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Learnings from OKR

Kanthal R&D: Learnings from OKR implementation

We spoke to VP & Head of R&D Jesper Enjenstam about the art of implementing OKR

Kanthal® is a world-leading brand for products and services in the area of industrial heating technology and resistance materials.

Kanthal R&D mission is to enabling the sustainable heating and medical technologies of tomorrow by focusing on our customers’ desired outcome of today.

Background:

Kanthal R&D initiated the work with OKR in the spring of 2023. They had decided to implement OKR to strengthen the organization’s ability to work more efficiently towards the overall Kanthal strategy, enhance cross-team collaboration and align the organization towards overall objectives.

Solutions Provided:

Management Team Implementation

Helping the management team set strong OKRs in line with the strategy and then support them through our OKR Execute service. In workshops, check-ins and regular coaching of team members we instill a profound understanding of the OKR framework and challenge the team to drive execution.

All Hands Inspiration Workshop

Workshops with all staff to inspire and give guides into the framework for effective implementation.

Ambassador Program

An OKR Ambassador Program is a strategic effort in organizations to drive adoption of the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework. Ambassadors educate colleagues, provide guidance in setting goals, and advocate for OKRs to foster alignment and accountability.

The Result & effect for Kanthal R&D:

We joined with Jesper Ejenstam ,VP and Head of R&D for a chat about how we helped implement the OKR framework.

Daniel Mälsjö – The OKR Coach , our Country Manager for Sweden, and the OKR coach responsible for this assignment talked to Jesper.



Daniel: How did our consultancy services assist you in establishing clear objectives and key results (OKRs) aligned with your organizational goals?


Jesper: It helped us dig deeper into why we wanted to do certain things as well as challenged us on how we would achieve the impact we sought after. Moreover, it challenged us to consider who we needed to have on board to reach our targets, i.e., internal blockers/enablers. Language wise, we have learned to craft better objectives from a clarity point of view which helps us ensure everyone understands what impact we are looking for in our target setting.


Daniel: Can you share any specific challenges or pain points you faced with OKR implementation before engaging with our consultancy services?


Jesper: As with all new (to us) frameworks, it takes time and training to implement. We agreed internally that if this should be successful, we had to ask for guidance. Bringing a coach into our implementation journey also added a sense of urgency and seriousness to the topic, which may be difficult to muster internally. A specific pain point was crafting Objectives and Key results that were measurable and not activities.


Daniel: What were the key recommendations or insights provided by our consultancy team that proved instrumental in refining your OKR strategy?


Jesper: Follow up, follow up & follow up. 80% of the framework is endurance in weekly check ins. This is where the habit is built. Secondly, celebrating wins and learning from failures during retrospectives are essential for long-term team building and continuous improvement.


Daniel: How did our consultancy services support you in cascading OKRs throughout your organization and ensuring alignment across teams?


Jesper: You helped our units to relate to the overall goal of the organization. While we don’t cascade in a waterfall style, we still need to relate to the overall goals. This concept requires quite some reflection and learning. We are still learning but have found a sound base to build from.


Daniel: Can you quantify any improvements or outcomes directly attributed to the guidance and support received from our consultancy team in managing your OKRs?


Jesper: I would say speed to implementation. Bringing in you speeds up time from the rest of the management team during the implementation. It also added a neutral ground that challenged all of us to become better. Also, our focus have improved significantly and we have celebrated more achievements lately.


Daniel: In what ways did our consultancy services help in fostering a culture of accountability, transparency, and continuous improvement within your organization through OKRs?


Jesper: ”Finally goals I understand, and I know how I contribute to the end goal” is a quote from the team that says it all. You were a key driving force in reaching there.


Daniel: How responsive and collaborative was our consultancy team in addressing your questions, concerns, and evolving needs throughout the OKR implementation process?


Jesper: Very! We talked daily when needed. Also, all organizations are different so we had to adjust to make the framework work for us. Here we discussed many possible ways of improving the framework, and you are very open to learning how the framework can be improved, which is a great habit.


Daniel: Were there any particular tools, frameworks, or methodologies recommended by our consultancy team that enhanced your understanding and execution of OKRs?


Jesper: Several. Frameworks for effective check-ins as well as retrospectives have been very useful. Coaching language, i.e., asking open-ended questions that improves our OKR setting and follow up routines have been very useful too.


Daniel: How would you describe the overall impact of our consultancy services on the efficiency, effectiveness, and success of your OKR initiatives?


Jesper: You helped us with implementation and broadening our common understanding of the framework at the same time, which I believe significantly shortened the implementation time.


Daniel: Would you recommend our consultancy services to other organizations seeking to optimize their OKR implementation and management practices? If so, why?


Jesper: Absolutely! You are very observant to the client’s specific needs and challenges. The OKR framework needs to be adjusted to fit the organization at hand and you will make sure it will be come useful for you and your team so that it becomes part of your culture and not something that fades out when the coach’s assignment ends. He is very easy going and challenges you at the same time, which are excellent traits for an effective coach.


Daniel: Do you have something to add about the process, consultant, Futureworks, the people in Futureworks, etc.?


Jesper: The ambassador training program is likely underestimated. Getting a group of internal ambassadors is something that will help the habits stick over time. Creating more leaders and role models is what a culture shift is about.


Daniel: Thank you Jesper for sharing your thoughts and feedback



IF you want to find out more on how we can help you on your OKR journey: