How to Execute OKRs and CFRs for Team Growth

October 19, 2018 | Zorian Rotenberg | Atiim
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OKRs alone are not enough! The OKR goal-setting methodology requires its logical adjunct, CFRs (Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition), to provide the continuous performance management element needed to drive results.

In his New York Time Bestseller, “Measure What Matters, How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Use OKRs to Rock the World.” author John Doerr tells us,

“Together they (OKRs and CFRs) capture the full richness and power of Grove’s innovative methodology. They give OKRs their human voice.”

Particularly from an HR or People Operations point of view, OKRs without continuous performance management, become little more than MBOs set and forgotten throughout the year.

OKRs and CFRs are Mutually Reinforcing

When executing the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) system, the Objectives, represent the goals of the organization, teams, and individuals. The Key Results provide the metrics to gauge performance.

Conversations and Feedback relate directly to these performance measures. Check-Ins, Conversations, and regularly scheduled team meetings provide a platform for bi-directional Feedback on progress and to identify roadblocks and obstacles. They also serve as a vehicle for coaching and mentoring team members. Managers can determine if employees need additional support or training. They encourage and enable Recognition of team’s and individual’s performances.

In the absence of Conversation and Feedback on progress, and Recognition of achievements you are not doing the methodology, or your organization justice.

How CFRs Contribute to Continuous Performance Management

In many organizations, CFRs either replace the antiquated annual performance review or become a key component of the process. In either instance, its obvious that the ongoing inputs to performance gathered during Check-Ins and Conversations, data institutionalized through OKR Software, eliminates much of the bias in the current annual review. Gone are the backward-looking, year in review and recency bias.

Gone also is employee dissatisfaction with the annual review process, and the time and considerable resources allocated to the practice.

CFRs encourage managers to take on the role of mentors and coaches, rather than micromanagers. Opportunities for growth and forward momentum are discussed, and the road forward is mapped during Conversations. Ongoing education and additional training are identified and implemented.

A major benefit of a dedicated OKR Software platform is 360° visibility and the alignment it enables. Contributors can see the Objectives and Key Results of everyone in the organization, on up to the CEO’s OKRs. Teams can see cross-dependencies and identify areas for collaboration. Further, they see the performances of others and are encouraged to Recognize achievements, peer-to-peer, creating a culture of teamwork and providing motivation.

When OKRs Fail

The number one factor in a failed OKR execution is the lack of implementing CFRs. It’s our experience that OKRs without CFRs will fail. It simply does not work. It’s not what Andy Grove envisioned at Intel, and it’s not what Doerr brought to Google.

When implemented properly, together, OKRs and CFRs can boost team execution, create an environment of achievement and produce 10X results.

Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, a middle manager or even a front-line manager)? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR & Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!