Tips to run successful OKR cadence

When our clients begin their OKR adoption journey with us, we often recommend implementing an OKR cadence. This means that each individual within a team or department presents their individual OKR, highlighting their contributions toward the collective goals.

However, based on our experience, the initial cadence can be challenging. People are still acclimating to the new process, and many may not yet be comfortable with the outcome-focused mindset that OKRs require.

As a result, the first cadence may feel clunky.

Worry not—we're here to share some tips to help you feel more confident and ensure a smoother experience during your first cadence.

1. Leading by example

In any OKR engagement, there usually is a Sponsor—the person who introduces and endorses the OKR practice within the company and is responsible for its implementation. Typically, though not always, the Sponsor is a member of the Leadership Team.

Now, a successful OKR adoption requires more than just the Sponsor’s endorsement; it necessitates their active involvement and understanding of OKRs. The Sponsor needs to invest time and effort into mastering the ins and outs of OKR—at the very least they need to understand the fundamentals of OKR so they can answer questions from their team members.

During the first cadence, while my team and I will be there to facilitate, it would be beneficial for the Sponsor to also engage actively. By answering questions from team members and demonstrating their understanding of OKRs, the Sponsor sends a clear message of commitment and they lead by example.

2. Group learning

A team’s progress is often determined by its slowest member. In OKR practice, the rate at which each person learns and understands OKRs can vary significantly. Some may grasp the concepts quickly, while others might take more time. This difference doesn't reflect intelligence but often stems from busy schedules and divided attention.

To address this, fostering group learning is essential. How can we ensure that the knowledge gained by quicker learners is shared with the rest of the team? For instance, during Office Hours—a Q&A session designed to help team members review and set their OKRs—if only 2 out of 6 team members attend and learn significantly in those 60 minutes, the learning should not stop there. We can extend this knowledge to the rest of the team through emails or other communication channels, ensuring everyone benefits.


These two tips have been effective for many teams in various companies. In fact, I see them as universal tips for starting any new initiative, not just OKRs.

What are your thoughts about this? Are there any other strategies you’d suggest to ensure your team hits the ground running with OKR cadence?


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