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Supercharging your OKRs

by Mark Withington, on Apr 15, 2019 2:34:38 PM

In his book, “Measure What Matters[i]”, John Doerr extols the virtues of a performance management framework he calls Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as having four key Super Powers that help an enterprise:

  1. Focus and Commit to Priorities
  2. Align and Connect for Teamwork
  3. Track for Accountability
  4. Stretch for Amazing

Doerr cites numerous examples in the book from Intel, to Google, to Bono who have used OKRs to achieve remarkable results. 

Simply stated, OKRs are the coordinated planning efforts of individuals within an organization identifying the high-level objectives (the WHATS) they intend to accomplish over the year as measured by a very concise set of key results (the HOWs)… and then sharing those OKRs across the enterprise, both top-down and bottom-up. Timeline for Supercharging with OKRs

Doerr’s framework particularly Super Power number two, “Align and Connect for Teamwork”  leaves it to the reader to ensure the transformation projects and objectives requiring teamwork and collaboration align with the desired result (e.g., corporate strategy) necessary to navigate today’s [customer] experience driven and competitively crowded marketplace; a perfectly reasonable assumptions intended to limit the book’s scope and help it ‘stay in its lane’. 


Searching for car keys

In reality, however, we find most leaders struggle to define a meaningful transformation objective agenda and concomitant project portfolio that will steer the enterprise toward open, Blue Ocean[ii] often times defaulting to operational, status quo, optimization. Much like the poor soul who lost their car keys in Soho, yet is looking for them in Time Square, “because the lighting is much better”, this incrementalism does not address the CEO’s quest… and they know it.

Business Model TransitionA recent poll shows that 67% of worldwide CEOs think their current business model is only sustainable for five years at most — and yet they struggle to identify how they will transform their 1.0 Business Model to the 2.0 Business Model.

We believe this challenge stems from a combination of antiquated strategic modeling that relies on the organization chart as an accurate diving rod to new customer value and Conway's law[iii] that states, “any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure.”  In other words, looking to the existing organization will simply optimize Business Model 1.0.

This type of analysis takes the wrong perspective. Rather than looking retrospectively within the organization, senior management needs to lean forward toward new capabilities and business processes that will drive the transformation toward Business Model 2.0.

Accelare’s Strategy to Execution (S2E) process uses the concept of Enterprise Processes Modeling (EPM) as the basis of transformation rather than the org-chart. The EPM frees the CEO and their management team from the constraints of their current organization and creates the canvas/lingua franca that connects technology advances to NEW end-to-end business processes, & stakeholder experiences resulting in the project portfolio that creates the transformation agenda.


EPM: the OKR Jet Fuel

Using S2E to create the transformation agenda ensures Doerr’s OKR framework – particularly Super Power number two, “Align and Connect for Teamwork” focuses on the corporate strategy and Business Model 2.0.  Creating new connective tissue between technology advances and new end-to-end business processes, and stakeholder experiences sets the high-level objectives (read OKRs) which in turn will align and connect the portfolio of new projects that transform the organization to offer new business processes and capabilities.Connecting New Processes and Capabilities

As example, a large Health Payer (i.e., Insurance) realized that in order to increase subscribers and member base (i.e., customers) they needed to drastically increase their network of providers (i.e., their customer’s doctors). After failing miserably using their existing paper/fax based, “broadcast” approach, Accelare worked with them to develop a lightweight EPM that included a process family entitled, “Manage Provider Network” using the principles of S2E. 

During the heatmap step of S2E it quickly became apparent to senior management that their Manage Provider Enrollment processes were woefully lacking. S2E set the table to introduce a new business process called In-Bound Marketing, and associated technology by Hubspot[iv]which radically improved enrollment by introducing and orchestrating the Provider Enrollment Customer Journey. 

The Provider Enrollment Customer Journey identified the necessary OKRs to drive the project portfolio to an overwhelmingly positive result of onboarding 1,400 providers in less than three months. As a point of reference, the payer’s original, status quo approach yielded 63 new providers in a same three-month period.

   Manage Provider Enrollment processes

Articulating a strategy into a project portfolio that sets the transformation agenda and OKRs supercharges Doerr’s second OKR Super Power, “Align and Connect for Teamwork” and is the cornerstone of Accelare’s Strategy to Execution (S2E) process. If you are interested in hearing more about how S2E can help your organization transform into Business Model 2.0 and how to Supercharge your OKRs please feel free to contact us.

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[i] John Doerr, Measure What Matters (Apr 24, 2018 Penguin Random House)

[ii] W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy, How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant (January 20, 2015 Harvard Business Review Press)

[iii] Mel Conway,

[iv] Accelare is an authorize Hubspot partner, see

Topics:Strategy to ExecutionDigital TransformationEnterprise Fitness