This guide is an overview of information related to getting ready with OKRs and continuous performance management. Throughout the guide you will also be provided tips and notes about how to enhance your organization's performance and culture.

Getting Started

  • Objectives and Key Results: Align strategic objectives from top to bottom and bottom to top. Encourage employee ownership of initiatives whether you are a team of 5 or 500.
  • Mentorship & Personal Development: Build a supportive environment with continuous performance management tools built into our 1-on-1 features.
  • Peer-to-Peer FeedbackImprove results by enabling real-time feedback as team members work on objectives. Continuous feedback and coaching embody a supportive, respectful culture where there is always opportunity for improvement. Feedback can be requested or given from anyone, to anyone.
  • Real-time Recognition: Frequent, timely, and peer-initiated recognition linked to core values strengthens your organizational culture. Anyone can recognize anyone.

7Geese facilitates communication of expectations and ownership over those expectations by everyone, not just leadership. We balance a good mix of helping teams enhance their strategic planning processes with the common sense of creating a unique, encouraging, culture of support and learning. 

Objectives + Goal-setting

Getting started begins with setting up your account and the respective network areas that you're involved in. This guide here goes over getting your account setup and the next few steps.

Here's a quick over view of some things to keep in mind as you get started:

  1. Establish your email preferences in your account settings to make sure you're getting the most relevant information
  2. Get oriented with objectives and key results to gain a solid foundation of how to maximize your goal-setting from the start.
  3. Learn more about how 7Geese can benefit you and your team
  4. And get oriented with some of recent helpful tips around continuous growth management and team mentorship

Once you have established the basics and setup your account you're ready to begin with setting your OKRs! But first, here's more context on why you should care about the OKRs process. 

Getting Familiar With OKRs

Objectives that encourage collaboration + purpose

OKRs are designed to get teams excited by a sense of meaning, purpose, and progress.

  • When employees clearly understand what is expected of them, politics and favoritism are minimized, and everyone can collectively focus on executing business strategy.

Objectives are single sentences that describe current business priorities in the language and culture of your team.

  • Accompanying results should be difficult, but not impossible. You are looking for the sweet spot between pushing you and your team to do bigger, innovative things and where you can still move forward productively. If you’re saying, “This seems doable if we really push ourselves this quarter,” you’re doing OKRs right.

Objectives reflect outcomes that are challenging, but realistic.

  • There’s an inherent sense of collaboration with a great objective where teams can cross-collaborate. If the organizational priority is to achieve product-market fit, everyone on the team can see that and see how they can focus their efforts towards it. Since an objective is a sentence, there should be a clear subject, object and journey the subject goes through. A great objective answers, “What am I working towards without focusing on the tasks?”

What OKRs are and are not

They are not...

  • Unspecific goals with a task list
  • Boring and monotonous
  • Overly specific to be constraining
  • A statement that notes a business vision
  • A one-size fits all model
  • General actions you plan to take 

Instead, they are...

  • Reminders why you do what you do day-to-day, regardless of your role.
  • Aspirational and challenge you to be innovative and creative, a better you.
  • Written so anyone can understand how you’re contributing to business strategies and priorities.
  • Aligned to organizational values.

Translating tasks into OKRs

It’s the results that matter

Tasks are small, bite-sized chunks of a road-map that lead to the results you track in your OKRs. Measuring results, not tasks moves conversations away from, “What steps (task) am I going to take to complete this outcome,” to, “What am I expecting to achieve if I successfully complete this objective? What target indicator will define success?”

The aim of OKRs is to have a bigger impact by splitting time on fewer things and focusing on results, not tasks. OKRs encourage discussion on how one person’s objectives impact the rest of the team.

Translating tasks into OKRs

Once you’ve established what result you’re hoping to achieve, think to the supporting projects that you’re going to perform to get you there. From there, think further and more specifically down to the tasks to complete that project.

Tasks often change day-to-day, as they are short bursts that help you assess what is working and what’s not. You can cross them off a sticky note, to-do list, or mark as complete/incomplete. They typically don’t measure success.

Tasks can’t be graded or assessed

This is why it’s important to try steer clear of making tasks a key result - they can’t be graded. The conversation then becomes “Did you hit your target? yes or no?” not “How did you perform, what were the roadblocks you faced, did you aim too high? Were you supported in achieving your results?”

