The importance of mastering the regular weekly Objectives and Key Results check-in cadence
I was fortunate recently to join a conversation between Barry O’Reilly and renowned industry Objectives and Key Results expert Christina Wodtke on the publication of “Radical Focus 2.0,” the second edition of her OKR book.
Christina shared how her thinking has evolved since the first edition, predominantly through experience gained consulting across a broad set of organizations ranging from small startups to large enterprises, as they’ve looked to harness the power of the OKR goal-setting framework.
Among the several choice distinctions she shared, she revealed her single biggest takeaway she seeks to instill through her ongoing OKR thought leadership and consulting:
“The cadence is more important than the quality of the OKR.”Christina Wodtke
While writing better OKRs is helpful as organizations evolve, for Wodtke, the most successful teams are those that keep the OKRs front and center at a regular cadence throughout their Discovery and Delivery. Those that have the hardest time achieving with OKRs tend to put them away once they’re written and not refer back to them until the end of the quarter. (“Set & Forget”)
She writes about this extensively in Radical Focus 2.0, but the gist of the cadence involves:
Monday: Set the OKR execution plan for the week.
The Monday planning session sets the intention for the week.
Guided by the Objective and the ~3 Key Results, the team lays out the specific things they’re planning on doing during the coming week to make the OKR set move.
Friday: Check, grade & celebrate!
The team regroups, checks OKR confidence, and celebrates!
The OKR confidence check
With the OKR set as their North Star, the team tracks their confidence in achieving the Key Result.
This isn’t meant to be either scientific or involved — just a quick check-in, on a 0–10 scale, of how confident they feel in delivering on that Key Result metric by the end of the quarter. This is always really eye-opening, and helps to guide the team’s work for the following week.
Now the team takes the time to brag about their wins, regardless of discipline, also reflecting on what they’ve learned in the process, or what they’ll need to discover in the week ahead to get one step closer to the OKR.
So by all means, continue to learn and improve how to set better OKRs. But if teams can master the regular weekly cadence and keep the OKR in front of them at all times, don’t be surprised if the goal-setting framework leads to a greater increase in goal-achieving.