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Essential Guide for OKR Champions in 2022

Crafting and reviewing OKRs and getting the whole organization on board with OKRs can be exhausting and can lead to failure. But companies can appoint an OKR champion to solve this problem. Read further to know-how.
Sagrika Mehta

Sagrika Mehta

OKR champions

The world of business is changing faster than ever. Upscaling has become very difficult. Company alignment and employee engagement have become a matter of concern for every organization. 

OKRs can be your solution. OKRs help companies strategically shift and achieve hypergrowth. They can also help in company-wide goal alignment, and keep employees engaged. 

“When used right, OKRs can help devolve authority to teams and provide governance.”Allan Kelly, Agile OKR Coach & OKR Author

But crafting and reviewing OKRs, and everything else that comes along the process can be exhausting.  Moreover getting the whole organization on board with OKRs is hard.

Due to which organizations often fail when they try to implement OKRs across the entire organization. 

This is where OKR Champions come in. They help you with change management by establishing a culture of steady Performance Management. 

Also Read: The Beginner’s Guide to OKR

What is an OKR Champion? 

OKR Champions are the custodian of the OKR culture at the company. They ensure the optimal integration of OKRs into the company culture. They also help new employees structure OKR engagement.

They usually have the wealth of knowledge on the ins and outs of OKRs. They serve as the primary source of contact for all OKR matters.

They play multiple roles to ensure successful implementation, smooth processing, and optimum results from the OKR. 

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What Exactly Do the OKR Champions Do?

OKR champions

1Improve adoption

The process of achieving organization-wide adoption for OKRs can be tricky. In the initial stages, your employees will face many obstacles. In such need, the OKR champion is the person they can turn to. OKR Champions guide the teams throughout the process. They train and coach team members to ensure no one is overwhelmed with the new changes.

2Keep everyone accountable

OKR Champions hold everyone accountable and make sure everybody is doing their part to implement OKRs correctly across all levels of the organization.

3Improves implementation

They help you get the most out of OKRs not just during initial onboarding but also as the company level-ups. They are also responsible for identifying and eliminating any obstruction. And takes care of all OKR matters.

Also Read: 9 Benefits of OKR Software that makes it a must-have tool for hypergrowth

4Ensures clarity regarding priorities

They help employees Laser focus on priorities and make sure no one falls behind. 

5They maintain OKR transparency

Transparency creates motivation and a sense of appreciation for other people’s work. For example, a salesperson would be able to appreciate what the marketing people are doing and vice versa. It also keeps the employees accountable.

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Why do you need to build a team of OKR champions?

Introducing OKRs also implies introducing a new way of working. You will need many eyes and hands for the proper adoption and functioning of the OKR system.

That’s why you need a team of OKR champions rather than one person.

You can see this team of OKR champions as ambassadors representing different functions and teams. They help you create the right mechanism for an effective OKR rollout. 

These representatives are familiar with their team’s way of functioning and their workflow. And thus are better eligible to articulate and assist their teams in writing their respective OKRs.

Building a team of OKR champions will thus ensure all departments are brought along on the journey.

They will help the teams understand the various interdependencies among the different teams. And inculcate a sense of support and collaboration within the teams.

They work as a coach, an evangelist, and a mentor to the teams and amplify the OKR performance across the entire organization.

A team of OKR champions can give the teams a sense of direction. They help the teams understand and appreciate how their work can impact the company’s vision and mission.

They also build and establish OKR culture across the organization. 

Read our blog: 5 Tips On How To Run An Effective OKR Progress Review

Actions that help OKR champion successfully implement OKRs

OKR champion successfully implement OKRs

OKR champions are the ones who have the motivation and weekly cadence of measuring OKRs. They are also amazingly great at upward management. 

“‘Listen to understand’ is the mantra every OKR-champion should have.”-Christina Lange, OKR Coach & Speaker 

Here is a checklist of actions that help OKR champions successfully implement OKRs

  • Put strategic thinking behind measuring OKRs set at the team and departmental levels. 
  • Make a pilot project on one level or with one team first
  • Identify urgent goals and prioritize them strategically.
  • run and drive the OKR commit meetings and win meetings on a periodic basis.
  • Run regular check-ins
  • Establish a timeline for the planning
  • Hold OKR workshops.
  • Inculcate a learner’s mindset among employees to reach a larger purpose.
  • Ensure cross-functional coordination among teams
  • Define expectations clearly.
  • Ensuring transparency on OKR matters across the organization.
  • Leverage technology to Implement OKRs in the daily work life of the teams.

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Steps OKR champions can take for a successful OKR rollout

OKR champions methodology

To guide you through the process, here are 6 basic steps you must take for a successful OKR rollout- 

1Know the vision and mission

Get familiar with the vision and take an employee’s pulse. Understand the vision and mission of the organization to be able to make it the driving force. It will also help you answer the “why OKRs?” and “what’s in it for me?”- questions every team member will have at the beginning of the process

2Involve the C-suite

Bring the C-suite to your team. Keep the executes informed about what and how you are going to go about the whole process.

3Ensure proper communication

Decide how you are going to communicate the process to your team members. Understand their context and need to help them better embrace the new changes.

4Regular check ins

Do regular check-ins with your team members and stakeholders. This will help you understand their views and the challenges they are facing in the process. And you will be better equipped to empower them.

5Maintain transparency

Provide your team members with the right information and resources and make them easily accessible for all. Be their point of contact and their technical assistance.

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6Take feedbacks

Establish a system of feedback to understand what working and what isn’t. And make changes when needed. It will also help you keep the OKR system refined and updated. 

But the steps may vary from organization to organization depending on the size and need of the organization. 

Let’s understand it with an example-

Ralph, as an OKR champion, starts by checking the pulse of how confident the employees are feeling in achieving the milestones that are planned for the week.

This is the moment when the complete collaboration is in front of your eyes. This is also the time when the team is able to understand at the task level what is more important and what has to be prioritized at delivered for the week.

And when the teams work hard on achieving the milestones, he ends the week with an OKR win celebration and shout-outs to rejoice in all the deliverables that the team has been able to deliver.

Things OKR Champions should do regularly

An OKR champion plays different roles in different situations. To establish an OKR culture and run the OKR rollout smoothly, here is a list of things OKR Champions should do regularly-

  • Understand and evaluate the challenges & the needs of the employees to offer the best solution.
  • Measure and check the updates and progress frequently with the help of an OKR tool.
  • Stay updated regarding new OKR practices.

Conclusion

Thus the OKR champions help improve the quality of the OKRs cycle over the cycle and improve its implementation and adaption at every level of the organization.

They work as a catalyst for improving buy-ins and team collaboration.

They cut across organizational boundaries, move across different functions, and help all team members to move collectively towards the common organizational goal.

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