An example breakdown of tasks -> OKRs

 

Incorporating KPIs into OKRs

OKRs focus on results, not tasks. Numeric insights move conversations from actions taken, to data patterns across quarters. This means teams can assess success patterns to really measure the most valuable aspects of a team’s efforts.

The most important component of using a key performance indicator (KPI) in an OKR is to make sure it is a valuable metric to the organization. Adding a target number for the sake of abiding by the “metric-driven” aspect of a key result clouds the effectiveness of your key result.

Clearly define target metrics important to your core values and business priorities.

This will keep employees engaged because you are linking outcomes to metrics that fit with the culture and direction of the team. Establish a baseline target of excellence and how you’d like to move away or towards your baseline target.

Discuss expectations on check-in cadence and make sure it’s realistic for the KPI.

Define what the feedback loop is for the KPI - if you have to wait more than the quarter to receive feedback from your KPI data, try to avoid looping it in your OKR. If you don’t, you won’t be able to effectively grade success along the way.

Any metric used in key results should follow the S.M.A.R.T model - specific to the business, measurable, attainable in the given cycle of the objective, relevant to your OKR, and time-bound.

Baseline metrics

  • A baseline metric is a single number that is considered an “acceptable” metric. For example, having a support ticket response time of 4 hours or less has a baseline KPI of 4. Anything above 4 hours is unacceptable.

Positive and negative metrics

  • A positive metric is used when you want to increase your baseline metric. For example, if your average usability score for a core workflow in your product is currently 70% and you want to increase it to > 80%, you’re moving in a positive direction.
  • Negative metrics are used when you want to decrease your baseline metric. For example, if your average support response time is 10 and you’d like it to be 4, you’re moving in a negative direction.

Threshold target metrics

  • Threshold metrics are a numerical range that is considered acceptable. Here’s an example: sales needs to make a minimum of $90,000 in monthly recurring revenue for the business to stay cash flow even. For the business to be cash flow positive, the recurring revenue must be over $110,000 per month. This is a threshold target metric since it specifies an acceptable low and high values, creating a range of metric-centric goals that are acceptable.

Grading OKRs

A one size fits all grading approach is not the best approach OKRs can be very different for different teams and functional positions.

It’s important to consider the difficulty of each OKR when grading and assessing. It’s important to establish a grading scale before committing to an OKR to ensure expectations throughout the quarter are clearly defined.

Red or green: Meeting expectations

A great place to start with grading is providing a simple expectations assessment: at the end of the quarter, did you meet the expectations for your OKR that you committed to?

The traditional 0-1 key result scale

When grading OKRs the traditional way, the recommended scale is 0 - 1. For each of your key results, the highest it can score is a 1, and lowest a 0. OKRs are meant to be challenging, so every individual should be aiming for a 0.6 - 0.7 in the grading process. After rating each of your KR, you can then add them all together.

Any objective with cumulative scale of under a 0.4 might be alarming, but a low score isn’t a failure. It’s a sign you need to re-evaluate whether the objective is still worth pursuing, or rethink your approach. How you chose to assign a grade depends on the circumstances of your team’s priorities. Perhaps a 0.5/1 is great because priorities shifted halfway through the quarter.

Frequent Getting Started Questions

What are OKRs & How do I write them?

OKRs stand for objectives asnd key results. First, you need to transform goals into objectives. 

What is an objective?
An objective defines the answer to: what is it I want to accomplish. Objectives should be aligned with what defines organizational success, but more important must be personally meaningful/aspirational. They should also be aligned and supported by the entire organization.  Objectives are about how you can grow parallel with the rest of your team.

  • Example: Increase inbound sales effectiveness by 25%

In this example, the objective is set as public and is defined by:

  1. Explicitly measurable
  2. Accomplishable, but a bit of a stretch
  3. Employee Driven & Continuous
  4. Transparent
  5. Accountable (You have ownership over its success)


What are key results?
Key results define the answer to: how I will accomplish the objective, and how I will be measured against my objective. They help make the objective and how it will be accomplished as transparent as possible. It is measurable, limited, and time-constrained. 

  • Example: Create 10 new marketing whitepapers to increase  organic inbound leads to over 200 per month

In this example, you can extrapolate how multiple departments may be aligned to achieve this objective. The design team lays out  the content, marketing writes the content and monitors social media, customer success responds to support and learning questions while sales strive to close deals. Typically, many people wouldn't see the impact their work has on other team members and the end result, for example, increasing annual reoccurring revenue. With OKRs+7Geese, you're getting this hard work visually represented in real-time with progress updates and check-ins.  

