Insights are often unveiled in casual conversations we have with clients, colleagues or friends – a point in time where both parties realise this is important stuff, and most people are struggling with it. These insights don’t wait for formal engagements – they happen over coffees and on couches. Our ‘couch coffees’ is a continuing series of posts where we’ll publish some of these insights – simple, short and sharp. They might be second nature to some; for others, they might be closer to epiphanies. For most, we hope they’re simply nudges in the right direction.
In a recent briefing session with a client, we heard the phrase ‘momentum builds momentum’. They had just come out of a turbulent year or two, and it was time to transition from a consolidation phase into a growth phase. But this wasn’t going to happen overnight; instead, they believed they needed to focus on a few small wins that would start building the momentum to get them on that growth trajectory.
Momentum is described as the force that keeps an object moving. It takes intentional effort to get this object to start moving. Yet once it’s moving, it keeps going under its own momentum.
Our CEO often uses a skiing analogy to describe this momentum. The further down the ski slope you go, the faster you go. Slowing down, and especially stopping, requires effort. Going back up the slope might be possible, but it’s certainly not recommended and will leave you breathless by the time you get there.
Having this mindset is crucial when implementing OKRs for the first time. The sooner you can start building up momentum, the higher the chance of getting the buy-in to the methodology and engagement from the team. And the higher the chance of achieving your most ambitious goals.
Here are three quick tips for building up this momentum:
Your OKRs don’t have to be perfect to get going. While we always recommend taking enough time to create clear and specific OKRs, don’t take too much time so that you don’t even get off the starting block. Instead, get going but make sure you’re constantly asking the questions to reflect and learn, and be open to realising that you have made a few mistakes along the way.
Setting too many OKRs, or OKRs that are too ambitious, could mean that the score at the end of the OKR cycle is not what it should be, and the team gets despondent. Instead, be pragmatic about what you can achieve in a specific cycle based on capacity and capability.
Celebrate the wins
Intentionally take the time to celebrate the wins, even if they’re small, to begin with. This helps release dopamine – the feel-good drug that is released when we celebrate achievements. It helps to keep us going, even when times are tough, or we’re not getting the traction we want.
Get your team skiing down that slope as soon as possible (with the proper training, equipment and direction, of course!) to start building up the momentum that you need.
If you have questions, we’re always keen for coffee.
Get in touch so that we can brainstorm a few solutions together!