"The Forgotten Cousin of OKR That Could Make It 10x Better: Understanding the Power of Beliefs"

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Sep 04, 20233 min read

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"The Forgotten Cousin of OKR That Could Make It 10x Better: Understanding the Power of Beliefs"

Introduction:

In the world of goal-setting frameworks, OKR (Objectives and Key Results) has gained significant popularity. However, despite its widespread adoption, many individuals, including myself, have found some limitations in OKR's effectiveness. One of the key issues I have encountered is that OKR fails to capture how my work aligns with the broader goals of the company. It lacks the ability to ensure focus and maintain alignment as a cohesive unit. Additionally, OKR often feels like an unnecessary administrative burden that adds no tangible benefit to my team's ways of working. However, by exploring the power of beliefs and understanding why we believe the things we do, we can unlock the true potential of OKR and enhance its impact in driving success.

The Influence of Beliefs:

What we believe to be true is heavily influenced by our desire for it to be true. The more a belief helps us deal with uncertainty, the easier it is for us to accept it as truth. Our capacity to believe is nearly infinite, as our beliefs often serve advantageous purposes rather than being rooted in objective truth. This phenomenon, known as Gibson's Law, suggests that people can be led to believe and defend almost anything, primarily to justify past actions, protect their reputation, provide hope, maximize income, or signal belonging to a particular group.

Cherry-Picking Evidence:

When overwhelmed by the complexity of the world, our minds tend to seek simplicity. We cherry-pick the most attractive evidence that supports our beliefs, disregarding the confusing details. This subconscious filtering process makes it easier for us to fool ourselves into believing falsehoods rather than admitting mistakes. Our memories of past events are also subject to this filtering, as we selectively remember what makes sense and discard what doesn't. As a result, beliefs based on personal experience may appear evidence-based, when in reality, they are shaped by our biased perception.

The Resistance to Change:

Changing our minds is a rare occurrence, as it often challenges the effort we put into establishing our previous beliefs. The fear of being seen as fickle or inconsistent can make it difficult to take new beliefs seriously, especially in the eyes of others. However, clinging to false beliefs prevents personal growth and inhibits our ability to adapt to new information and insights.

Uncovering the True Potential of OKR:

To enhance the effectiveness of OKR, we must recognize the role that beliefs play in shaping our perception and understanding. By acknowledging that our beliefs may be influenced by the desire to eliminate uncertainty rather than seeking truth, we can approach OKR with a more open and adaptable mindset.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Foster a Culture of Intellectual Humility: Encourage individuals and teams to embrace the idea that changing one's mind is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of growth and learning. Create an environment where questioning, challenging, and updating beliefs is encouraged and celebrated.
  • 2. Seek Diverse Perspectives: Actively seek out opinions and viewpoints that challenge your own beliefs. Engage in conversations with individuals who have different backgrounds, experiences, and ways of thinking. This exposure to diverse perspectives can help you uncover blind spots and expand your understanding.
  • 3. Embrace Experimentation and Feedback: Treat OKR as an iterative process rather than a static set of goals. Continuously experiment, gather feedback, and adjust your approach accordingly. Allow room for flexibility and adaptation, understanding that the path to success may require course corrections along the way.

Conclusion:

By understanding the power of beliefs and how they shape our perception, we can unlock the true potential of OKR. Rather than viewing it as a rigid framework, we can approach OKR with intellectual humility, seeking truth and growth rather than simply eliminating uncertainty. By fostering a culture of open-mindedness, embracing diverse perspectives, and embracing experimentation, we can make OKR 10x better and drive greater alignment, focus, and success within our teams and organizations.

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