How to Use CFRs & OKRs for Better Execution

OKRs, in and of themselves are never enough. In his New York Time bestseller, “Measure What Matters,” author John Doerr, the “godfather of OKRs,” introduces CFRs as the logical adjunct to OKRs, “Together they (OKRs and CFRS) capture the full richness and power of Groves innovative method. They give OKRs their human voice.” Without CFRs, OKRs can become completely meaningless.

CFRs and OKRs Mutually Reinforcing

You cannot set and forget OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). In the absence of Conversations and Feedback on progress, and Recognition of achievements you are not doing the methodology, or your organization justice.

OKRs in a vacuum is basically the equivalent of asking people to input data on a spreadsheet. What’s the point? It certainly doesn’t contribute to the goal of more effective people management.

OKRs and CFRs are mutually reinforcing. The Conversations and Feedback relate directly to the performance measures set in the OKR process. CFRs provide the opportunity for coaching and motivating people during Conversations; it provides a platform for bi-directional Feedback to address roadblocks and for real-time course correction, and, it encourages and enables Recognition of team’s and individual’s performance towards goal achievement.

If you are not implementing CFRs as a part of your OKR methodology; having frequent Conversations, providing Feedback, and Recognizing small wins, perhaps you need to revisit Doerr’s book, the bible on OKRs, “Measure What Matters,” or read our Executive Summary of the Book.

Key Takeaways on CFRs from Measure What Matters

The central theme of “Measure What Matters” is that implementing both OKRs and CFRs is crucial to successful execution.

  • We know that OKRs evolved from Peter Drucker’s MBOs, Management by Objectives. Of people management Drucker stated that “a manager’s first role, is a personal one. It’s the relationship with people, building a community.
  • Another quote, this one from Albert Einstein, “Not everything that can be counted counts. And, not everything that counts can be counted.”
  • Doerr himself said, “To reach goals almost beyond imagining, people must be managed at a higher level.” And that, “Today’s workplace needs a tool equivalent to OKRs for performance management. That transformational tool is continuous performance management implemented with CFRs; Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition.

When OKRs Fail

The number one factor in failed OKR executions is the lack of implementing CFRs. Our experience is that OKRs without CFRs will result in a failure to execute. It simply does not work. It’s not what Andy Grove envisioned at Intel, and it’s not what Doerr brought to Google, or preaches about in “Measure What Matters.”

If you don’t intend to make OKRs and CFRs a unified, integrated management system, we suggest you not implement the methodology. OKRs can be a bit of a shock to the established order in a company. OKRs in the absence of CFRs can become a major disruption.

When implemented properly, together, OKRs and CFRs can boost execution, create an environment of achievement, and produce 10X results. Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, a middle manager or even a front-line manager)? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR & Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!

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