“Everybody knows exactly how their objectives feed into the bigger picture”
OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, keep the team focused. At ProGlove it is a collaborative goal-setting process and Andreas shepherds it across the organization. In this interview he talks a little bit about his start at ProGlove and a lot about OKRs.
Hi Andreas, tell me about your start at ProGlove. Why are you here?
I started here 2,5 years ago. It was funny because I started at a different start-up here in Munich during my Bachelor studies. ProGlove wasn’t fast enough to get back to me at that time (giggles).
When I started my Master in Statistics, I looked for a part time job and as things go, second time around, I started at ProGlove. Within a week I had my interviews and first day. This time they were very fast. It took a month for me to give up my studies. The reason was that I realized that I had found an amazing opportunity here at ProGlove. The things I worked on were so fascinating and I was learning much more here than at uni. Implementing Salesforce was my very first task. The way we do sales here is such an integral part of our business and I felt very fortunate to be able to shape the processes. Today we use Salesforce in sales and after-sales, but it is also the main tool for marketing.
Your second big projects was the implementation of OKRs.
Yes, that is right!
You are passionate about OKRs and thanks to you they are today being used across the company. Why?
When I started at ProGlove we were about 40 people or so and one of the problems was that we were not clear about what priorities we should put to what timeline. The commercial side of the business was still lacking behind. I got to know about OKRs from my boss from a previous company and I just thought it would make a lot of sense to have it at ProGlove too.
It is so good if every single employee, no matter what role, knows exactly what his or her objectives are and how they feed into the bigger picture. Everybody understands how their objectives play part of a bigger success story.
ProGlove has since grown to over two hundred people, how do OKRs still fit in?
Everybody works with OKRs. It is a way to set very clear priorities, which is especially important during high growth periods. The benefit of OKRs is that you focus on max. three objectives that are contributing to growth. Having OKRs means you are concentrating on a handful of stretch goals (key results), that are over-ambitious. But because of this, you have got to rethink, find new ways of solving a problem. So, the focus is on that, finding new ways that push growth, much rather than achieving a certain percentage of your goal or being punished if you don’t.
How exactly did you implement them at ProGlove?
OKRs at ProGlove rest on three pillars:
- Everyone at ProGlove is given a purpose through a clear connection to the company vision and empowerment for their own decision making process
- You will work autonomously. This is enabled by a clear commitment and transparency in the goal setting.
- You will be better at what you do because of the focus and the constant challenge to change the status quo.
How do you see this now with so many people at ProGlove? Will OKRs help to keep hierarchies flat and maintain fluidity within teams?
OKRs will not solve this alone. But OKRs are a fluid process where there is alignment in the goal setting from the top down, and from the bottom up. It still takes people with a certain drive and initiative to make things happen. We are looking for people who are not waiting for us to tell them what to do, we need them to tell US what to do. But OKRs set a frame work to make everybody’s work transparent and accessible.