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Q&A with Tristan Pelloux

Updated: Apr 24

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Tristan Pelloux, Founder of StrategWhy | OKR Coach, Strategy Execution & Project Management.

What are the critical first steps for an organisation looking to implement OKRs? 

Before implementing OKRs, an organisation must first ensure it has a well-defined strategy. This strategic clarity is essential as it guides the setting and alignment of OKRs. Leadership must be prepared not only to commit to the methodology but also to encourage a culture of increased transparency and outcome-driven planning, rather than focusing solely on outputs. They should be ready to encourage a shift towards a bottom-up approach, where team input drives OKR setting, under strong leadership guidance. Additionally, leaders should support the move towards a more agile approach in strategic planning. 

With these foundational steps in place, training sessions should be conducted to ensure all staff understand OKR principles and their role in the organisation's success. Selecting robust tools for tracking and managing OKRs will facilitate transparency and accountability. An initial trial period for the OKR process can help identify and rectify potential issues early, allowing for smoother implementation. 


How should companies set effective and realistic OKRs, and who should be involved in this process? 

Setting effective and realistic OKRs requires a collaborative approach. It is important that these objectives are aligned with the company's strategic goals – and ultimately the vision and mission - and that they challenge the teams while remaining achievable. The process should involve stakeholders from various levels of the organisation, including senior leaders who can provide strategic oversight and team members who can offer insights based on their day-to-day experiences. Hybrid top-down and bottom-up. 

Regular review sessions should be scheduled to assess progress and refine OKRs, ensuring they remain relevant and aligned with any changes in business strategy. Transparency and open communication are key to cultivating a culture where everyone feels responsible for achieving their objectives. 


What are some of the most common challenges organisations face when implementing OKRs, and how can they overcome these challenges? 

OKRs are easy to understand but paradoxically not so easy to put in place. Organisations frequently encounter challenges such as lack of buy-in, setting overly ambitious OKRs, not understanding the scale of the operational changes required, or failing to align them with real business outcomes. To overcome these obstacles, it is essential to ensure that there is clear communication about the purposes and benefits of OKRs right from the outset.  That needs to come from the very top of the organisation. 

Training and ongoing support will help set in OKR principles into the organisation's culture. Within large organisations, it is also beneficial to start with a pilot program to refine the OKR approach before rolling it out more widely. Leaders must ensure that OKRs are not only ambitious but also realistic, providing a clear path to achievement and adjustment as necessary. 


How can organisations maintain flexibility within their OKRs without losing sight of their strategic objectives? 

OKRs are very different from other performance management methodologies because they are not a “set and forget” framework. Flexibility is of the essence here as opposed to rigidity in the execution of the strategy. It is crucial for adapting to changes without moving away from core strategic objectives. Organisations should build adaptability into the framework, allowing for revisions and updates in response to shifting circumstances. It’s advisable to review OKRs regularly, not just at the end of each quarter but as recurrently as needed. To recalibrate or refocus efforts when required. 

Encouraging teams to maintain a proactive approach to their OKRs, with leaders and management providing ongoing support and guidance, can help keep everyone aligned with the broader strategic goals. This approach ensures that even as targets adjust, they continue to support the overarching aims of the organisation. 


How can OKRs be adapted to fit different types of organisations, such as startups versus established corporations or non-profit organisations? 

The OKR methodology is one of the most flexible strategy execution frameworks and can adapt to whatever organisations. The flexibility of OKRs makes them suitable for a wide range of organisations, each requiring a tailored approach to implementation. Startups, for example, might find shorter OKR cycles beneficial to rapidly iterate and adapt to the fast-changing environment they operate in. 

In contrast, established corporations might integrate OKRs into their existing strategic planning processes, focusing on long-term objectives and incremental improvement rather than fast-paced transformation. Non-profits could adapt OKRs to measure impact and outreach more effectively, emphasising qualitative objectives alongside quantitative targets. Ultimately, the key is to adjust the OKR framework to suit the specific needs, pace, and culture of the organisation to drive the most value. 


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