Where did OKRs originate/What's the difference between MBOs and OKRs?

Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives (MBO) model was a precursor to OKRs. OKRs and MBOs are not necessarily mutually exclusive but have similar patterns such as being defined as stretch goal processes.

MBOs: MBOs are the tangible, measurable goals the company sets and expects to achieve.

OKRs: OKRs encourage employees to individually reach higher with stretch goals. 

OKRs are generally kept separate from the compensation system as friction can arise from transparent, aligned success and progress tied to monetary recognition. Advocates of OKRs believe removing compensation from the equation drives more visibility and employee aspiration.

OKRs start metaphorically like the shape of an umbrella. Executive leadership defines overarching objectives are across teams that inform team objectives. These team objectives trickle down into the umbrella handle - the critical front line functions hold up the success of the top objectives. Key results act like the operating system that spring the umbrella into action during a rain storm. While each larger goal has an accountable party for ensuring success, every key result can have contributors, and even those contributors may have additional stakeholders. This should enable the top-down assignment of goals, but bottom-up creativity to inspire processes to get there. 

How should OKRs be set? What is an ideal time frame?

OKRs are defined by setting results and objectives in measurable, defined time frames. Quarterly is most common (every 3 months beginning in January). However, objectives on any level can always be retained or stretched quarter-over-quarter if the impact on success of an objective is more long-term. Alternatively, you may want to duplicate an objective over quarters with stretch, or higher key results. 

While quarterly is recommended, it is important the objective cadence matches the culture of the business. Setting OKRs quarterly may be too long for companies trying to determine market fit. The key to OKRs is the transition from annual assessments to more frequent, transparent, and aligned goal setting. 

How many OKRs should I set per quarter or customized reporting structure?

The OKRs process works best with a range of 3-5 objectives with a fairly focused set of 2 or 3 key results per quarter. This encourages goal achievement, not stressed and overworked ebbs and flows in work habits. It's better to over-achieve your OKRs and slowly incorporate stretch objectives than work yourself too thin in the beginning. 

Using S.M.A.R.T Goal Methodology

SMART criteria is a goal setting technique that you can utilize to set effective goals. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Below are the details of the SMART criteria that you can utilize to set effective goals:

Specific

The first term stresses the need for a specific goal over and against a more general one. This means the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific, they must tell a team exactly what is expected, why is it important, who’s involved, where is it going to happen and which attributes are important.

A specific goal will usually answer the five "W" questions:

  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
  • Who: Who is involved?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.

Measurable

The second term stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if a goal is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether a team is making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help a team stay on track, reach its target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.

A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable

The third term stresses the importance of goals that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable goal may stretch a team in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme. That is, the goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states that an attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals.

An attainable goal will usually answer the question:

  • How: How can the goal be accomplished?

Relevant

The fourth term stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A Bank Manager's goal to "Make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by 2:00pm." may be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time-Bound, but lacks Relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a champion voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team, your organization will receive that needed support.

Relevant goals (when met) drive the team, department, and organization forward. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered a relevant goal.

A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs?
  • Are you the right person?

Time-bound

The fifth term stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps a team focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organization. A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.

A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:

  • When?
  • What can I do 6 months from now?
  • What can I do 6 weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

The SMART model is an excellent guideline for you to think of when setting your Objectives and Key Results. 

Quick Tips

  • List out high-value action items important to your overall business goals 
    Perhaps it's to get every department head to create a mission statement to drive your aspirational growth. 

  • Create dept. champions
    As the member responsible for getting the ball rolling, you're already a 7Geese Champion. Use your knowledge and the help of 7Geese Support to transform key members of your teams into vested adoption-based stakeholders and mentors that can help others succeed along the way.

  • Chart out your own personal OKRs and the process you took to get there
    The toughest part of any transition is the first step. Once you have mapped out your own personal objectives you'll already gain an understanding of how what you're doing is contributing to the bigger picture. Be sure to take notes of how you came to your OKR conclusions so you mentor others as they work to develop their own. 

