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.

Support-and-Learning-Ethos-3

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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