I want to write this story months ago when I introduce OKR tracking in Notion a few months ago to my team. I also share how I did it in Notion in another article. To give some context, we use SMART goals at the beginning between us the leadership at Kulkul, and track the progress here and there. In various places from documents to some kind of Kanban boards.
Months passed since the first time we set our goals. Our goals initially documented only as a list of things we want to achieve together with its metrics. Later we realized that we already achieve several items, but also deviate a lot from our initial goal. For example, we want to host at least 1 event a month for the rest of the year, which was in August, so it will be 5 events. However, we only realized in October that we already way behind.
From this problem, I have a big appetite (stealing from Basecamp Shape-Up) to solve this problem. Ultimately we decided to use OKR (Objectives — Key Results) to manage our goals and documenting it properly in Notion. And here’s key take away from our process.
Tracking is Easier
The obvious benefit of writing our goals in a structured format is having everything tracked and easy to manage. For me as Chief Kul, I can easily get answer to my frequently asked questions for example
- Which goals are finished and which one are aren’t?
- If the goals is not finished, is there any percentage or progress we have made?
- Which aspect of our goal should I spent most of my time in the coming weeks or month?
Another benefit is since we link our Kanban board task with the OKR, we can easily track how we achieved our goal and we can inspect why some goals are not achieved.
Know our Why
The second most important benefit that I feel for tracking our goals especially in OKR format is knowing our why. Since OKR always contains Objectives and Key Results, I can easily recall why we do things certain way. Why we want to achieve certain goals (Objectives) and How and What to do about it (Key Results). Previously using only list of goals we only know What we want to achieve but not the Why. For a mission-driven organization like ours, knowing the Why is so important.
Cascading Goals to Subordinate is Easy as Cake
Since the notes are written digitally in Notion as we share in the previous blogpost, it can be shared globally throughout the organization and everyone can have a sense of purpose here. Moreover, I can link a specific task in our Kanban board to a specific Key Results resulting in more context when solving specific a problem. This is always our value since the beginning, we want our people to not only do the work but know why they do it and then they can improvise and do their work creatively as long as achieving our ultimate goal.
… we want our people to not only do the work but know why they do it and then they can improvise and do their work creatively as long as achieving our ultimate goal.
People Just Love Checking Things
The other thing I like is the Dopamine burst when we as a team achieving things. I can feel like our team is progressing when we move towards our goal. And when I myself achieving specific goal, I really like the feeling when I check a checklist from our goals especially when it is done together.
… when we checked something out it is not only for the sake of dopamine, but we really achieving meaningful progress.
Assuming we set our Objectives and Key Results right, we can safely assume that when we check an item in our goals, it is the right thing and align with our purpose. This is very important because when we check something out it is not only for the sake of dopamine, but we really achieving meaningful progress.
Cultivating Data-Driven Culture
Last but not least, by tracking and writing our goals systematically we really get a sense of how we are progressing as a team. It is also helping us judge ourselves based on data. We can easily get the answer to the following questions easily
- Are we progressing enough?
- Which part that we are not investing in enough?
- Which goals is at risk, which are on track?
- Are we setting the right goals?
For me being data-driven is not necessarily about implementing a complex Machine Learning algorithm, but it starts from a small thing and collecting data about ourselves. Goals too can be an important data point and help us grow ourselves.