Author:
Billy Casey

Dear Andy,

I am a graphic designer working for a company in Oklahoma. My team recently set our group OKRs and my supervisor has asked us all to set individual OKRS, as well.

If I’m being completely honest, I found this idea pretty intimidating. I’m still a little shaky as to how I fit into the larger picture/objective—could you take a look at what I have and tell me what you think?

Objective: Support marketing and sales with design deliverables

KR1: 12 infographic and slide sets

KR2: 1 special campaign marketing minisite

KR3: 10 product & support PDF documents

KR4: 2 PDF e-books, white papers or case studies

Sincerely,

Julia

dear-andy-spacer-2

Thanks for writing, Julia!

While I’m thrilled to hear your team is asking you to create individual OKRs, your trepidation is totally understandable. Fear not though, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started by taking a look at your objective, shall we?

The first step to writing the OKRs of your dreams is to make sure the objective is infused with a clear sense of ‘why?’. Why will generating these materials help marketing and sales improve? What are they trying to improve? And, most importantly, where do you fit into all of this? You, my designer friend, are the star of the show here—what do you want your design deliverables to do? Once you have the ‘why’ of your objective comfortably in place, everything will fall much more easily in line. Here are a few hypothetical examples to help you get the ball rolling:

Objective: Help sales and marketing beat their previous quarter’s numbers by providing first-rate designs

Objective: New designs are an integral contribution to the flawless launch of our new website

Do you see the difference here? Your previous objective told me that you will do something loosely labelled as “support” work—these objectives tell me why you’re doing it. Now that we’ve identified your ‘why’, let’s now work on figuring out the ‘how’.

KRs can very easily turn into a ‘to-do’ list. And while accomplishing your daily tasks is, of course, absolutely important, OKRs are different. It’s your chance to get past business as usual—stretch yourself, Julia! If I’m counting correctly, you’re holding yourself accountable for 25 pieces of content this cycle. In terms of quantity, how does that compare to your previous cycle? More? The same? If it’s the same, why not take it to the next level? If it’s more, how much more? Here’s an idea— what if we took all four of your current KRs and fused them into one? Check this out:

KR1: 12 infographic and slide sets

KR2: 1 special campaign marketing minisite

KR3: 10 product & support PDF documents

KR4: 2 PDF e-books, white papers or case studies

Turns into → KR: Increase asset output by ___%

BAM! OKR magic! Obviously you’ll have to fill in the percentage, but you get the idea. With this new KR you’re letting everyone on the team know how you’re growing your contribution to the team’s success, plus you now have two or three more KRs to explore. So…what do you want to do? How can you unleash your unique set of skills to make your designs even more effective? How could you and your team objectively know that you were succeeding? A couple of examples here for you:

KR: Implement a new process for design requests for sales and marketing to tap into current trends in a timely manner

KR: 30% of assets are approved on first submission

With all of that said, here are my proposed and hypothetical OKRs for you: 

o
Design deliverables directly contribute to sales and marketing’s best quarter yet
kr1
Increase asset output by 20%
kr2
Ensure one-week SLA for graphic asset delivery from concept to approval           
kr3
Create and maintain an asset library to allow for easy access for sales and marketing and eliminate the need to recreate previous work       
kr4
4x new ideas assets added to the library

The main thing missing from your initial set of individual OKRs was…well, the individual (AKA you!). You are a high-value member of this team, Julia—don’t be afraid to let your OKRs reflect that. This new set not only achieves your objective of “support” but it also allows you to shine, grow, and contribute in a way befitting a designer of your talents. 

Well, Julia, I hope this helps—it’s been a pleasure. Keep us posted on how you do with OKRs. Thanks for writing and best of luck!

Sincerely,

Billy from the What Matters team

If you’d like to submit a question to Dear Andy, click here to submit your OKRs for review.