Leading, motivating and achieving results through the OKR methodology*

In the face of sudden changes like the ones we are facing with Covid-19, leading and motivating seem to be two difficult actions to maintain. However, the OKR methodology, when well structured and applied, can help you and your company to achieve the results you are looking for.

It is not easy to motivate a team to achieve consistent results, and seek excellence to achieve goals; whether it’s revenue, employee retention, or customer satisfaction. And it’s even harder in the times we are facing right now. Here at Pipefy, we’re also going through this challenge month after month. But we seek to get around it using the OKR methodology to guide the growth of our company.

The OKR methodology helps us to develop the role of the leader as a mentor. He is also the growth and development driver of our HoneyBadgers. (That’s what we call our employees here at Pipefy).

John Doerr, author of the book Measure What Matters, is considered the guru on this subject. He took the OKR concept to companies like Google and Intel and believes that for companies to be successful, it is necessary to have the right people, reasons, and goals. But none of that matters if you don’t have exceptional execution.

Pipefy

That’s why here at Pipefy, we understand that OKRs are essential to help us create an operation that brings results. Therefore, we are able to accelerate the growth we seek. After all:

“Many companies fail to achieve their goals because they are not looking at what really matters.”

John Doeer

But then what is an OKR?

OKR stands for the sum of objectives and key results. Objectives mean the direction the company wants to take. According to the methodology, they must be significant, inspirational, concrete, and action-oriented. The key results, on the other hand, express what was (and wasn’t) done and must have a well-defined limit, mainly of time. They are aggressive but realistic; measurable, and verifiable.

OKRs are essential to show the entire company the direction it wants to go.

Therefore, the objective corresponds to “what”; the key results correspond to the “how”; but the most important thing is “why”, since it conveys the purpose behind the objectives. (A true and good “why” will delight, inspire, and align people with the company’s journey.)

And how can I put the OKR methodology into practice?

To apply the OKR methodology, it is very important that the team has a well-defined direction and knows why they are performing a certain task. The way people can build a growth mindset is by understanding the reason behind their tasks and goals. 

Besides that, it is crucial to involve the team and not just the leader, as he acts much more as a mediator of the discussion. The main goal is to listen to those who are in the daily operation to understand their difficulties, ideas, and objectives. At this stage, it is important to have evidence of what will be discussed and proposed in the short, medium, and long term, so that the strategy is not based on guessing.

Having defined the OKRs, the next step is to question “how can the team achieve what has been defined and what is the role of the leader in this process?”. To answer that, we bring to the table some routines that our leaders already have. For example, strategies from the sales teams that have a methodical execution with daily goals.

  • Daily half-hour meeting to talk about the actions being taken and their progress;
  • Weekly meeting to analyze the bottlenecks of the department’s funnel and understand what is helping and what is hurting the team to reach the expected results;
  • Monthly meeting to review all results, strengths, obstacles and set expectations for the next month;
  • Monitoring of metrics. It is good to have a blank board; so that people can write down how the actions are going and what is missing to reach goals.
Pipefy

I can imagine what you’re wondering now, how do I keep my team motivated? Well, to motivate the team it is possible to put into practice several actions, such as:

  • Celebrate each achievement (from small things to great ones): it can happen through a virtual happy hour or an acknowledgment during a meeting with the whole company. The important thing is not to let this victory go unrecognized;
  • Congratulate each of the team members for their achievements and recognize them in front of each other;
  • Take time to understand the motivating factors of each person on the team, so you can guide them towards their dreams and goals;
  • Lead by example and inspiration. Act as expected by the company and, whenever necessary, adopt a hands-on attitude to help the team.

It is not enough to have a very well-defined goals panel if the team does not believe in the objectives, or if the leaders do not work towards achieving those goals. It is essential that companies define clearly where they want to go, how they will achieve these results, and work together with the teams to get there. I’m sure that we at Pipefy can help you through this journey!

* written by Marina Agranionih, HoneyBadger from the Curitiba office, People team, and responsible for the Pipefy Culture team.

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