Operationalizing Goals to Outcomes – Cisco Blogs


As a part of our digital transformation, my Cisco colleagues and I had been getting educated on enterprise agility in our ONEx group. Any transformation wants an efficient option to measure the success on the finish and all through, and as a part of our initiative, I might see there was sufficient consciousness and emphasis given to metrics and measurements.

The coaching additionally addressed some factors from the guide “Measure What Issues,” which peaked my curiosity and impressed me to start out studying it. It’s a implausible guide with the origin of the Goals and Key Outcomes (OKR) idea and the way firms have leveraged the framework. I wished to share a bit right here about how Cisco additionally embraces this framework – and extra – in our group, in a barely personalized and enhanced means, and the way it may be prolonged additional.

Discovering Center Floor between Imaginative and prescient, Technique, and Execution

Though the OKR framework has generated extra curiosity in current many years, targets and metrics themselves have lengthy been the muse to any firm to determine, set and succeed. As with know-how, our strategy to targets and metrics has additionally advanced over the time, specifically to incorporate a pair key ideas: MBO or Administration by Goals, and VSE or Imaginative and prescient, Technique & Execution, extension of this, VSEM, to incorporate Metrics.

Imaginative and prescient

The Imaginative and prescient has represented the true north-star of what the corporate needs to attain. If we time field it, maybe, 3 to five years or past, Imaginative and prescient doesn’t change typically until the corporate goes by means of a serious transformation or change of enterprise. Nevertheless, at a corporation stage or perform stage, it might change a bit however nonetheless align to the general firm imaginative and prescient. And, as you’ll be able to think about, there’s nonetheless a wholesome inner debate about whether or not one ought to have ONE single imaginative and prescient for all or a imaginative and prescient at every decrease of purposeful ranges – and totally different firms deal with it in numerous methods.


Whereas Imaginative and prescient is a place to begin, we want different parts to take it additional. Technique is the following stage of Imaginative and prescient – how you intend to perform the imaginative and prescient. This could possibly be a number of levers (or initiatives or strategies or methods) to attain the imaginative and prescient: A technique, strategy, or means to plan for the execution of it and, lastly, ship the specified end result or outcomes.


If Imaginative and prescient is the specified end result, and Technique is the large plan, then Execution is the detailed plan. The important thing to Execution is measurement, and thus it’s typically damaged into smaller chunks – targets or targets – that are simpler to perform and present progress.

Discovering Significant Measurements

Within the course of of remodeling our operations I’ve discovered a number of issues to be true, and useful, throughout this endeavor:

  1. As Peter Drucker stated, “What can’t be measured, can’t be improved“, however even earlier than bettering upon a factor, figuring out and establishing the proper set of metrics is essential for any aim. Drucker additionally noticed, “A supervisor ought to be capable of measure the efficiency and outcomes in opposition to a aim.” Nevertheless, actually efficient organizations should not restrict measurements to the administration stage, however as a substitute, equip workers at each stage to determine and observe significant metrics. These metrics could possibly be milestones or KPIs and may be annual, quarterly, and even month-to-month. A few of these metrics could possibly be in a number of methods (say ERP or CRM or ITSM) or Undertaking Portfolio Administration instruments. The targets and targets may be (and in some circumstances must be) inherited both vertically or throughout the group or cross-functionally past the group for shared targets.
  2. When using new measurement metrics inside an organization, the perfect state of affairs could be to combine, automate, and produce all of those metrics into one single dashboard. A one-stop store for metrics viewing simplifies the method, making certain that there’s minimal guide work concerned in updating these metrics periodically. A number of of the SaaS options present APIs that can be utilized to simply combine and get the wanted metric and based mostly on a set threshold, may even present indicators about whether or not metrics have been achieved, and talk that vital data in real-time to impacted groups.
  3. Though Targets & Outcomes could possibly be individually reviewed from worker efficiency evaluate discussions, the perfect could be to evaluate them collectively.
  4. WHAT was achieved must be equally evaluated with HOW it was achieved. Equally necessary to the Imaginative and prescient are the varieties of behaviors that had been exhibited to perform these outcomes, and they need to be reviewed to make sure that we perceive and agree with the strategies and the values represented within the achievement.
  5. It’s vital that metrics and measurements are checked out holistically and collectively. Operationalization of your entire framework, course of, or exercise makes it environment friendly for the group, however defining and setting significant metrics can’t be a one-time exercise. Placing a construction and defining these yearly is an effective begin however that is only the start – targets have to be measured, reviewed, revisited, and adjusted as wanted.

Objectives to Outcome: The Connected View

Operationalization of the OKR framework can embody numerous parts:

  1. Conducting evaluations at Initiative, Program, and Undertaking stage – leveraging metrics from the Portfolio Administration and different IT Techniques/Instruments
  2. Organizational well being metrics from numerous sources
  3. Ongoing operational evaluations (RtB or Run your Enterprise) – each IT (ideally suited to do weekly, month-to-month, and quarterly) and Enterprise Opinions (ideally suited is Quarterly)

Amongst all of those observations I’ve made by means of this course of, some of the vital ones is that the details about significant metrics can’t be created and stored secure someplace secretly. As a substitute, it must be revealed centrally, in order that anybody can verify on the targets of their colleagues and leaders at any time limit. This not solely brings transparency and belief but in addition avoids duplication when discovered.

We’re nonetheless within the course of of making a extra mature, refined apply round our inner OKRs, and in parallel, my colleagues throughout Cisco are additionally making use of metrics to tell smarter, extra environment friendly operations inside our buyer organizations.

For many who wish to dig into the subject much more deeply, click on right here to be taught extra about how Cisco’s IoT apply is utilizing metrics as a robust software in our prospects’ digital transformation.

On that word, how is your staff doing it? What are you able to share about what it takes to set and obtain measurable targets in your group’s digital transformation? 



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