Using OKRs to Support Strategic Alignment in Financial Organisations
A process for creating purposeful OKRs ensures that initiatives being carried out within each department of the business are being done in alignment to the wider strategic goals of the organisation.
29 March 2023
Increasing Competition in the Financial Services Industry
Strategic Alignment; the response
Due to the rapidly increasing rate of Big Tech firms and FinTech companies entering the Financial Services Industry, there is a growing need to improve an organisations’ capability to compete.
Many companies are struggling to challenge the more tech-focused institutions with their product-offering because of a lack of infrastructure and not having a clear, coherent strategy aligned to process and project performance.
For this reason, Leadership Teams and Departmental Leads are seeking out new ways of articulating strategy throughout their organisation, eliminating waste and increasing accountability, in order to ensure everyone is aligned and delivering measurable value.
Naturally, this has driven business leaders to explore the use of OKRs as a means of supporting Strategic Alignment.
Using OKRs to Support Strategic Alignment
Using OKRs to support strategic alignment in financial organisations not only connects strategy to process and project performance, we have also seen it work wonders for improving employee engagement measures.
In order to create value-driven OKRs, we carry out two preliminary phases that help ensure strategic alignment through the organisation.
The purpose of Strategy Mapping is to identify the organisation’s key strategic themes and prioritise them by how important they are to the long-term goals of the company.
We visualise these themes through four lenses:
Internal Business Processes perspective
Learning & Growth perspective
This forms our strategy map, which can then be used to articulate strategy through the organisation and translate strategy into action through creation of our OKRs.
Metrics workshops help us to understand our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and what level of performance is required to win customers in each customer segment, that is, what levels they deem acceptable or exceptional.
A KPI is something a customer cares about, and is 'key' for an organisation to deliver its mission/purpose.
We also use the metrics workshop to distinguish KPIs from Health Indicators, the latter of which don’t necessarily affect customers’ choices, but do provide an indication of the business’ vitality.
Health Indicators tell us if our business is healthy enough to pursue its strategy and can give advanced warning if we’re in danger of missing our targets.
A sudden change of a Health Indicator - an upward or downward trend - should warrant the business to re-evaluate its strategy or operational processes.
When we identify that we’re under or over serving an area of the business, Improvement Drivers are a way to think about change that is needed and what the outcome is that we’re driving towards.
Improvement Drivers have a target value to be achieved, when the target is reached, we either deprecate the metric or change it to a Health Indicator.
Done collectively, we can view all the Improvement Drivers across the business to support prioritisation and strategic planning process.
Strategic Alignment; OKR Creation
The findings from our Strategy Mapping and Metrics Workshop give us the inputs needed to create well-established OKRs.
Our strategy map helps us visualise the company strategy that we will take in order to achieve our long term goals.
We can also split this into strategic themes, making it much easier to prioritise the most important objectives for the coming year.
Defining our KPIs ensures that we stay focused on customer outcomes.
Additionally, once we’ve defined our Health Metrics (along with their thresholds), we’ll have a better understanding of which Improvement Drivers will help drive those KPIs and Health Metrics to the place we want them to be.
These Improvement Drivers then feed into our Key Results, and will support Strategic Alignment.
Many teams and organisations as a whole have difficulty conceptualising and creating their OKRs due to a lack of articulated strategy, an overwhelming list of metrics and/or their predominantly an output-oriented culture.
It’s for these reasons that we developed a process that’s derived from strategy and helping businesses focus on the outcomes they’re driving towards.
Now comes the fun part; creating our OKRs, for which we’ve had great success helping organisations to craft outcome-focused OKRs that clearly communicate the value that they are trying to drive in the organisation..
Finally, once we have created the OKRs, we can work out what our initiatives are that will enable us to achieve the OKRs - it’s just that simple!
Conclusion: Using OKRs to Align your Organisation
By following the process of Strategy Mapping to establish the organisation’s strategic themes, alongside a Metrics Workshop to understand and define our KPIs, Health Indicators & Improvement Drivers, we can use OKRs to support strategic alignment.
We now know that the initiatives being carried out within each department of the business are being done in alignment to the wider strategic goals of the organisation.
This also ensures that there’s no duplication of work, and that the departmental initiatives being carried out are done so with complete autonomy and cross-collaboration with all other departments across the business.
Using OKRs to Support Strategic Alignment: How can 1ovmany help?
1ovmany specialise in helping businesses navigate organisational change in a manner that ensures purposeful and sustainable results.
We’ve worked with a number of financial institutions - both large and small - and been able to harmoniously implement an OKR strategy that enables an organisation to get the best out of its people and processes.
Our way of working is highly collaborative and we pride ourselves on not only guiding organisations through the OKR process, but augmenting the capability of its people through training and coaching, so as to ensure the long-term sustainability of any transformation.
We truly believe that OKRs can be used to support enhanced Strategic Alignment and help organisations focus on the outcomes they're driving towards.
Download our Full Guide To OKR Implementation to learn more about effectively utilising OKRs in your organisation.
About the author
1ovmany Communications Team
We help organisations reach their full potential through continuous and sustainable transformation in customer delivery and product excellence