Luke Kyte

Part 6: Our Culture Revolution – Bringing Assets & Values into OKRs

Category Tags: Culture

We’re just a normal agency. You may own one. You may work for one. We’re ticking along nicely, picking up new business and growing at a good pace. The team size has upped from 1 to 20 in five years, with plans of reaching 50 by 2021. Everyone seems happy.

But we want more.

Day Zero was the launch of our manifesto. Its aim? To revolutionise our culture, attract amazing talent, and be recognised nationally as a great place to work.

Over the course of the next few months we’ll be taking you to the heart of Reddico, sharing our highs, our lows, and our eureka moments. We’ll be honest and open about everything. What works. What doesn’t. Whether you’re here for inspiration, to watch us fail, or out of sheer curiosity, welcome along.

No hours. No managers. Rules set by the team. Let’s see what happens next.

Previously…

If you read the last post, you’ll have started to get an understanding of our thought process and how we were going about the task of linking individual targets to the tried and tested model of OKRs.

We also discussed the Rockefeller Habits and showed early brainstorming sessions around how these would align the team to overall company goals.

But as mentioned towards the end of the previous article, it still had a corporate edge and didn’t bring in the fundamental elements of the manifesto we wanted to encourage the team to be thinking about.

Something was missing.

Defining 24 assets

There’s an excellent business book I’d recommend to anyone – 24 Assets by Daniel Priestley. It offers an insight into the different types of assets a business should be creating to ensure sustainability and growth, while ensuring there are other potential income channels outside of your main product or service.

By using the structure Daniel has created, we could start to envisage how this would work at Reddico – and how the team could get excited about helping us create new (and improve) assets in all areas of the business.

The 24 assets are broken down into seven core areas:

1. Product assets: This details information on improving your core product, whilst engaging with new and existing customers.
2. Culture assets: What assets can a company use to improve culture through sales, marketing and management, whilst becoming a Key Person of Influence (KPI).
3. Systems assets: Systems assets to help the business run more efficiently, looking specifically at administrational and operational assets.
4. Brand assets: These are assets that get your message out there through brand guidelines and consistency, looking closely at your identity and philosophy.
5. Market assets: Marketing channels you can exploit to be seen and heard by new and existing customers.
6. Intellectual assets: Identifying methodologies and IPs you need to protect as part of natural business growth.
7. Funding assets: How you can put your business in a secure place, with risk mitigation, structure and documentation.

With seven areas to work from (plus Asset Zero – the asset not included in the book, but what you’ll realise is missing), we could start to come up with ideas and inspiration of how each category would fit into our vision.

The beauty is, asset ideas will never run dry. The team could come up with fresh approaches and challenges, empowering them to make an impact at all levels of the business.

Here, Daniel talks team motivation and how Revenue Per Person (RPP) is affected by the business assets you have in place and can afford to focus on.

Habits become values

The Rockefeller Habits were touched on previously, as we started to think about the different parts of the business where the team could make an impact. They include:

1. People
2. Strategy
3. Execution
4. Cash

You’ll probably agree, very corporate sounding. Not something that aligns with the manifesto or culture we’re trying to create.

This is where the moment of magic comes in.

With a determination to make our newly created values a part of everyday life, where the team live and breathe them, why not align the habits to the values?

So:

  • People: Create a positive team spirit / Build open and honest relationships
  • Strategy: Embrace and drive change
  • Execution: Make a real and meaningful impact
  • Cash: Be passionate, proud and determined

Suddenly, we have four areas of the business aligned to core company values. And better still, all the assets spoken about earlier will fit into each of these areas.

However, there’s still a final value without a home…

  • Pursue growth and learning

A structure was born

We were at a point where our grand plans for OKRs were beginning to reflect the company values we wanted to promote. They were also starting to align themselves to the bigger company goals, ambitions and targets.

However, growth shouldn’t just be tailored to the company. We want our team to constantly look at ways to improve their skills and make the most of Personal Development Days (days spent acquiring or building existing skills).

When you look at the final value to place – pursue growth and learning – it fits that individual development perfectly.

Aligning OKRs to our quarterly updates also made sense – so with three months to play with, each person setting themselves three objectives seemed to tie in well.

There was a conversation on whether OKRs should be rolling, with no time limits. This would allow the team to continually add new objectives to their list, as opposed to waiting for the beginning of the following quarter.

However, as with any new concept it’s often best to start with a tighter leash and understand what does and doesn’t work first – rather than going full blown straight away. Taking a more controlled approach first would help embed this into Reddico life.

With quarterly objectives decided, we settled on the structure of:

  • 2 business OKRs each quarter
  • 1 personal OKR each quarter

Business OKRs

These would fit around the following values:

1/2. Build open and transparent relationships / Build a positive team spirit
3. Embrace and drive change
4. Make a real and meaningful impact
5. Be passionate, proud and determined

“Business OKRs are designed to provide opportunities for the whole team to get behind and drive overall company targets. The team will be contributing to the ambitions of Reddico, with objectives that are measurable, relevant, and have a significant impact on clients, the other people, and the larger vision.”

For example:

Top line objective: Drive more business sales for Reddico

Key results:
1. Have initial conversations with 10 new customers every month
2. Improve conversion rates to 70%
3. Bring on 5 new clients every month

Personal growth OKRs

These would be based around our final value:

6. Pursue growth and learning

“Personal growth is very important. It gives you a chance to pursue a career you love and can be passionate about, whilst also helping to contribute to the wider industry. Whether you choose to take a course, watch webinars, develop skills, or become involved in public forums, you’re developing yourself professionally and personally.”

For example:

Top line objective: Improve my understanding in technical SEO

Key results:
1. Review 10 videos on technical SEO and provide best practice tips to the team
2. Attend 1 course on technical SEO to help better my skills

It’s worth noting that the personal growth OKRs have two key results, whereas the business driven ones have three. This decision was made as a way to help the team really focus on self-improvement by working specifically on fewer areas, rather than spreading themselves too thin.

To reward or not to reward

As hinted in the previous post, one of the many questions that came about was on financial benefit for completing OKRs.

Should OKRs be tied into annual performance (and salary appraisals)? Should there be a reward for the team member who completes the highest percentage of their objectives?

In our opinion, the answer is no.

And this is also backed by many other companies who’ve adopted their own form of OKRs.

One of the core elements of these OKRs is to have ambitious targets. When a carrot is dangled – whether it’s a bonus, salary increase, or any other incentive – would the team start to think about this, rather than setting themselves tougher goals?

Also, considering we want to inspire team cohesion, shared targets, and collaboration in helping others achieve, offering individual reward would go against the philosophy.

What’s next?

We’ve got a structure. We know we want the 24 assets to play a significant part in OKRs. We’ve now aligned objectives to the new values we want to promote within the team.

But how can every department play a part and set objectives that’ll make an impact? Will this structure work for everyone within the company? What top level goals can the team focus on?

Next week we’ll finish up on OKRs, focusing on:

  • Alignment of top level goals to individual objectives
  • How every department can contribute, with example OKRs

We’ll also share the PowerPoint delivered to the team. It was scheduled for this week, but this area of the manifesto needs an extra week to provide all the information there is to share.