How OKR facilitates reflection at work

How often do you take a pause to reflect on your work?

When we asked, some people said they never did. One popular answer is, they didn't have time.

Regardless whether it’s a valid reason, an excuse, or a slice of truth, we understand and sympathize.

Perhaps a more interesting inquiry is: Would you like to create time for this?

Do you want to make time for your team to reflect as a group?

Let’s explore one key practice within OKR to help you decide. That practice is OKR cadence.

OKR cadence is a meeting.

You might be thinking, “Oh my, I don’t need another meeting.”

That’s fair. We don’t like meetings without a clear purpose or intention; especially the ones without working agreements or assigned roles. Nobody should like them!

OKR cadence, however, is a facilitated and structured meeting for your team. Its purpose is to periodically recalibrate what the team should do based on where the team is at with respect to achieving its goal.

Its simple structure is based on two themes: OKR Setup and OKR Review.

During OKR Review, the working agreement is each team member scores his/her own deliverables, and let the rest give feedback.

This self-scoring practice creates a space to reflect. One must look back and assess how well or not well she delivered her commitment. It’s not only about progress (0-100% completion), but also what’s behind that number.

For example, in the previous OKR cadence, you planned to close 10 deals. But, it turned out only 6 deals were completed. 

Your progress is 60% (= 6/10 * 100%). It’s simple math. But, you may decide to score 0.8, where 1 means a perfect score. Your assessment is based on one of the six closed deals can lead to bigger opportunity in the future. Or, maybe because of that one deal, you strengthened your working relationship with another coworker in a different function. 

Looking back objectively at progress and subjectively at self assessment is a balanced yet powerful form of reflection.

This form also allows others to come in with appreciations and critiques, as feedback.

During OKR Review, the team essentially facilitates individual and group reflections at the same time.

“OKR provides us space for a group reflection, which allows us to honestly learn and quickly change course when needed.” –Letitia, a product manager in Vidio

This is a simple working agreement creates time to reflect as part of work. You don’t need a separate ritual to reflect.

Doing OKR cadence – thus, reflection at work – in a discipline way is what makes OKR work.

No shortcut. No secret.

In the next article, we’ll share how the result of your group reflection during OKR Review is a valuable input for the OKR Setup.

PS: This article was originally published as part of our Should I adopt OKR? email series. Click here to be the first to receive our next insight.


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