A fintech company had emerged from a significant growth phase and wanted to create a framework to lead them through the next phase of their development. They specifically wanted to develop and implement a goal-setting framework to help teams work more effectively together to achieve their overarching vision.
They enlisted our help to advise them on how to create, implement, and effectively use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) — and hoped that, in the process, this new structure might help them overcome the silos that existed between departments.
How We Did It
We started with a discovery phase, interviewing members of each department. We wanted to get at the heart of each department’s goals, as well as understand which other teams they interacted with. After the interviews, we combined the learnings with existing strategies and KPIs to develop a set of draft department OKRs.
We know that neither a bottom-up approach nor a top-down one can work on its own. So we combined the two, creating an architecture and organizational direction in the process so that everyone would be sailing in the same direction. We worked with senior leaders to define company-level OKRs and then mapped department-level OKRs with them. But setting the OKRs is useless if no one knows how to use them, which is why we sought to meet people where they were, teaching them new ways of working and prioritizing leader skills and involvement.
Yet getting to this point wasn’t easy. So many folks were focused on business as usual that they struggled to consider what growth goals might look like. We prioritized taking time away from the day-to-day to give them the space to think strategically, posing questions like “what do we need to do to become the company we want to be?”
We knew we had to set the organization up for success with these OKRs, so we advised the team on how long the cycles should be, what materials they would need, and what tools to use to increase visibility, accessibility, and useability. Most importantly, we spent time capability-building so they would be able to define and iterate their own OKRs moving forward.
Throughout, we got people thinking about how their work overlaps with other teams so they knew who to work with in order to achieve these company objectives. This, combined with teaching the team how to use new collaboration tools, didn’t just make the process easier — it also began to break down the silos that had existed.
By the end, the team became more intentional about working together to achieve their co-defined objectives. The outcome, we hope, is that they will be able to focus their efforts on being good at what would have the biggest impact.