Effectively Implement, Execute and Excel on OKRs – Gust

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Stephen Newman

STEPHEN NEWMAN
, CO-FOUNDER
, KREZZO


15 Sep 2022

Welcome to the Gust Launch Founder Spotlight! Gust Launch supports a variety of exciting founders doing amazing things. In this ongoing series we’ll highlight the experiences of Gust Launch founders, in their own words, as they navigate the challenges of early-stage entrepreneurship.

Want to share your story? Reach out at [email protected].


The company and why we’re excited

Krezzo radically improves cross-departmental operational alignment with OKRs (Objectives & Key Results). When start-ups begin to scale, one of the first things that becomes a big problem is keeping track of the core business priorities and performance across teams. When implemented and adopted successfully, OKRs essentially becomes your company’s playbook enabling your company to focus more on solving problems than doing homework. We’ve taken popular goal-setting methodology used and popularized by Google and other high-growth companies and turned it into a purpose-built yet simple technology solution, and we’re just getting started.

What are OKRs and why is it so important to have the proper Objectives and Key Results when planning your strategy?

Objectives define the critical business priorities, Key Results measure performance, and Initiatives drive execution. When these three components are combined in a simple, logical, and understandable way, it can really improve how companies operate and grow.

What makes OKRs so powerful when implemented correctly?

Empowerment. Communication. Autonomy. Visibility. Clarity. These are just a few of the benefits, but when OKRs are done right it is a big cultural enhancement. It’s not all sunshines and rainbows though. If OKRs are misused or poorly implemented, it can have a backfire effect, so you must be careful and do it right!

Why do SaaS companies fail to achieve their OKRs?

Poor training with OKRs is the biggest problem, which is why we offer high-quality, interactive, and embedded learning experiences in our product around OKR best practices. This helps you to avoid some of the common pitfalls while also improving your OKR knowledge and skills. They write too many Objectives, or they are poorly written without any measurable Key Results or verifiable Initiatives. Ambiguity and a lack of accountability is like sand in the gears of your operations. It will slow you down tremendously, even if you don’t notice it at first. It’s why we’re really focused on building our platform using our prescriptive best practices combined with behavioral psychology. If you want ultimate flexibility and the ability to document any abstract thought, use a spreadsheet. If you want to really drive operational alignment both today and into the future, use Krezzo.

How do I effectively write OKRs?

Start with writing just one! Describe where you want to be or become in a short, concise, and compelling way (Objectives). Figure out how you’ll measure success and if you’ve achieved your Objective (Key Results). Lastly, jot down a few ideas, experiments, or things you can do today and track progress (Initaitives).

How do you know when to pivot from your OKR?

If you wrote a solid OKR which is strategic in nature, you really shouldn’t need to pivot much. When you absolutely will want to pivot though is on the Initiatives. Those are the flexible experiments and assumptions you are making and executing against.

How do I properly measure or keep accountable to my OKRs?

If just starting out, spreadsheets or a simple project/task management tool work fine. As you scale or want to get more value out of your OKR program, we can certainly help too 🙂

What happens if I have too many goals or don’t know what to focus on?

If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Select a few and stick to them. And if you are having trouble focusing, then you probably don’t have much traction either. The opposite of traction is distraction. Makes sense, right?

What are some interesting lessons you like to share?

With OKRs, less is more. No need to create 17 different OKRs just to have a false sense of purpose. Identify 1 or 2, execute, and learn.

How can Krezzo help focus strategic execution for startups?

There’s a million different directions you can take a startup, but there’s real value in identifying your handful of critical outcome metrics (Key Results) and then experimenting how to move the needle with what new things you’ll execute (Initiatives). By centralizing where you create and update these critical items, Krezzo can effectively become your business’s Operational Alignment Platform. We’re not trying to replace the various tools your teams use daily, but rather complement them in a more strategic way in order to achieve better business performance and cross-departmental collaboration.

How do I pick the right sales and marketing strategy?

Really depends on your market and the product you are selling, but essentially any good go-to-market strategy consists of four parts. The market, your product, your channels, and your business model. If there’s a clear need or problem in the market, and your product can solve that problem, that’s like 80% of the battle. Finding the channels where customers look/learn/buy, and then optimizing how they pay or stay paying customers is the fun part, at least for me.

How has Gust helped along the way?

Gust has been instrumental in our journey. Being able to form and maintain a legal business entity has been very simple, and when we’ve needed support or had unique requests, the Gust team has delivered 100% of the time.

How can I learn more or connect with Krezzo on how it can help my startup?

Visit www.krezzo.com to learn more, but we do provide start-ups with a free–tier for up to 5 users. Request access by filling out our application form here.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only, and doesn’t constitute tax, accounting, or legal advice. Everyone’s situation is different! For advice in light of your unique circumstances, consult a tax advisor, accountant, or lawyer.

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