  • Engage those around you in conversations not demands
    The second toughest part of any transition is doing it alone. When it comes to performance improvement in any organization it shouldn't happen behind close doors - sometimes all it takes to jumpstart is to involve others in your thought process. Perhaps some other team members have creative ideas on how to introduce 7Geese and OKRs organizational-wide, or, are eager to get involved. 

  • Stimulate a high degree of objectivity and perspective focused possibilities
    It's important to communicate the why! Don't make adoption about 'just one more thing you have to do day-to-day' but generate group-oriented creative problem solving on how collectively rolling out 7Geese and OKRs will be the first step to improving engagement and cross-collaboration. 

  • Problems are opportunities
    Focus communication around positive language - don't just say 'things suck this will make things better' as the first part of that sentence instills a negative vibe in peoples minds as they read it. Start small, focus on how it will improve culture, build a culture of value creation, and eliminate ambiguity around determining and self-assessing success.

  • Make it about collaboration, not action items or fears of failure
    OKRs and 7Geese are about bringing people together, not driving them apart. Focus conversations around how increased transparency and visibility in the team will empower aspirational growth and encourage helping each other out. Kill the fear that it will be about reprimanding someone if they don't make the progress you're expecting. 

Team Core Values + Recognition

The nature, role, and function of core values in organizational success is foundational to the essence of culture and identity. Considered a central part of the value foundation of a corporate brand, defining core values support the vision of behaviour-based actions that lead to wins. Shaping the culture and reflecting what your organization values most is difficult behind closed doors. 

Often the principles, beliefs or philosophy of organizational values are hidden behind multiple clicks on a website, or at the beginning of an employee handbook. As a result, many teams end up focusing mostly on the technical competencies that drive success, but often forget what the underlying reasoning behind their hard work.  

If you communicate the WHY, helping everyone understand the PURPOSE, you can sell more and be successful, together.

Key Components:

  1. Core Values = culture, vibe, identity.
  2. Core Values drive vision.
  3. Core Values remain relatively static
  4. Core Values are established at the very beginning of a organization.
  5. Core Values drive motivation, self-enhancement, openness to change, and empowerment over performance.
  6. Core Values keep everyone aligned
  7. Core Values show your true colours.
  8. Core Values build integrity and trust internally and communicate resilience.

The Recognition Center

The 7Geese CPM Tier offers a unique way to recognize the accomplishments of your team in real-time. Rallying your team behind organizational core values and behaviour-based actions that embody these core values creates not only an engaged team, but a unified organization. This creates a culture where no effort goes unthanked or lost in the grand scheme of things. 

First, it's important to define exactly what core values are in comparison to other buzzwords such as mission statements or visions. Learn more about core values, mission statements, and visions here

Here's some important things to keep in mind:

  • Explain the value of social and continuous performance management to all your leaders and 7Geese champions
    It's important to have a unified team around empowering each other to value social, continuous performance that draws on everyone's strengths and jobs to be done, not just leadership initiatives. 

  • Engage everyone, not just your executives
    An engaged, happy, and motivated workforce is the pillar that holds up organizational drive. Be sure to get the voice of everyone in your team rather than unilaterally making decisions. This will help everyone feel ownership over creating the program, therefore driving participation in the program. 

  • Recognition shouldn't be about compensation, but celebration
    Traditionally, the approach taken would be to incentivize your employees with bonuses, commission, or merit increases. The carrot and stick approach has always been at the forefront of motivational practice. However, the old ways of enticing people with a carrot are becoming far less effective in motivating and improving performance. Learn more about moving away from compensation-based recognition here
  • Let your team organically draw conclusions on what categorizes as good behaviour.
    Since your recognition program center is build on your core values, it organically encourages your teams to be driven by performance that will do good for organizational success. 

  • Redefine your culture without guesswork
    Recognition based on core values provides leadership the opportunity to see what areas teams are most excelling in and what areas may need a jumpstart. Or, provides a great time to change what, as a team, you promote internally.

Watch our 2 minute video and share with your team why recognition is important in creating a values-driven organization and learn how 7Geese can facilitate that process.  

Coaching Best Practices

Difference between Coaching and Managing

The prevailing management paradigm focuses heavily on managers as having power and roles over controlling the compliance of direct reports within job roles. Managing, without mentorship, can be interpreted as measuring performance around an often magically determined benchmark of standards. Coaching, on the other hand, focuses on discovery. Coaches enable and empower people to contribute productively to team and organizational success without alienation.

