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3 Random Takeaways from “The OKRs Field Book” by Ben Lamorte

The number of books, articles, blogs and guides about OKR framework in recent years has been released at the same rate as the methodology itself has been gaining its well-deserved popularity. From John Doerr’s classic “Measure What Matters” to lesser-known local authors, these books help individuals become better experts in OKRs, and organizations of all sizes and levels boost their efficiency to reach the top of the mountain.  

Most of them introduce us to the basic principles behind the OKRs – what they are and how to do them, however, they contain mostly theoretical information, even though thoroughly examined and concisely presented. Ben Lamorte’s “The OKRs Field Book. A Step-by-Step Guide for Objectives and Key Results Coaches” is probably the first and so far, the only one of its kind, that can rightfully serve as a complete practical and professional guide to the implementation of OKRs in organizations.  

This book is an absolute must-read as it comprises a great deal of valuable information about OKRs, including real-life examples from Ben’s practices. No doubt it can be used with equal success by both OKR coaches and OKR enthusiasts. Before you jump into the reading, though, a little warning: if you’re not an OKR coach, you might start considering becoming one after reading this book, as it is extremely instructive and engaging. By the end of it, you feel like you are fully equipped with all the knowledge required to dive into OKR coaching. 

From the first page, even without reading Ben’s biography or checking his background on LinkedIn, it’s quite obvious that he has an extensive practical experience in implementing OKR methodology, and he shares some of his practices. The book provides a detailed analysis of OKR coaching and answers plenty of questions that might pop in your head on how to design and conduct OKR coaching sessions in the most efficient way, prepare and structure a coaching proposal, develop coaching skills and overcome appearing obstacles. It also traces a little Ben’s journey in becoming the world’s most renowned expert in his field. 

We would like to briefly highlight a few random insights taken from “The OKR Field Book” as we’ve found them innovative and thought they are worth your focus (no spoilers contained). 

 

  • Three-phase OKRs roll-out 

The whole OKRs coaching engagement process is divided into three phases (Deployment Coaching, Training, Cycle Coaching – set & align, check in &monitor, reflect & reset), which makes it easier to understand the logic behind the framework, do better planning and follow up on progress from the start till the end. Ben suggests that OKRs coaching program is two-cycle (4+4) and runs eight months as this model works best and has been used “with great success”.  

 

  • “Crawl-walk-run”

Sometimes clients want to move quickly to deploy OKRs across the entire organization but it’s better not to rush it. Take-it-slow approach works best, make it your mantra! 

“Crawl-walk-run reflects our general guidance to begin with a smaller set of pilot teams and get OKRs right before scaling the use of OKRs to the larger organization. When we advise our clients to “walk before you run”, they agree that it is best to slow down”, emphasizes Ben in his book. 

 

  • Radical Focus, Measure What Matters & Stretch Target Commit 

“The OKRs Field Book” highlights and analyzes (by comparing) three different key results scoring approaches described in the following books: “Radical Focus” (Christina Wodtke), “Measure What Matters” (John Doerr) and “Objectives and Key Results: Driving Focus, Alignment, and Engagement with OKRs” (Ben Lamorte). 

If we have to shortly summarize them, they will sound like this: 

  • If your client wants simplicity, use the system mentioned in “Radical Focus” 
  • If OKRs are needed to trigger accountability, check John Doerr’s scoring method 
  • If your client wants a stretch culture focused on outcomes, not output, go for “Stretch Target Commit” (Lamorte).  

Overall, the “OKR Field Book” is a great handbook that seeks out patterns in OKR coaching methods and presents great examples on how to conduct those practices in the best possible way. By providing exercises at the end of each chapter, step-by-step processes, and case studies this book shares practical tips for running the OKR coaching successfully. 

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