time, effort, money, and resources in your start-up. It can delay project delivery and the failure of your start-up in the long run.

Lack of collaboration and communication has been cited as a major reason for workplace failure by 86% of employees and executives.

With OKRs you can identify what’s most important, and use the right skills from people across departments to achieve the goals 10x faster. It also helps you reduce silos.

With OKRs you can bring your teams together, help them stay together in progress, and work together to succeed. OKRs will help you perform your duty of maintaining cross-functional connectedness and get your start-up work in harmony.

3Increase employee engagement

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” 

Employee engagement in an organization is directly related to employee retention, employees morale, and motivation. Teams that are engaged can offer 21%  greater profitability

However, in research, 71% of executive leaders confirmed that employee engagement is critical to their organizational success. 

With the OKR framework, you can improve or fix employee engagement in your start-up. The OKR framework fosters employees engagement with better communication, feedback. It keeps employees motivated and drives better performance.

4Ensure alignment

Companies that are aligned churn 36% fewer customers and close 38% more sales proposals.

COS is responsible for streamlining the strategic alignment to drive better and faster results for your start-up.

By streamlining your OKR development process, you can establish cadences for each team working at their own pace and requirements. And yet in harmony with the other teams across all departments.

You can also make shared OKRs a part of your OKR mechanism. And keep everyone posted on what are they expected to achieve within a fixed period with the framework. 

5Increase transparency

OKRs promote transparency in the organization. The framework makes sure that everyone is working on the things most important for your start-up. 

 85% of respondents said they will stick to an organization even in times of brand crisis if it has promoted transparency in past.

Since employees know what others are doing, it fosters a sense of appreciation among teams for other teams. Transparency makes your teams more accountable.

It breaks silos and creates a sense of belongingness as employees are aware of their part in the larger picture.

Employees with a sense of belongingness are 78 % more likely to have a better sense of well-being

You can consider using OKR software to automate OKR transparency at all levels of the organization.

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6Aim for the moonshot

aspirational goals

Direct your teams to a higher goal with the OKR framework. Steach your OKRs and make them inspiring. With each of these desirous goals,  your teams are pushed to walk out of their comfort zone. 

“When you don’t have a lot of data, OKRs are one way to talk about the value you’re going to deliver and what ‘good’ looks like.”- George Babu

With stretch goals, you can aim for the moon and the end result can be more than you expected as achievable. Make sure your Objectives are ambitious but not unrealistic. As repeated failure may lead to demotivation for your teams.

7Be the OKR ambassadors

Be the OKR shepherd in your organization. Repeat the OKR terminologies wherever possible in your communication with teams.  Be the OKR resource provider and conduit of information for your teams. 

Be your organization’s internal OKR expert and keep everyone in sync. Ensure each one of your teams reaches the finish line.

As the COS you can keep all the teams aligned and be their mentor whenever they feel drifted in any OKR matters.

If your startup is on a growing stage you can also consider choosing OKR champions for each team.

8Make goal-setting into a habit

OKRs are not a one-time task. You can’t just write and forget about it. It takes dedication and effort from each member of the organization to establish a OKR rhythm, where everybody knows what their roles are.

To establish an OKR cadence, you need to make your teams look at the OKRs every day, week, month, and quarter. Do it until it becomes a habit and a part of the work culture – your organization’s DNA.

Conclusion: 

Chief of staff in startup works as the right hand to the CEO to plan, develop and execute the company, deconstruct these goals into achievable tasks. And finally takes care of project management to ensure projects are delivered timely. OKRs, therefore, are a great tool for every Chief of staff.

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