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Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are the preferred methodology for CEOs seeking a transformative approach to setting and achieving goals. However, effectively implementing OKRs throughout an organization is a complex undertaking that may require expert guidance.
An OKR consultant can lead an OKR rollout that’s tailored to your company's unique structure and vision. But what should you look for in an OKR consulting firm? And what results should you expect from a consultant-guided implementation?
What are OKRs, and how do they impact business growth? Do a deep dive with these articles:
These are the qualifications an effective OKR consultant will leverage to integrate OKRs throughout your organization:
1. Outside perspective
When you work with an external consultant, you gain a third-party perspective on your company’s challenges and opportunities. Even highly experienced leaders can get so mired in the inner workings of their business that they lose sight of the bigger picture. Your OKR consultant’s unbiased approach drives smart goal setting and proper OKR prioritization.
2. Business acumen
Some goal-setting methodologies can be implemented by just about anyone trained in the system. OKR rollouts, however, are most successfully managed by consultants with extensive, real-world business leadership experience—experience that extends beyond OKRs.
Look for an OKR consultant who understands the nuances of your business and how to effectively integrate OKRs into its existing operations. A consultant who has real-world experience solving business challenges—and a history of working in companies, not just consulting for them—can help you build OKRs that are both relevant and achievable.
3. OKRs expertise
John Doerr’s book Measure What Matters outlines the foundational principles of OKRs and is an excellent primer for getting acquainted with OKR methodology. But the book doesn’t provide a comprehensive framework for a full-company OKRs implementation. A consultant should have not only knowledge of the OKRs basics but also a supporting framework to fill in the systems’ gaps for aspects like scoring, whole-company rollout, and prioritization. Skilled OKR consultants understand the methodology’s fundamental non-negotiables as well as its areas of flexibility. With this deep knowledge at work in your organization, you’ll be equipped to leverage all the advantages OKRs have to offer.
4. Creative customization
Your business has unique needs, and effective OKR consultants will capitalize on OKRs’ adaptability to help them fit your organizational structure and culture. After performing a dive deep into your company's vision and values, the right consultant will develop a clear OKRs integration plan that serves your strategy achieves your goals.
5. Company-wide implementation
It’s true that OKRs often begin in the C-suite, but to empower a company, the methodology must find footing within every team and earn buy-in from every individual. Look for an OKR consultancy that can offer training, resources, and ongoing support throughout your organization. It can be challenging to roll out OKRS to your company internally—often, your leadership team is still getting acquainted with the ins and outs of the system.
With a consultant facilitating the rollout at every level of your business, you’ll know that everyone, from senior executives to junior frontline workers, understands how OKRs serve the broader vision and what their role is in setting and achieving them. Soon, your entire team will be setting OKRs and using the system to drive everyday purpose and productivity.
6. Grounded goals
Every team needs balanced OKRs that are ambitious enough to drive growth but realistic enough to be accomplished. It’s not uncommon for internal team dynamics and organizational politics to get in the way, distracting people from the meaningful work OKRs are meant to enable. OKR consultants can cut through those diversions and help you set OKRs that stretch your team while honoring their capacity and resources.
Balanced OKRs are both grounded in reality and aimed at advancement. The right consultant can help maintain company-wide focus on processes that bolster your bottom line without exacting a toll on morale.
7. Consistent responsiveness
Don’t accept a consultant who isn’t highly responsive and fully committed to your business's success. Your OKR consultant’s support is crucial to ensuring that the methodology is effectively integrated into your business operations and that your team can leverage it to its full potential. Beyond merely delivering on a scope of work, your consultant should be accessible, responsive, and engaged at every step of the rollout and beyond. To an extent, your business should feel like their business.
Leveraging OKRs as Part of a Big-Picture Approach
While anyone can leverage OKRs to drive action and achieve goals, they are most effective within an overarching system. OKRs alone won’t run an organization: you need tools for setting a vision, establishing a strategy, tracking performance, hiring and retaining talent, managing your finances, and more.
At Crews & co., we embed OKR consulting into our broader business operating system, the Growth Method. Our proprietary approach focuses on four key areas:
People performance. Attracting and retaining the right talent is crucial for any business. OKRs help establish clear expectations, contributing to a more engaged and motivated workforce.
Operational excellence. OKRs encourage a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence. The methodology helps you build impactful processes, achieve superior execution, and exceed even your highest quality standards.
Focused strategy. Defining a clear direction for your company is essential. OKRs assist in aligning your team’s efforts with the organization’s strategic vision, ensuring that every action contributes to your overall Company Objectives.
Financial engine. A robust financial system is the backbone of any successful business. OKRs play a significant role in driving financial performance by aligning Objectives with financial targets and Key Performance Indicators.
As you vet OKRs consultants, ask whether they couch OKRs into a holistic approach. If not, figure out how you’ll fill in the gaps.
How to Evaluate an OKR Consulting Firm
The right OKR consultant can turn a chaotic implementation attempt into a company-wide success story. But how do you go about finding the right firm? You should conduct all the usual due diligence, but keep in mind that you will ultimately be partnering with a single consultant. Even if you’re working through a larger consultancy, make sure you connect with and interview the consultant who will partner with your company. And don’t be afraid to ask for a different consultant if there isn’t a fit—beyond experience, compatibility matters!
When evaluating potential OKR consultants, ask detailed questions and explore each prospect’s approach to these critical considerations:
Discover their methodology
Ask about the OKR consulting firm’s approach to implementing OKRs. What is their rollout methodology? Does their process align with your business’s vision? Both the firm and your individual consultant should be a good fit for your organization, so don’t hesitate to request a different consultant if the first one doesn’t quite meet your needs.
Research their track record
Don’t stop with scanning a firm’s website. Ask for case studies that feature past clients or request references who are willing to discuss their experiences with the firm.
What resources does the OKR consulting firm use to set and track OKRs? Do they require a particular software suite—and is it included in their services? Ensure that you’ll have access to all the resources necessary for supporting your team’s ongoing OKRs efforts.
Learn their business background
How experienced are the firm’s consultants? You’ll want confirmation that you’ll be paired with an OKR consultant who has ample experiences with business challenges like yours. Ask about their previous roles and the results they’ve driven, then assess how well those experiences complement your organization’s knowledge gaps.
Evaluate the scope of engagement
Clarify exactly what the OKR consulting firm includes in its services so you know the engagement will meet your expectations. How long will the engagement last? How frequently will you meet with your consultant? Will they provide on-demand support to you and your team? Will your consultant serve other clients simultaneously? Only sign on the dotted line once you’re satisfied with the full scope of services.
Grow Greater with OKRs
Implementing OKRs is a serious undertaking. Mastering OKRs involves a mean learning curve. Accept that your team will need time to learn, adapt, and grow into the process.
If you choose to work with Crews & co., we’ll launch your OKRs rollout during the Growth Kickstart phase, which includes three full-day sessions within the first 90 days of coming on board.
The OKRs methodology is a game-changer for ambitious businesses—one that drives alignment, focus, and accelerated growth. With the right OKR consultant by your side, your organization will be well-equipped to flourish.