Using Okrs To Shift Up The Gears

Issue 66

David Anderson likes to practise what he preaches. As a director at leading North East management business consultancy AuxinOKR , he applied the concept of OKRs to his other business - Ride Electric - and explains how this is driving performance.

First of all, can you explain what OKRs are?

OKRs is a goal-setting framework just like SMART and lots of others. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. The objective is an aspiration. It is a place you want your business to be in the future. The key results are quantitative. The KRs are the metrics we will use to measure our progress towards achieving the goal, or it’s how you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals.

How can they help a business?

The greatest challenge in making a business grow is defining and sharing the direction with everyone involved, so they are absolutely clear of their role, and are motivated and properly geared to deliver. This is not just at the start, it is critical that this focus is constantly maintained, with activity and direction based upon the ever-changing nature of business. We’ve read many articles where few people can clearly articulate the strategy for the business – even the board of directors in certain cases – so what chance does the staff have to deliver?

Why did you think OKRs were right for Ride Electric?

We are a fast-growing start-up business that is evolving to the current demand for driving eMobility, which is of particular focus owing to environmental and current issues with Covid. Our original direction did not bear the fruit as we had expected so we had to adapt fast. Old school business planning processes would have failed us. We loved the concept of OKRs which are dynamic but promise focus and fast execution. I had a bias too – I’m involved with helping other businesses with AuxinOKR.

What problems did you encounter trying to apply OKRs?

As with any new methodology, we needed to get everyone behind it, which isn’t hard with a great bunch of people we work with, however knowing what to focus on, to make a difference was – and is, tough. As the book says you have to ‘measure what matters’, or as we are finding, be able to execute what matters, is critical.

What is the difference of theory v actual implementation?

As many people find it, this isn’t about measuring what has happened, it’s about what needs to happen. It’s not all that obvious! As we have been advised, it’s not a thing you can read about and do, it needs to be learned and experienced. An analogy I can use is it’s like learning to play the guitar. I’ve been in bands for years but it wasn’t till I focused and dedicated to learning lead playing that I made it happen – with a lot of help, commitment and patience. I’m not there yet, but definitely on the way, which for me is incredible. It’s that same sense of achievement that is relevant to growing business through OKRs – or I guess any other aspect of a business. You need skills and experience, as well as knowledge!

How has Ride Electric benefited?

Through clarity, hard-work, circumstance and discipline we are in an incredible place with a very exciting future ahead. Again, we’re not there yet, but we know where we’re going. I often look at successful companies and wonder what it took to get them there. I don’t necessarily know the answer to that question for others, but I do know that without a framework and a mindset shift for me and the team, we wouldn’t be as confident as we are.

What is next for Ride Electric?

We are in the midst of realigning into two distinct areas – premium retail of an eBike lifestyle and the delivery of our about to be launched venture, e-Mobilise with its mission of facilitating the transition from motor vehicle dependency to eMobiliy, which by the time this is in the press, will be operational, serving an initially, UK-wide marketplace.

Sign-up to our newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.