Coaching as managing doesn't place mentorship as a subset of management, but rather the heart of it.

[To learn more, check out Coaching and the art of management by Evered and Selman in the Organizational Dynamics Journal]

Coaching is often an 'approach' to management. This means worrying about how your direct reports carry out their jobs and roles, or more often than not, references being 'a manager'. However, not every manager is a coach.

Insight on what you can do to be a coach, not just a manager.

Coaches challenge others to develop skills and abilities on an aspirational level. They help their direct reports become self-sufficient. This means the individual being coached is able to pass the acquired knowledge onto the next person, transforming into a coach themselves. Coaches setup an environment of support where learning and working hard are at the heart of every interaction. They make managing about leading others to higher levels than they thought possible within a collaborative setting.

Coaching isn't just about evaluating performance, but guiding individuals to transition into high productivity with aspirational growth as a driver. A coach actively seeks out opportunities to care about others' personal development, challenging that individual to grow and outperform their best.

Approach coaching in two ways

  1. Coaching for performance enhancement - Ex: asking questions retroactive to a project to tease out answers from the individual on what they were trying to accomplish versus the perceived results achieved.

  2. Coaching for personal growth and development - Ex: How can I help? What don't you understand that I can help you understand? What support or resources can I provide to help you reach your goal? 

In both instances, coaching involves the use of questions prompting the individual comes to their own conclusions rather than being told the 'correct answer' or path to take to find a solution. For example, after a project a good coach will ask many questions to assist with learning.

A good coach might ask, what were you trying to accomplish? What were the actual results of what the project achieved? What caused the gap between what you wanted to achieve and results you achieved? Coaching can assist in building a conversation around the individual being coached understanding the gap between the expected result and the current outcome, from their own interpretation. A good coach can help a person think through what should be done next time to improve performance.

Now, how can you make sure you're coaching, not just managing?

  • Give performance feedback at the right time. Immediately after a presentation isn't the best time to chat about performance enhancements. Processing by both parties must take place. It's important to take notes, but scheduling a time to review projects is better than ad-hoc, on the spot constructive criticism giving or questioning when it comes to the big things. 

  • Delegate ownership and facilitate learning. This means having faith that even if someone doesn't have 100% of the knowledge to take over something, doesn't mean they shouldn't be given a chance! Think back to the first time someone took a risk on you and how much more you learned from that process rather than just observing. Practice learning through doing. 

  • Motivate. Simple and straightforward - encourage growth! 

  • Teach in ways that promote self-sufficiency, rather than answering the problem. This can be tricky as it's easy to provide a solution, rather than think of probing questions to allow someone to draw their own. A good framework for this is 

  • Ask what they'd like to do less of. Often coaching is focused on positive momentum to improve upon something. Sometimes, coaching means recognizing that people do things they may not necessarily enjoy, but are mediocre or even good at. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you want to. Nothing motivates people less than having a subpar attitude towards something. 

  • Ask them to tease out a project they are proud of. With this question comes a lot of further micro-questions such as 'why this one, not another one?' 'what was something you'd like to continue doing beyond this project into the next?' and so on. It's easy to pinpoint hard or soft skills one is good at (photoshop and being collaborative, respectively) but it's harder to ground that in concrete takeaways. This pushes a deeper connection on why they are proud and what they can take to the next level next time.

Everyday interactions can provide rich coaching opportunities. It is important during these times to transform these daily interactions into coaching moments while also balancing out that not every moment should be an on-the-spot coaching session. One way to tease out the difference between the two types of interactions is to determine whether something will require less than 5 minutes of feedback, or, if it's more complex and can be treated as a more formal feedback moment. For example, let’s say, next time the same employee gives a poor presentation.

Most of us know when we are not at our best so immediate coaching could only serve to leave a sour taste of 'rubbing it in'. This increases the likelihood someone will be less receptive to constructive help. Instead, it is better to schedule coaching time. This way, everyone can reflect and prepare. This makes coaching a conversation, not a defense match.

What others have to say about Coaching.

What is business coaching?Jonathan Raymond, VP of Marketing of eMyth. [January 10th, 2013]

  • A great coach is a lot of things - but the best way to say it is that they’re not your best friend, they’re the business’ best friend - and that’s a partnership where everybody wins.

