- Superpower #1: Focus and commit to priorities
- Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork
- Superpower #3: Track for Accountability
- Superpower #4: Stretch for Amazing
He sought to “create an environment that values and emphasizes output” and to avoid what Drucker termed the “Activity trap”: “[S]tressing output is the key to increasing productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite.” On an assembly line, it’s easy enough to distinguish output from activity. It gets trickier when employees are paid to think. Grove wrested with two riddles: How can we define and measure output by knowledge workers And what can be done to increase it?
Crush was a thoroughly cascaded set of OKRs, heavily driven from the top, but with input from below. At Andy Grove’s level, or even my level, you couldn’t know all the mechanics of how the battle should be won. A lot of this stuff ahs to flow uphill. You can tell people to clean up a mess, but should you be telling them which broom to use?
Connected companies are quicker companies. To grab a competitive advantage, both leaders and contributors need to link up horizontally, breaking through barriers. A transparent OKR system, as Laszlo Bock points out, promotes this sort of freewheeling collaboration … When goals are public and visible to all, a “team of teams” can attack trouble sports wherever they surface.
It’s not easy to predict the market for the conceptually new; we’d wildly beat our metric or wildly miss. So we switched it up. We began pinning our key results to deadlines instead of revenue or projected users.
Based on BetterWorks’ experience with hundreds of enterprises, five critical areas have emerged of conversation between manager and contributor:
- Goal setting and reflection, where the employee’s OKR plan is set for the coming cycle. The discussion focuses on how best to aligh individual objectives and key results with organizational priorities.
- Ongoing progress updates, the brief and data-driven checkins on the employee’s real-time progress, with problem solving as needed.
- Two-way coaching, to help contributors reach their potential and managers do a better job
- _Career growth, to develop skills, identify growth opportunities, and expand employees’ vision of their future at the company
- _Lightweight performance reviews, a feedback mechanism to gather inputs and summarize wha the employee has accomplished since the last meeting, in the context of the organization’s needs.
Dov has found a way to quantify seemingly abstract values like trust. His “trust index” measures a specific behaviors - the direct “hows” of transparency, for example. “I avoid asking people about their perceptions,” Dov told me. “I don’t ask, ‘Do you feel your company is honest with you?’ I look at information flows. Does the company hoard information, does it mete it out on a need-to-know basis, or is it flowing freely? If you go around your boss and talk to somebody more senior, are you punished or celebrated?”
To prepare for this conversation, the manager should consider the following questions:
- What behaviors or values to I want my report to continue to exhibit?
- What behaviors or values do I want the report to start or stop exhibiting?
- What coaching can I provide to help the report fully realize his or her potential?
During the conversation, the leader might ask:
- What part of your job excites you most?
- What (if any) aspect of your role would you like to change?
To elicit candid input from a contributor, a manager might ask:
- What are you getting from me that you find helpful?
- What are you getting from me that impedes your ability to be effective?
- What could I do for you that would help you be more successful?