8 minute read – Posted by – October 25, 2016

How to refocus your company in 5 days

For many leaders, the idea of getting everybody in the organization coordinate their goal setting is difficult to imagine.

Do you get everybody in a room together? How do you make sure that they don’t overlap? Luckily, this is something we know a thing or two about. We do it ourselves and help others to do it every day.

Over the years at 7Geese, we like to think we’ve perfected the process. We’ve designed a 5-day sprint which is simple and repeatable. We’ve stress tested it ourselves. Every employee and team at 7Geese repeats the process each quarter. Our Customer Success team have coached over 500 organizations in the process. In this blog, we wanted to share it with you.

Before we get onto the 5-day review and reset sprint, we’ll to take a moment to explain how we structure OKRs.

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Fixed Time OKRs.

All our OKRs are time-boxed to last one quarter. Everyone’s OKRs start and end at the same time. We prefer this system because we’ve found it builds a sense of camaraderie and team spirit. Time-boxed objectives force us as a team to be rigorous in our goal setting.

Let’s imagine you are a customer success team and you want to improve client satisfaction.

If you allowed your OKRs to last any length of time, the question you are asking your team is very broad. E.g. “what do you think we should do to improve client satisfaction, and how long will it take?”.

However, with fixed time OKRs, the question you are asking your team is very focused. “What is the most effective way to improve client satisfaction in 12 weeks”.

Dedicated Review, Reflect and Refocus Week.

Most leaders balk at the idea of “a week off”, but that is to misunderstand how we use these 5 days.

The way we see it, every 7Geese is trusted to take on the projects they deem most effective to hit their quarterly objectives. We also recognize the need to review the results of those projects.To analyze the effectiveness, to learn and improve. By making this review time a part of how 7Geese structures its quarters, we’ve built a self-correcting organization. This eliminates frustrating “lessons learned” and project “post-mortems”. We’re always reviewing and improving, we just condense it into one important week. We call it Geese week. At the end of this post is a detailed day-by-day breakdown of tasks, but so start with I’ll explain the process more generally.

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Geese Week Overview.

Step one: The CEO sets the Company OKRs. These are the top business aims and set for one quarter. Once finalized, they are posted publicly for everybody to read. We use 7Geese, but many companies use Confluence or Google Docs.

Step Two: Department Heads craft and proposes departmental OKRs that support company OKRs. Each department head meets with the CEO for their individual ‘1-on-1’ meeting. They discuss and finalize the department head’s proposed objectives.

Step Three: Department heads to meet with their immediate reports, where their reports propose, discuss and agree their own objectives.

This process continues until everyone in the organization has set their OKRs.

The most important aspect of the OKR setting process is that each individual proposes and sets their own objectives and key results, and decides by assessing what objectives support the OKR above them. OKRs should not be dictated downward by a manager.

This is a deliberate mechanism that empowers employees to own an important objective that always maps to the company’s top-level aims. By following the chain of OKRs upwards, all employees can see how they contribute to their company’s success.

One-on-one agenda.

To make this process run more smoothly, we use the “Quarterly 1-on-1 templates” within the 7Geese app. These act as boilerplate agendas for OKR setting conversations.

The quarterly 1-on-1 agenda always includes a review of the previous quarter’s OKRs progress; successes and improvements needed, and the team members role of proposing their new objectives for the quarter ahead.

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The day-by-day breakdown.

This breakdown is ideal for companies with fewer than 50 employees or departments of up to 50 employees where the company objectives have already been set.

Monday

  • Top level (company or departmental) OKRs are made public.
  • Department head shares the finalized department OKRs with all members.
  • Department managers prepare their OKRs for tomorrow’s one-on-ones.

Using the Customer Satisfaction example, a simple Department Objective might be “Increase customer satisfaction”. And for Key Results; how we measure success are “Increase Net Promoter Score 50%”. “50% fewer support tickets”.

Tuesday.

  • Department managers hold their one-on-ones with their boss.
  • Department managers finalize and make public their new objectives.

Wednesday.

  • Team leads, team members create their objectives.
  • Team leads and members begin to hold one-on-ones.

Thursday.

  • Team leads and members begin to hold one-on-ones.
  • All departmental OKRs are made public in public.

Friday.

  • Friday morning, the department OKRs are reviewed. We use Slack to communicate and made any adjustment, although these are rare and often minor.
  • Friday afternoon; company all hands.

Finalizing Geese Week.

It’s important to clearly communicate that the OKR setting process is complete that everybody’s objectives are aligned to signify the start of a new quarter. We recommend our clients hold a department meeting or all-hands for this step.

Starting from the organization level objectives and working down toward project-team level, everyone shares their objectives. This step allows everyone to stay in-sync on each other’s projects and aims.

What else do people do except for setting goals?

That’s a good question! Alongside objective setting, we use ‘Geese Week’ for employees to work on role-specific pet-projects. These are often smaller, but non-critical tasks. Things like creating more appealing email-templates, updating product explainer afternoon, everyone showcases their efforts. Remember also to take time to review everyone’s new OKRs. This will help summarize the strategy and projects that sub-teams will be doing.

Remember to also take the time to review everyone’s new OKRs. This will help summarize the strategy and projects that every team will be doing.

Good luck!


Also published on Medium.

May Chau

May is a Content Strategist contributing to the improvement of modern performance management at 7Geese. Connect with her via may@7geese.com