Radical Focus

By: Christina R Wodtke

Radical Focus

I strongly recommend this book for any manager or executive who is looking for a method to set ambitious goals, create alignment, and move the most important metrics. It is so hard to stay focused on the right goals and have everyone communicate how they are helping the company achieve those goals. OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a popular framework that companies have adopted to help.

Radical Focus by Christian Wodtke is a great primer for OKRs and how to implement them in your organization.

The book starts off with a high-level overview of OKRs and the problem they are trying to solve. From there the book goes into a story that shows the effectiveness of OKRs. I really enjoyed this element of the book. I read a lot of business books and they can become a bit routine after a while, having a story to read that teaches the principles of the book was refreshing.  It reminds me of The Go-Giver style of storytelling.

After the story aspect, the author does give some practical guidance on how to implement OKRs, how to track OKRs, and what pitfalls to avoid.

I also enjoyed the authors approach of bringing in other experts for targeted messages about OKRs and how they related to other common methods like Scrum & Agile.

Overall, this is an excellent read. I would recommend you read this with your team or managers so everyone can level up quickly on OKRs and put them into practice.

Right now I am testing Weekdone, a software solution to go with what I have learned from this book.

Biggest Insights

  • Set only one OKR for the company, unless you have multiple verticals in your business. Remember the purpose of OKRs is FOCUS.
  • Give your team an entire quarter to hit their OKRs. If you can do it in a week sprint the goal wasn’t hard enough
  • Realize that most companies will fail the first couple of quarters they implement OKRs, it’s a process, trust it.
  • Keep metrics out of the objective, save them for the key results
  • Objectives are qualitative and should inspire, key results are quantitative and should provide clarity and communicate direction
  • Make sure your team is having a weekly check-in and updating the OKRs progress
  • OKRs are set at the company level by the CEO (with input from others) and cascade down so each team can set OKRs to help accomplish the company OKR
  • OKRs are for focusing your team’s time, they will, of course, do other things throughout the day. Standard work vs focus work is how I look at it
  • Encourage everyone in the company to suggest OKRs it works as good top up as well as top down
  • Talk about your OKRs publicly EVERY SINGLE MEETING you can
  • Find a cadence of commitment and celebration. Commit to your goals and celebrate the goals you hit (even if it’s not 100% of them)

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