During the implementation of OKR (Objectives and Key Results) in your company, it is crucial the framework is well-maintained and consistently integrated into the company culture. Therefore, every company adopting OKRs should have OKR champions whose primary responsibility is to advocating for a successful OKR implementation.
What is the role of an OKR Champion?
An OKR Champion is a person who understands the ins and outs of OKRs to lead and support the optimal integration of OKRs into the company’s DNA.
OKR Champions play multiple roles and have different responsibilities to aid in the successful implementation, adoption, and utilisation of OKRs inside the organisation.
An OKR Champion ensures that the OKR methods are applied accurately, processes run smoothly, and arising questions are promptly addressed.
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Depending on the size of the organisation, there are usually several OKR Champions. They are often drawn from various departments to properly contextualise OKRs for their areas of responsibility.
An OKR Champion’s responsibilities may include:
- Enabling a successful OKRs implementation, collaborating with leaders and managers to identify and eliminate roadblocks to success.
- Training and coaching others while also facilitating or supporting optimal utilisation in team meetings.
- Advocating for the establishment of an internal centre of excellence for OKRs and other agile business processes. A directory of certified internal champions, external resources, eLearning and other educational materials, company-specific tools, templates, and job aids, and an explanation of how to use the company's OKR software system, among other things, can be found at an OKR centre of excellence.
Some major tasks of an OKR Champion
- Assuring a smooth planning process by:
- Scheduling OKR workshops for the management level
- Ensuring the timeliness of the planning process
- Setting reminders for gathering input from teams and submitting OKR sets
- Moderating quarterly management OKR workshops – no textual responsibility*:
- Identifying strategically significant and operationally urgent goals
- Coordinating resources allocation and cross-functional coordination
- Maintaining OKR quality with:
- Proper formulation and language usage of goals and key results
- Clearly defined expectations
- Clear metrics
- Acting as the main point of contact if people have questions about OKRs
- Providing transparency through regular communication of the overarching vision, mission, and strategies, as well as potential changes
- May be in charge of new employee orientation.
- Implementing OKRs in daily work life:
- Managing the digital home of OKRs, such as an intranet or a specific OKR tool.
- Providing information on OKRs
*OKR Champion bears no textual responsibility for OKRs. They do not review, cross-check or modify the submitted OKR sets prior to the quarterly management OKR workshops. Managers that submit OKR sets are entirely responsible for the content of their sets. The OKR Champion merely provides advice and help to the process.
Benefits of having an OKR Champion
Improve team member adoption and buy-in
The number one concern when implementing a new system is whether or not people would use it. A wonderful tool with a simple user interface is a step in the right direction, but it may still be challenging if people do not fully comprehend the concept or technique of OKRs.
Having someone take on the job of OKR Champion can address this anxiety and ensure that if individuals are struggling, they can get in touch with the OKR Champion for help.
The goal of OKRs is to improve efficiency. Having an OKR Champion to lead people through the process of adaptation is a critical part of increasing the efficiency of OKRs implementation.
Imagine paying for tens to hundreds of employees, but many of them do not follow or pay attention to the company’s OKRs.
An OKR Champion will help promote, encourage, and clarify the goals and objectives to colleagues, thus ensuring that the company’s resources are distributing to the right people and everyone is looking in the same direction.
Increase accountability and provide instant support for employees
Accountability is important when adopting OKRs. Someone should be in charge of completing check-ins or be the contact person if you have a query. OKR Champions hold everyone accountable and ensure that everyone is doing their share according to the methodology's best practices.
Improve successful adoption
Having an OKR Champion inside the company is critical to effective adoption. That is the person who is helpful not only to the initial onboarding process for employees but also to the long term growth of the company.
People frequently want to forgo demos and immediately get started with rolling out OKRs and seeing instant results. But without proper training, companies could be wasting a lot of time on trial and error.
OKR is a process that can take a year to perfect. Therefore, investing time in training OKR Champions and having them instruct others would help save significant time and frustration.
What makes a good OKR Champion?
A good OKR Champion primarily possesses great soft skills. It goes without saying that this person should be organised and have a passion for coaching and assisting teammates.
The most successful OKR Champions are actual champions. These are the people who fully comprehend OKRs, see the benefits, and are willing to work through issues.
A great OKR Champion will have at least some of the following characteristics:
- Knowledgeable and have a thorough understanding of the company’s DNA and how it works
- Passionate about OKRs
- A good mentor
- Well-known, responsible, and reliable
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