We are proud to announce that OKRX Summit 2022 was held very successfully on May 26th. The virtual summit, hosted by Melon with the main sponsorship of GTMHub, included 15 speakers from all around the world and was watched by over 700+ participants from 36 different countries!
This year's theme was "Teams Thinking Outside the Box" and the sumit started with the opening speech of Sure Köse Ulutaş, founder of Melon and the architect of the OKRX Summit. Sure said "Two-thirds of companies that try OKRs, fail. One of the common cultural elements of successful companies is to share what impact the management expects them to create, rather than to tell them what to do and how." She emphasized that companies set their priorities in real terms with OKRs, and added; focusing on the most important, the dynamics of the rapidly changing business world can be reached only by "thinking outside the box".
The founder of OKRmentors and Impactivs Elie Casamitjana emphasized that cadence is key, and every team should be motivated to do a check-in every week. He added that having an ongoing communication strategy is important to be successful in the run mode of OKR.
Christina Wodtke, who is the author of Radical Focus and founder of three successful startups, was with us through a fireside chat. She answered crucial questions with her insights on OKRs. She said: “OKRs live in the important, not on the urgent.”
Christina emphasized the necessity of a roadmap before starting to implement. She added that teams are data-driven and autonomous; focusing on highly impactful teams is important to create change. Beyond that, ensuring psychological safety and trust in the company plays a key role in principle, she continued.
OKRs for Success founder Melanie Wessels explained the process of OKR with her analogy: OKRs are like cakes. She spoke of Julia Child and said: “A party without a cake is just a meeting.”
- Set up the kitchen
- Assemble the ingredients
- Mission, Vision, Values, Roadmap, Key Priorities, Metrics
- Mix and bake the cake
- Share & Taste
Hannes Albrecht’s session, which was the most interactive session of the summit, started the beginner track. He showed us how to write OKRs backwards in 7 steps. He gave us some guiding questions to think about in the first step:
- What will make a big difference or create a big impact in Q2?
- What is compatible with Vision, Strategy, Company Focus?
- What matters for employees/ customers?
- What was brought up by the team?
Senior Consultant of Societe Generale Lamia Moussaoui shared her insights on how to start OKR while preparing the ground for the scale phase. She argued that before expecting change immediately, companies need to build a community first. “OKR is not a news report, it is a culture shift.” she continued.
Ongun Demirler, the founding partner of Twiser, explained the importance of employee engagement and its relationship with OKRs. He said that OKR is a great methodology for employee engagement and hence employee retention.
Ian Harvey started the scale track and urged us: “OKRs help you implement your strategy; they are not your strategy.”
He claimed that OKRs have helped us improve focus, track progress and shorten our feedback loops. However, he added, not having a living strategy and lacking psychological safety will stop you from implementing OKRs.
Managing Director of Agile Strategies Daniel Montgomery talked about making OKRs part of our DNA. He argued: “OKRs are NOT a substitute for strategy, OKRs are the missing link in the Strategy Management Cycle.” He shared with us great tips on adopting strategic thinking and claimed that strategy is choosing what not to do.
The last speaker of the scale track was Omid Akhavan. He explained the differences between OKRs, KPIs, Projects, and BAU tasks. The key points to create balance within these tasks are proper planning and prioritizing, he said. In addition to that, he warned us that OKRs and KPIs do not compete with each other; they complement each other.
Evan Campbell, Chief Transformation Architect at Gtmhub, talked about critical capabilities enabling adaptive strategy. He stressed that horizontal alignment is the killer feature of OKRs for large enterprises. In addition to that, he added, tying OKR results directly to performance management will be an obstacle for ambitious goals in the future.
Gökhan Güney, the deputy CEO of LC Waikiki, talked about the OKR transformation of LC Waikiki. He stated that LC Waikiki aimed to encourage the teams to raise the standards and seek out-of-the-box solutions with OKR management. He added:” OKRs will become post-mortem tool unless you utilize the continuous feedback loop.”
Business Unit Manager of Garanti BBVA Technology Seval Gökçeler, explained the OKR journey of Garanti BBVA. She indicated that after they started working with OKR, teams internalized common goals, and they witnessed their improvement by focusing on not only the output of data but the meaningful results. Therefore, the teams were enabled to see their impact and to increase their motivation, she added.
Bart den Haak, the founder of Moving the Needle, says there are 5 pitfalls to avoid during OKR implementation:
- Wrong trigger (Choosing the right one)
- Lack of preparation (Start with a really clear why)
- Wrong culture (Learning to trust and empower your teams)
- Simplicity (Focus on the most important…ONLY)
- No system (“Forget about goals, focus on system instead” -James Clear)
Our last speaker Ben Lamorte, the founder of okrs.com, shared his tips for OKR coaches. He started with the definition of OKRs –not as a noun, but as a verb. According to Ben, OKRs is a critical thinking framework and an ongoing discipline that seeks to ensure employees work together, focusing effort to make measurable contributions. He then gave 3 fundamental questions to ask and focused on the first one to identify objectives: “Where do we want to focus to improve and make measurable progress in the near term? Why? Why now?”
The summit is available to watch on okrmentors.com.