Two years ago today we started a journey that has transformed how we work as a company.
2015 our most successful year ever!
“How can we make next year our most successful ever?” Ok, so a typical question as you approach a new year. A chance to reflect and set new goals. At the time though, we had no idea how one idea would change how we work.
January 4th 2015 “Watch this if get chance.”
It was the last day of our Christmas break. Owen sends me a short email with a link to a video on “How google sets goals”. Goal setting was not something new to us. We had been doing it in some form since day 1. We tried to get more sophisticated as we grew, bringing in KPI’s and dashboards but the principles remained the same.
This simple email would change how we work for ever. At 8am on this Sunday, I had a clear plan of how we were going to start the year and what Monday am had in store for us. I should have known better.
We need to connect everyone in the company for it to really work
The simplicity of OKR really excited us. On the surface it offered an answer to so many of the challenges we had been facing as we grew:
- Teams becoming disconnected
- Unclear on our goals
- Communication blockages
- Reacting too slow
OKRs created a framework to set goals which:
- Aligns the team
- Feeds into company goals
- Requires complete transparency
- Change the cadence of how we think
In hindsight, I would do many things differently! With around 40 staff, we decided to jump in and roll out OKRs immediately. In my defense I had read one article and watched a video so was ready to go. Besides, the concept was simple…
Looking back, the simplicity of OKR is what attracted us and what we still love about this framework. Implementing company wide has been far from simple! The learnings over the last 2 years though has been invaluable.
Pen & Paper – Old School
Our first approach was to use a simple template to capture an objective and the key results. One of the aspects that struck us as crucial was to visualise to the team how various projects/OKRs cascaded up and down – ultimately impacting a company wide goal.
(February 2015 – our first attempt)
For over 12 months now we have been fortunate to form a strong partnership with Perdoo, a like-minded, entrepreneurial software company who developed an OKR platform. This has opened up many other opportunities of how we use OKR in the business.
Was 2015 our most successful year ever??
It was a good year but not our most successful. But it has set us up for a journey that is looking like, after consistently growing, 2017 will be our fastest year of growth in 3 years.
Since January 2015 we have:
- Launched a new brand in 2016
- Developed in house over 40 product innovations
- Increased our warehouse facility by 6 times
- Doubled the size of the team
- Become the most productive we have ever been.
One completely aligned team
So the simple question of “how can make next year our most successful” has be founded on our teams and culture. What OKR has brought to our company are:
- Alignment – everyone working towards same goals
- Stretch targets – encouraging “How can we” thinking
- Cross-functional teams – increasingly becoming more productive
- Agility through tactical OKRs (usually 12 weeks only)
- Learnings – what did we think would happen and what actually happened?
We have an amazing team of like-minded individuals who excel at what they do. Everyone is contributing to the same 4 Company Strategic Goals and helping us create the most successful future.
We still have a long way to go but 2017 is set to be a very exciting year. We a very strong and driven team, what’s not possible!
* OKRs stands for Objectives and Key Results. It is a method of defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes. Its main goal is to connect company, team and personal objectives to measurable results, making people move together in the right direction.
May 2017 Update…
4 months into 2017 and we have already achieved some amazing things
- Hero Project on QVC
- Launched Nanogen in Boots Haircare
- Medik8’s fastest ever year of growth (after launching more than 10 product innovations in 2016)
- And a lot happening behind the scenes!
In January we moved away from individual OKRs and focused just on company and team level. This has freed us to focus on key actions to support core objectives and pull teams together where individual OKRs encouraged this less.
The energy and success so far is infectious. We are tracking our fastest year of growth right now and highly confident we are going to break some company records this year. The team is still growing and those that were new only 6 months ago are firmly rooted helping to drive us towards the 4 OKRs.