Finding the Balance Between Coaching and Managing - Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman. Harvard Business Review [June, 2014]

  • Being directive versus being collaborative. Good managers give direction to the groups they manage, of course, and the willingness to exert leadership is often why they get promoted. But the most effective managers who are also effective coaches learn to be selective about giving direction. Rather than use their conversations as an opportunity to exert a strong influence, make recommendations, and provide unambiguous direction, they take a step back, and try to draw out the views of their talented, experienced staff.

Finding the Balance Between Coaching and Managing - Holly Green, Contributor. Forbes [May, 2012]

  • Managing involves a more directive, task-oriented style that should only be used under certain conditions. It usually produces the best results in a crisis situation, when someone has never done the task before, or when they have little or no confidence in their ability to get it done.
  • Coaching works best for developmental purposes, especially when you have a team of competent professionals already performing at a reasonably high level. Once you define winning for your organization, team members may need your guidance and support. But in most cases they shouldn’t need direction. Running effective 1-on-1s 

Watch our 2 minute video and share with your team to get started with 1-on-1s and learn how 7Geese can facilitate that process.

360º Feedback

7Geese can help your teams cross-functionally support each other in ways that would otherwise not be available and kept in filing cabinets or held in conversations behind closed doors. In a company, we often lose the touch that anyone can be anyone's mentor. Humans learn from each other regardless of it is related to technical skills development, aspirational thinking, career-oriented mentorship, or simply just empathy and how to be a good player. You can help bring this type of atmosphere to your team using the 1-on-1 coaching center and on-demand feedback center

7Geese also empowers everyone to get involved in inspiring a continuous, supportive environment via proactive outgoing-based support. Seek it out, or create requirements that remind your team to get collaborating via cycles. Either way, you're able to have a prep-draft-record repository where you can always reference what's happened in conversations past. This way you can focus on the conversation, not the surprises that may come as a result of a lack of prep or not knowing that a job done wasn't actually well done until it comes up in a face-to-face conversation. The coaching and feedback centers drive meaningful conversations and thoughtful forethought into what will actually be discussed, rather than having a defensive-driven conversation. 

Here's some tips on creating a process that supports and encourages your team to get involved:

  • Have your dept. champions spearhead frequent coaching sessions
    We recommend team leads have at least one 1-on-1 session with each of their reports once per month. You can alternate between a retrospective look back on what went well, what could have been done differently, or what aspirations moving forward could be supported based on previous engagements, and a career-growth discussion of how the organization and team can improve chances of personal success.

  • Create concrete takeaways and action plans
    Make sure to save post-conversation notes so when it comes to action plans there are no surprises on falling short with expectations. 

  • Celebrate latest achievements and recognitions before the start of a new session
    Not only do you want to be up to date with what has been worked on and what has been achieved, but you should celebrate and acknowledge hard work. This sets the tone of a positive, welcoming environment - not a fearful or reprimand-focused review.
     
  • Make it ACTUALLY continuous
    Once the coaching session is given, or feedback sent/received doesn't mean the conversations have to stop. Have something on your mind? Speak up! Just because there are processes around minimum requirements doesn't mean that you can't have or hold more! Learn more about how to create a continuous, supportive environment here

The best part? Even with the change of a new manager, the new manager can access the previous 1-on-1 conducted. On the flip side, every user on the platform has a living record that can be pulled up on-demand. Review your previous accomplishments, see what you worked on and may have forgotten about, or reference something that happened a while ago if it ever comes up again. This storage of information allows everyone to stay caught upon discussions related to performance, career aspirations, and support needed to succeed. 

  • Focus on learning and growth of each individual, not just the organization. 
    When everyone feels supported, they will be empowered to ask for help when it's needed. Additionally, when everyone is supported at the bottom line, organic success will filter up through to organizational goals and aspirations. 
  • Communicate to everyone that they are the drivers of their own success. 
    You are as strong as you want to be! While team leads can use coaching sessions to promote conversations around identifying strengths and weaknesses, it's ultimately up to each individual to drive their own growth. Communicate clearly that support is here if they need it, but don't reprimand those that don't seek it out - rather, engage in a conversation! Learn more about giving and receiving feedback here

When it comes down to what exactly you should communicate outwards about 7Geese, remember these few tips:

We help teams break the mould of traditional reviews and transform to supporting a continuous and full-cycle performance management process defined by: creating a supportive environment that welcomes a horizontal mentorship model, encouraging communication cross-collaboratively, making growth about aspirations not compensation, staying motivated by making the workplace an awesome culture, and driving happiness by working together.

