Crystal Widjaja’s 2019 Personal OKRs
An easy way to growth hack one’s way into accountability is to commit to something publicly. With great SEO. ;)
OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results.
When I first started at GOJEK, my job changed every 2 weeks. From SQL monkey, to in-app implementation writer, to quasi-Chief-of-Staff, to fraud buster, to cat herder… there’s never been a dull day.
Luckily, these days, my job (only) changes every 3 to 6 months — though it still takes me another month or two to figure that out. This would imply more time to focus and really accomplish something, if only I could break the addiction to context switching.
Dian Rosanti, our Group PM at GOJEK, recommended that I read Measure What Matters by John Doerr to deepdive into the OKR concept. I WAS HOOKED. As a framework heavily used at Google, we realized that OKRs could be used for the wider GOJEK group that had by now, multiplied from 50 people into nearly 5,000. OKRs could be used to keep us focused on the big picture and the goals, not just the tactical initiatives.
A Personal Retrospective
In retrospect, my personal OKRs for 2018 weren’t set very well — they were a checklist of items from “understand design better” (thank you Abhinit Tiwari!) to “operationalize OKRs at GOJEK” (CorpStrat, you all rule!). Neither of these are particularly bad objectives; the problem was that they stemmed more from self-induced urgency and insecurity rather than a true self-awareness of what prevented me from being more impactful.
“What gets measured, gets managed.” — Peter Drucker
This year, I decided to use data for the foundation of my personal OKRs. We just closed a 360 Feedback cycle at GOJEK which means I have a baseline to start with and concrete feedback to measure (and therefore manage).
Determining the Objective
My lowest score on my 360 Feedback report was linked to this statement: My leader communicates clear directions and goals for our team.
I had been rated a 3.8/5 by my team! If that wasn’t enough of a data point, #CommunicateWithPurpose, one of our 10 Core Values at GOJEK, was listed in 7 out of 16 of the responses to the question “What are the areas that need IMPROVEMENT?”
Relevant feedback included:
- “it does not happen a lot but sometimes I’m missing some important information in the beginning of quarter”
- “it’s been quite often where Crystal gave instructions/directions weren’t clear enough and made me or couple of colleagues have to speculate the meaning. Probably it could be there is a a gap between what she knows and what the team knows. But it’s hardly a good habit to have.”
- “I think she can distribute more of our overall company strategies to her people so we can focus on what matters better”
- “Sometimes Crystal can be a bit unclear in her communication, which maybe because she has a lot to do which made her not thorough in her questions or statements.”
- “it would be great if you can communicate your thoughts regularly since I don’t think communicating it thru one on ones are scalable anymore with your current huge scope.”
… and that’s only a sample of the feedback! Experiencing radical candor is always super exciting — I’m grateful for it and it’s always encouraging to be given the trust to work on these things.
Getting to ‘How’
Information processing at GOJEK is a full-time job. There are Product Updates (essays) on a daily basis, new features being launched left and right, and thousands of Slack messages to read. I thought I would only be making the information overload even worse by piling on MORE material for my team to read or listen to. After all, my team was full of people so much smarter than me — they definitely got it, didn’t they?
I realized how wrong that thought process was during a team meeting a week or so after our 360 Feedback cycle had closed. We were finishing up, having just aligned on (what I thought was) a very clear set of next steps and objectives. I was in a rush to get to the next thing, but the conversations over the past week’s 1-on-1s made me ask one last question:
“Wait — did that make sense? Is it clear to everyone what the next step should achieve and how it could be done? I don’t want to be too prescriptive...”
In that moment, I realized just how much self-awareness I had lacked. The room erupted in laughter and exclamations:
“No!! Please — be MORE ‘prescriptive’!”
I was floored. Now, this isn’t to say that any leader should be overly prescriptive and micromanage their teams’ projects and tasks. But I had obviously been doing a few things wrong:
- I was implicitly creating an unhealthy culture where ambiguity and guessing was status-quo
- I was setting my team up for failure by failing to provide the right context or clarity of expectations
- I wasn’t practicing the most basic thing of all: asking questions
- I had equated my team’s intelligence with the ability to read my mind
Now, I don’t expect that my communication skills will transform overnight and it’s unlikely that simply “asking questions” will dramatically solve everything. The feedback and small revelation has primed me to be more conscious about how I communicate and what I assume out of laziness.
I have come to realize that no amount of genius can make up for the words unsaid.
Objective: Radically improve the clarity of asks, strategies, and information.
- Key Result #1: Improve communication scores on 360 Feedback by 20% (from 3.8/5.0 to 4.6/5.0)
- Key Result #2: Four out of five attendees feel that the upcoming Q3 Strategy Planning meeting “has improved the strategic clarity of my team/role”