5 questions to overcome resistance in OKR adoption

In any of our clients’ engagements, we often encountered resistance when introducing OKR. It manifested itself into this classic line — often delivered in a clipped tone:

“My team doesn't need OKR.”


“Well, I see no problem in my team. We’re already working fine. We don’t need OKR.”

That’s good to hear. It’s actually something to celebrate because most teams are hoping to work well together.

But, is there room for improvement?

We asked these 5 questions to find out:

  1. Do you spend a lot of time on group chat (e.g. WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack) or email to steer them in the right direction?
  2. Do your team members come up with their own responsibilities? Or have you been the one driving them?
  3. Do you wish you knew what the other teams are doing so you can ask for help when you need to?
  4. Do you spend most of the time talking (almost like a monolog) in your team meeting? Do you wish some team members would speak up or participate more?
  5. How can you know what your direct reports are working on right now? Do you need to call him/her up and listen to his/her explanation?

If they answer yes to one of the questions, then it’s a sign there’s room for improvement.

And, OKR can be a catalyst for improvement. At least, that’s what we heard from teams in Gojek, Vidio, and Midtrans.

Click here to read how they utilized and benefited from the OKR practice.


We don’t use these 5 questions to overcome resistance. We believe it’s more powerful and sustainable if people are aware of the current situation and want to do something about it. These questions are to clarify and help you understand how your team:

  1. Coordinate
  2. Hold their own accountability
  3. Collaborate with other teams/departments
  4. Run a team meeting
  5. Share their work progress

With that understanding, OKR can be a good option. Otherwise, it might feel like a chore.


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