Giving Effective Feedback

Improper guidance and feedback are the single largest contributors to incompetence in the world of work” – Gilbert.

Feedback has become a crucial aspect for many organizations. Whether it is within the company such as peer feedback, or outside the company such as customers’ feedback, leaders have realized the importance of encouraging feedback in order to grow a successful business. Employees are trained on how to receive and give feedback. Managers are taking feedback from employees and their peers as part of performance management process. Organizations are making sure that open communication is well engrained in every business process.

Although I have written multiple blog posts on the benefits and how it is crucial for a company, I still found myself struggling with the concept of giving and receiving feedback. “Who were you to tell me how to do my job properly?” or “Who am I to tell you how to do things differently?” were two examples of questions that created defensiveness from my part. Many articles will give you pointers on how to receive and give feedback but I found some of these points too general. I know there are many employees out there who are also struggling with it. Therefore, I wanted to share my 7 tips on how I overcame my uncomfortableness with giving and receiving constructive feedback.

  1. Lead with a question – Nothing is more frustrating than a peer giving you feedback out of no where. Start by opening up with a question such as “How do you think you are doing on this specific matter?” It gives the person context to start with, but most importantly, the person feels included in the conversation. You do not want the person to feel attacked by sharing the feedback without giving a context. Remember that feedback should be a conversation, not a one-way communication outlet.

  2. Be part of the person’s entourage – Are you in a position of authority or part of the person’s day-to-day work circle? I have seen feedback sessions turned personal when feedback was exchanged between employees who had never worked together on a project before. Constructive feedback is productive when the feedback is coming from someone you trust – professionally and personally. Start practicing giving feedback to people you trust. It is also an opportunity for you to ask them for feedback in terms of communicating.

  3. Distinguish between the types of feedback – Be careful to clearly separate feedback that reflects your need from feedback that is for the improvement of the person. Always take time to dig deeper to the roots of the feedback. For example, telling someone “You are not involved enough with the team” may actually mean “I would like to have more opportunities to bring the team together”. Remember that feedback is to help others improve and not an outlet for you to vent.

  4. Be mindful of your own state – I have given harsh feedback when I was angry or frustrated. And unfortunately, you cannot take words back. The same applies when receiving feedback. If you are feeling flustered and defensive from the incoming feedback, acknowledge the person. Then ask for a 5-10 minute to recompose yourself. Take a break, go for a walk. After you relax and are more aware of your own composure, re-engage with the person. Never walk out on the person.

  5. Do not hold others to your expectations – Sometimes, you practice over and over on how to deliver a constructive feedback. When you finally share the feedback, the receiver, the latter is frustrated, angry or unresponsive. Do not expect that everyone will receive the feedback as well as you will. Every person has different ways of handling constructive feedback. It always hurts to have someone tell you that you have room for improvement. Be empathetic. Change takes time.

  6. Be careful when bringing others in the feedback – I remember this incident when a colleague gave me feedback, and to reinforce her point, she name-dropped another colleague of ours. It made me feel cornered, two against me. The worst is that my relationship with the other colleague turned sour because I felt like she backstabbed me and was not honest to give me the feedback face to face. Try your best to keep the feedback session between you and the person.

  7. Be part of feedback sessions – Recently, at 7Geese, we have decided to implement a “critic session” through different phases of launching a feature. The team gathers together and provides feedback on what we can do better. I think it is a great opportunity for every one of us to practice receiving and giving feedback. Each member’s goal is to point out as many flaws and improvements as possible in order to make our product the best. These feedback are not targeted at individuals, but at the sum of our works. These sessions allow me to give feedback and gain the trust of my team members.

To encourage your employees to be open to the process of feedback, it is important for you to create a culture of open communication across all members. One of the best practices I have seen is the CEO and executive team members proactively asking for feedback from their employees. Leading by example, these seniors leaders are showing that feedback is valued and heard at all levels of the organization. I would love to hear any tips you have to overcome the hurdle of giving and receiving constructive feedback.

As we move towards workplace where continuous and real time feedback is key, we should embrace the uncomfortableness of sharing feedback with the end goal to build a successful company.

Watch this video to learn how Feedback works in 7Geese.

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