Phase 2:

OKR Cycle 1

One quarter to 4 months

In the OKR Cycle 1 phase, your organization reaches an exciting milestone: All your preparation comes to fruition as teams begin writing, using, and seeing results from OKRs.

By the end of OKR Cycle 1, the Program Team, Steering Comittee and Communities of Champions will have enabled your organization’s success in the following ways:

Through your ongoing program of communication, teams will be energized, engaged, and clearly understand how OKRs benefit both their own work and the company’s topline strategy.

People will become more familiar with WorkBoard and make progress in using it effectively in their daily routines.

Teams will have a regular cadence of sharing and tracking progress, to guide their conversations and chart the next steps.

Using your new OKRs, teams will have started to align their daily work to the company’s strategy and have maximum clarity on where to target their efforts.

Teams will be applying best OKR and WorkBoard practices, continuing to build expertise through ongoing training and by leveraging your newly trained Community of Champions.

How We’ll Work Together

In OKR Cycle 1, Wave Nine will guide and support you as you as you lead your teams through their first quarter using OKRs. As always, the best outcomes happen as a result of sustained commitment and momentum. To be sure your new OKR program gains the traction it needs to succeedwe’ll be on the lookout for common Failure Modes—and the Winning Steps you can take to overcome them. 

Failure Modes
Winning Steps

The OKR Cycle

Over the next quarter, we’ll work closely to create, deploy, and track progress of your OKRs. Coming together to create OKRs is an exciting first step, but equally important will be driving adoption and execution over the course of the quarter. Wave Nine has found that, when used together, the three best tools for maintaining momentum are: 

The OKR Cycle
Align & Localize
Focus & Execute
Reflect & Reset

Overview

Ongoing, visible commitment from the Executive Leadership Team. Leading by example is always important and can significantly boost engagement throughout your program when the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is committed. To ensure their commitment:

This approach sets a strong example, promotes OKR alignment, and fosters a culture of support and achievement within the organization 

Regular, pre-scheduled check-ins to review ongoing progress and make updates in WorkBoard. 

A steady program of communications to inspire and unblock. Consistency here also helps underscore the expectation of everyone’s ongoing participation. 

One: Align & Localize

Following your Localization Plan, OKR Workshops at different organizational levels will be conducted during the next 2-3 weeks to develop localized OKRs. Ensuring that these OKRs are live and transparent on the WorkBoard platform will be a priority immediately following the workshops. Finally, during the Tie-Off sessions, we will review and confirm that all localized OKRs are in alignment with the company-wide OKRs.

A note on terminology: Company-level OKRs are referred to as Level 1, or “L1”. The next tier OKRs—led by people who report to the CEO, and who account for the objectives of their reporting teams—are referred to as “L2”, and so on. The OKRs of tiers below L1 are what we refer to as “localized” OKRs 

Strategy Discovery

Setting high quality OKRs at the highest organizational level is critical to ensuring that following levels can successfully write OKRs that align to and drive company strategy.

To prepare most effectively for your first meeting with the Executive Leadership Team and maximize its efficiency, use the Strategic Priorities Survey to gather initial information about the priorities to be covered with OKRs.

Based on the Strategic Priorities Survey, Wave Nine will help you identify three to six top-level OKR categories. These categories will provide guidance for the rest of the organization when setting their OKRs, ultimately making OKR alignment easier.   

Here are five typical OKR categories: 

OKR Workshops & Tie Offs

It’s an exciting moment: the OKR Workshops and Tie Off sessions that were scheduled in Phase 1 have finally arrived! After the hard work and planning of the rollout, take this moment to celebrate that your organization is coming together to create their first OKRs.

Two: Focus & Execute

With your new OKRs providing momentum and clarity across the organization, every team will spend the remainder of the quarter working toward their KRs. Throughout the quarter, individuals will report progress in WorkBoard, leaders will use WorkBoard’s visualization tools to spot progress and blockers, and everyone will check in regularly to stay aligned.

OKR Workshops & Tie Offs

Building new habits in WorkBoard is an important part of your program’s success.

Three: Reflect & Reset

Congratulations—you’ve successfully reached the end of your first OKR Cycle! By now, your team should have a good operating rhythm with WorkBoard, feel confident in their use of OKRs, and be ready to take the lead in writing their OKRs for the upcoming Phase 3: OKR Cycle 2.

OKR Workshops & Tie Offs

To prepare OKRs for the next cycle, teams will meet again in their Reflect & Reset Workshops. These workshops are also your chance to optimize and adjust. We’ll review any reflections people and teams gained over the OKR Cycle—for example, perhaps two teams would be better served setting OKRs together because they have overlapping dependencies—and refine your program as needed.

With insights gained from the first cycle, the Program Lead revisits the Localization Plan and makes any needed adjustments to determine who sets OKRs and when. Remember, OKRs are flexible, so we can adapt to ensure the program aligns perfectly with your company’s success.

Once the right Localization Plan is in place, the Program Lead schedules workshops for the next quarter. Given the predictability of OKR cycles, it’s advisable to plan and schedule workshops for future cycles too. This way, you can secure these dates well ahead of time.