What I realized was the most important step when creating Support OKRs

November 24, 2015 - 5 minute read - Posted by

Make the learning centre effective, transforming support processes from reactive to proactive.

My first quarter’s goal. I was new to our industry and new to our product. I was the audience I was targeting through my goal. I immediately knew the right place I should start to tackle this goal: understanding.

So where do I start to seek understanding? For me, it actually meant teasing out what not to focus on more so than what to focus on. To understand how I learned what not to do, let’s start with a peak into some of my OKRs as I got started.  A great learning lesson for setting stellar goals came from wanting to create an OKRs eBook. (get it here).

It took 3 quarters to make, longer than it should have! Why? I skipped the most important step in goal-setting. I forgot to define an explicit purpose that came from a place of understanding.

I came face-to-face with a glaring overlooked mistake. I hadn’t placed building understanding at the core of what I was doing. I jumped ahead to project execution.

Creating an OKRs guide was something challenging. Something that meant I had left a huge mark on our customer collateral. What I didn’t realize is that OKRs aren’t just about tackling main projects. OKRs are about tying what you’re doing to a real purpose. A purpose that’s carried quarter-over-quarter to inform new, creative decisions.

Click to enlarge. Tool used to track OKRs: the 7Geese product.


In Q1 and Q2 I wasn’t meeting expectations when it came to my OKRs eBook goal. But why? I wasn’t being too aspirational, I just hadn’t created the right action plan. Just because I didn’t meet expectations, I didn’t stop trying to hit my goal. It was an important goal. I just had to refocus.

I hadn’t defined why the eBook was important enough to be a goal. I realized that I hadn’t wrote down an explicit guiding statement.  This purpose wasn’t being reflected upon in every initiative I undertook. At the onset of every quarter I wasn’t asking myself, “Is this a priority in relation to my other goals? If so, what aspect of our vision is it supporting? What’s guiding me to achieve my goal?”

Just having a numerical key result to track my progress wasn’t working… something was missing.

In my second quarter, I took a step back to create a guiding vision for support that would inform future OKRs. It’s not only helped inform every OKR I’ve created since, but helps new team members understand what’s important in support.


My first 9 months at 7Geese I started off so large. I got lost in initiative after initiative. This led me to lose sight of the fact that I had failed to define what mattered and why it mattered, first.

When I first got started with OKRs, I got started from a point of execution, not purpose. As a result, half way through the quarter I had to circle back and reprioritize. This loss of focus meant a prolonged eBook launch. Now, in the last quarter of the year I’ve managed to create 5 guides in 2 months versus the 1 in the first 6 months. Why? Because I learned my lesson: every goal needs a purpose and guiding intent. 

Goals shouldn’t end at hitting a target number such as reducing median support time. Goals should be about carving out new outcomes that pull everything you do back to a purpose. Iterative goal-setting means you’re taking on initiatives that make your team vision a reality. One that iterates and innovates what you’re currently doing.

Every person engaged at work, a guiding light here at 7Geese for everything we do as a team. From a support perspective, it also means my OKRs educate our customers on the values of team member engagement.

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