One year ago I launched Expanded Focus as a full-time business. Thank you for your support and encouragement along the journey! As I celebrated this first anniversary, I wrote an article describing one of the approaches that helped me make progress in an unprecedented year: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
As I began this adventure, I needed a framework to organize my thoughts and prioritize my actions. “Ideas are easier to come up with than you think. What’s hard — really hard — is moving from an idea to reality,” writes Christina Wodtke in Radical Focus. “You need a system to keep you — and your team— aimed at your goal when the world seems determined to throw shiny objects at you.”
For me, OKRs offered an effective planning approach that included both inspiration and accountability, dreaming and doing, vision and results, which allowed me to build and nurture a strong business foundation. The process helped me to:
Energize through inspiration. OKRs help articulate the big “why” behind a goal or activity. Writing the dream in concrete terms validates the vision and can inspire you when things get rough.
Quiet inner critics. Using quantifiable key results reduces the volume of saboteur voices that tempt you to play small and undervalue yourself. OKRs provide a neutralizing framework to reduce imposter complex and boost confidence.
Accelerate progress. Radical clarity and intentional focus boosts speed and power for what matters most. OKRs empower your choice to tackle first things first, providing the opportunity to deliver value sooner and remove roadblocks to progress.
Achieve more. Imagining the best possible outcome creates a slightly uncomfortable stretch to dream bigger.
Sustain focus. The practice of OKRs creates a helpful rhythm of plan/act/review. You can see your work accrue to your goals and train your focus on results rather than activity.
Empower prioritization and accountability. In the face of daunting to-do lists, OKRs demand focused prioritization, quantifiable results, and a growth mindset to learn while you work. OKRs empower flexible accountability, not flakiness, as you consciously make trade-offs, course-correct, say no, say yes, and set boundaries.
Celebrate visible progress. Key Results define what it looks like to move from the current state to the desired state. Progress is made visible. Checking in regularly allows you to build time to pause and celebrate results, which can be easy to skip.
If you haven’t yet had a chance, I invite you to read the full article. Please let me know if you have used OKRs or something else to organize your work and inform your priorities.