Importance of frequent conversations and feedback in the OKR framework.

okr framework

Importance of frequent conversations and feedback in the OKR framework.

During the course of my regular coaching sessions with clients on OKR framework, weekly check- ins stand out as a biggest concern for many managers. The success of OKR implementation , to a large extent, is dependent on how frequently the manager and the team members engage in one on one meetings and regular check-ins.

Weekly Check-in process

Many managers fall into the trap of assuming that one on one meetings are not important and don’t figure in their list of priorities

These meetings are the first to get knocked off from the calendars if the manager is looking to free up his calendar. But the cost of cancellation of these meetings can be very high.

Three major concerns that I often hear from the managers,

  1. I have too big a team to do weekly or regular one on one’s
  2. Isn’t weekly check-in equal to micro managing
  3. Why have a conversation, when the status can be updated in the OKR tool

The weekly check-in practice in the OKR framework is expected to be brief , to ensure that each key result is on track and if the individuals require any support incase they see any show-stoppers or they raise any red flags. It also indicates progress in real time. The one on one conversations are therefore indispensable to the success of your OKR implementation. One on one meetings cannot be substituted by the OKR tool or OKR template. The tool or the template can only be used to make the meeting more focused and brief.

It is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that the individuals feel safe during these conversations and do not allow the individuals to get defensive as the prime purpose of such conversations is not just feedback but is also to build relationship and trust by listening and providing support.

If built into the daily work routine this process can cause real transformation in the team dynamics.One on one conversations is a non negotiable feature of the OKR framework.

If implemented correctly the weekly check- in process improves the performance of the individuals. There are six main Benefits to the one on one meetings.

Managing the weekly check in process more effectively

The process can be implemented more effectively by following some basic methods,

  • Request the team members to update the tracking document before the meeting
  • Make a list of all issues that require the managers support
  • Make a list of all challenges the individual is facing or likely to face .

By doing the above, your meetings can be more effective and time can be spent on solving problems and answering the questions.

Are you soft pedaling the feedback process?

Are managers holding back negative feedback with the fear of losing their people? They are afraid of losing resources from the team. But it is not fair to the resources. By doing so, you are neither advancing them nor helping them to develop their potential.You fail to see the upside of what a good goal management framework can do and deliver.if you want your team members to feel good and motivated about what they are doing, they need reinforcement in both directions. Both positive and negative feedback will help them grow . Feedback encourages forward movement.

Every individual wants their work to be meaningful. They would like their managers to be caring about them and be invested in their development.

Managers also need coaching and training in how to give feedback. This is a skill and not everyone is comfortable giving feedback.

Here is an interesting post by Arianna Huffington, Give Compassionate feedback while still being constructive . The post talks about the importance of correct delivery of the feedback .

Gallup research shows that only 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive helps them do better work. If the feedback is poorly developed then it makes team members disengaged.

For making OKR initiative a success turn your digital exchange with your team members into an in person conversation that helps to build the trust. Be a coach to your team and encourage them to receive and give feedback.

Check out my other article about OKR

Best Regards,

Vaidyanathan Ramalingam

OKR Consultant, Founder & CEO

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