Execution isn’t easy – even for teams that have tried OKRs before. For the Smollan Group, while they recognised the importance of OKRs from a strategy execution perspective, they weren’t experiencing the full benefits of OKRs as expected. Our team was brought in to reset OKRs and help bring focus to the right strategic objectives, as the group were trying to do too much, often duplicating efforts indicating a lack of alignment and transparency.

By using OKRs to articulate goals, teams were able to crystalise their thinking and create focus, alignment and clarity on the way forward.  Further, by creating a common language through OKRs, teams were able to effectively create space for the right strategic conversations to create focus to drive the Group forward.

“The team assisted in getting us to a much better place, much faster – in the process, we’ve crystalised our thoughts and got them into an actionable plan for implementation.”






Two months


Retail Solutions

The leadership team of the Smollan Group – a global retail services organisation with operations in more than 80 countries – have tried OKRs before. They understand the importance of successfully executing on strategy in their business – tech startups in the space have shown that they could potentially disrupt parts of their business. But OKRs haven’t worked to the full effect they hoped for, and they called Step in to provide a view on OKRs and assist in resetting OKRs for the next annual cycle.

We set out to give the leadership team a brief overview of OKRs first, to get to a common level of understanding. During this initial session, it was already identified where the gaps in implementing OKRs were previously.

We then embarked on setting OKRs at the company-level first. To enable this, we worked on a set of “deployment parameters” with the main sponsors, to reach agreement on how to implement OKRs. Throughout various engagements, we got to an understanding of requirements and preferences as it relates to each of the deployment parameters.

OKRs were then set during a 2-day breakaway session with the leadership team. They soon realized they are trying to do too much and need to create focus. The discussions during the breakawking on what seems to be the same things, all over the world, but not aligning and leveraging the learnings.

Follow up conversations were conductays created alignment across many different businesses – individuals are wored with each of the OKR owners to lock them down and plan for the execution into the next year.

Creating a common understanding and shared language of OKRs enabled a new velocity of execution for the executive team. Secondly, setting OKRs for the next cycle, with agreement on a regular meeting rhythm to follow, created alignment and focus for the team.

Many unintended benefits were seen through the process. The ability to discuss strategic priorities with an objective third party provided a factual unemotional lens. A focus on long-term sustainability was created, not just on short-term profit. Articulating goals through OKRs forced teams to crystalise specific thoughts, which created alignment and clarity.