People tend to forget that OKRs are about continuous improvement. How your OKRs are written is not what’s important, it’s the clarity of thinking that comes from reflecting on your performance. The more you repeat this process, the more productive you’ll become. I’m not making this shit up. According to behavioral psychologists, setting and reviewing goals on a recurring basis increases productivity and job satisfaction.
So don’t forget, you’re on a long journey of continuous improvement and an important part of that is self-reflection. Here are some best practices when conducting reflection sessions:
1. Schedule The Reflection In Advance
Run the Reflection within the same week as next quarter's planning session. Dovetailing them this way will keep new information top of mind while simultaneously maximizing the amount of time you get to execute your OKRs.
2. Take The Time To Do It Right
If you’re anything like me, getting into the right frame of mind to contemplate broader operational practices can be difficult and time-consuming. If possible, separate the reflection into two meetings during the same week. This relieves the pressure of capturing your thoughts succinctly in one session. I promise you it’ll pay off.
3. Start With A Positive
Begin by highlighting what went well. Take it one step further and have teammates give appreciation to one another. Jumping directly into the mistakes that were made will result in finger-pointing.
4. Follow Through
The OKR Reflection is just one component necessary to improve performance. If areas for improvement are identified and subsequently ignored, people will become disengaged and resentful of the process. Keep a note of the improvement points discussed during the meeting and assign owners/due dates as necessary.
OKRs can only be understood backwards, but they must be lived forwards. Best of luck!