Why GROW Conversations And OKRs Are Critical For Success (Goal, Reality, Options, What’s Next)

GROW Conversations And OKRs

“If your employees don’t know where the organization is going, the organization might sail towards someplace else.”

Let us take a step back – the year 2020 provided the leaders with the much-needed time to ponder over their organizational goal-setting and reflect on what truly matters. Leaders worldwide swiftly made their organizations adapt to the pandemic hit the world by the dint of technological advancement, remote working tools, and agile performance management programs. The combination of these did the unthinkable for them and aided them in keeping their organizations on track of desired success. 

Success is a loaded word that can have distinct means for different organizations. No matter what your organization aims at, setting goals and achieving them is what everything pivots around in your organization. Organizational performance and success have time and time again been linked with successful goal setting. This is the reason that myriad of self-discipline literature and business books use goal setting theory as the point of inception. Effective goal setting is excessively critical for all organizations as it unlocks your potential, makes your employees clear by giving them specific measurable goals, and facilitates an adequate understanding of how their contribution counts in the ultimate objective of the organization – adding together to organizational success. 

GROW conversations and the OKR program are two such elements that enable the organization to facilitate setting and achieving goals in a more effective manner, which results in taking them on the path to success. Ever since remote working and the collaborative environment became the new norm, there has been an ever-rising increase in these already prominent approaches as they have become critical for success – even more than before. Read on to find how these two frameworks will steer your organization towards success.

GROW Conversations And OKRs

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GROW and OKR – The two pillars of organizational success

The OKR framework

OKR (Objectives and Key results) is one of the most applicable mindsets, methodologies, strategies, or frameworks that is used by organizations of all sizes and industries. Organizations are rapidly changing their philosophy and becoming OKR oriented. Surely you must have come across names such as Adobe, Netflix, Coursera, Intuit, Nu Bank, Intel, Zume Pizza, The Myfitnesspal, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Alphabet(Google, Gmail, Youtube, Chrome). The world has been witnessing the evolution and growth of these organizations for more than 15 years now. Do you know there’s one magical ingredient that is common to each of these organizations’ success? All of them adopted the OKR framework before stepping on their ladder to success. It stimulated an ambitious behavioral and culture change among the employees and organizations, all the way from the CEO to frontline workers. 

Measure What Matters is one of the most meaningful books that gives can give you rigorous knowledge about how to implement effective goal setting – OKRs and CRRs to be specific. John E. Doerr, the author of this holy book suggests that adopting the agile framework of OKR will enable your organizational teams to achieve more than you have imagined before. Leaders have realized that the organization cannot become successful till they stop reducing their employees and their performance to mere numbers. The fact that not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted stands well for the organization in the current times. The OKR approach will champion agility, engagement, focus, accountability, empowerment, teamwork, and transparency at all levels of the organization. Once your organizational team goals are established and aligned with the organizational ones, you have already taken your first step towards success. 

Objective – It’s a goal that has to be achieved, nothing more or nothing less. These are concrete, significant, action-oriented, and (ideally) inspirational. However, it is important for the goals to be established in such a way that your teams accomplish them without any challenge. As per Measure What Matters, the more audacious your goals are, the easier it will be to accomplish them. This will lead your organizational teams to keep experimenting. When established and deployed in a correct manner, they serve as a vaccine against imprecise thinking and ineffective execution. 

Key Results – They serve as a benchmark and monitor how your organizational teams achieve their objectives. In order for the key results to be effective, they have to be specific, transparent, aggressive, time-bound, and realistic. Most of all. they are verifiable and measurable – your employee either meets the requirement of the key result or they don’t, there’s no gray room and no room for doubt. Measure What Matters suggest having 3 to 5 key results. It teaches us that the less will be the number of key results, the more will be the focus. Makes sense, right? Every key result should be measured with ranges from 0 to 1. This enables you to revise the progress of your organizational teams. 

Let’s take an example to enhance the clarity and difference between Objective and Key Result

Objective – Win the world cup 

KR1 – Score 3.0 goals per game on average throughout the tournament

KR2 – The average of goals conceded per game should not be more than 0.5 throughout the tournament 

KR3 – Ball possession rate of 70%

The GROW conversation framework

The most substantial thing for you to remember is that it is not a mere tool or a simple conversation that you have with your employees but is rather an approach that enables you to work collaboratively and help your employees in achieving their next milestone. It’s highly fruitful for the organizations that struggle with getting high employee engagement and want to make their employees aware of the purpose of their work. This will facilitate you to help your employees and teams in finding the goals that will work the best for them. The rest? High employee engagement and productivity which in turn increases the odds of your organization achieving the desired success. The Grow framework aids you in creating a dedicated time and space for your organization to brainstorm and work towards the ultimate aspirations. Not only will it help your organization to grow but will play a huge role in helping your employees develop. 

a) Grow conversation is a modern approach used for strengthening employee and organizational performance. As a result of frequent and high-quality conversations, your organization enjoys alignment along with transparency and enhanced organizational performance through individual and team growth. 

b) Grow talks are reflective and future-oriented and can take place between anyone, anywhere, and at any time. They can be dialogues between you and your employees, amongst your team members, or within your management team of peers. 

c) Instead of the rigid and complex performance management frameworks, growth conversations are simple and agile – enabling you to promote a culture of trust and empowerment by focusing on the 4 key elements – clear expectations, growth perspective, timely recognition, and learning. 

Goal – What does your employee want to achieve? This has to be something they believe in doing and appeals to their vision. 

Reality – What are the internal and external realities that your employee may encounter? How far are they and how far do they need to go in the current circumstances? This serves as a current reality check! 

Options – After taking all the realities and potential impediments into consideration, outline the options through which the goal can be achieved. Be as specific as possible while listing the various options. 

Will/Way forward – How motivated does your employee appear to be? Are they psyched to get underway? Help them to earmark the habits and patterns that will enable them to achieve their goal. 

Both the strategies – the GROW conversation and OKR methodology will transform your organization from what & how to an employee & success-oriented organization. An organizational culture that embraces transparency, trust, and vulnerability so that their workforce is aligned, have a sense of belonging, and feel that their voice is heard is bound to experience an uplift in its productivity and success. 

You cannot go back and change the beginning but you for sure can start where you are and change the ending. Guide your organization towards success with the principles such as GROW conversation and the OKR program. Need more professional assistance to guide your teams and organization towards the desired result? Contact us now

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Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

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