Using a ‘Silicon Valley for the Rest of Us’ Approach for OKRs


Daniel Montgomery
Daniel Montgomery

Founder and Managing Director of Agile Strategies

Episode notes

In this episode of Dreams with Deadlines, Jenny speaks with Dan Montgomery, author of Start less, Finish More: Building Strategic Agility with Objectives and Key Results, founder and Managing Director of Agile Strategies, and OKR Thought Leader. He explains strategic agility as providing value to an ecosystem for your business to be successful and using OKRs to stay in that bigger picture. 

Listen in to learn how to do strategic planning in your business using the 5-step methodology (access, focus, commit, act, and learn). You will also learn how to be adaptable as an organization by understanding your value to the customer and then writing key results around that.

“If you don’t bring OKRs into the regular management agenda, you will set it and forget it.”- Dan (20:47)

What you will learn in this episode

  • (02:20) Dan on his interest in people’s organization plus the different career paths he’s undertaken.
  • (03:35) Why he wrote his book Start less, Finish More covering strategic agility.
  • (04:56) How to do more strategic thinking — begin with the end in mind rather than focusing on a to-do list.
  • (07:04) How to create a minimum viable strategy — creating holistic value for all your business’s stakeholders.
  • (10:37) The difference between the traditional mechanical business planning and today’s trying and scaling strategy.
  • (13:48) The 5-steps of building strategic agility as outlined in his book; access, focus, commit, act, and learn.
  • (29:34) Overburdened matrix – not being agile and operating in silos plus how to use shared OKRs to cut across those silos.
  • (33:09) Dan answers more quick-fire questions.

Relevant links

The full transcript

(00:00:00) Jenny: Hi, there. Jenny here. This week, we are bringing you an episode from our archives. In the same way, we might experience information overload, we experience initiative overload. This combined with matrix distributed teams working from home, the stress gets real. How do we counteract the challenges we face while continuously trying to discover new sources of customer value. Dan Montgomery and I discuss these topics and more. Here it is.

Welcome to Dreams with Deadlines, a podcast by Gtmhub about aligning strategy execution and promoting outcome-driven cultures through the proven objectives and key results methodology. I'm your host, Jenny Herald, VP of Product Evangelism at Gtmhub.

(00:01:31) Dan: I think I always had an interest in how people organize themselves. Even as a kid I was fascinated by who did what, which translated into an interest in politics and interest in how work is organized. For a lot of my career, I had this kind of dichotomy between being interested in psychology so I got a master's degree in psychology. I was interested in coaching. On the other hand, I had another part of me that I would say was more left brainy, more technical, more mathematical, and for a lot of my career, I kind of went back and forth.

I was a therapist for a while, then I became an application developer, and then I was a coach. I've been in and out of different HR kinds of roles. I think where I'm really happy with where I landed is that OKRs really combine the two because it's not just a mechanical goal-setting system like some of the other ones out there. There's really a big cultural aspect to the whole thing as well.

(00:02:40) Jenny: You wrote a book called Start Less, Finish More: Building Strategic Agility with Objectives and Key Results. Why did you decide to write that book?

(00:02:48) Dan: There are two books about the strategy that are published in the English language every day. Why does the world need another book about strategy? There are so many of them. I felt like what I wasn't seeing, I had seen some other books about OKRs that were out like Measure What Matters and the OKR book by Paul Niven and Ben Lamorte.

Those are great, but I felt like there wasn't a book that did two things. That looked at OKRs in the light of how we think about strategic planning or strategic agility and that actually got into detail about how you do it. I wanted to write a book that really got into the method for doing it that made sense to someone who was used to strategic planning. I actually built this five-step agile strategy cycle that fits all the requirements of a strategic planning kind of model, but it's designed to be a really fast cycle way of doing it.

(00:03:53) Jenny: In your book, you talked about initiative overload, I wanted to unpack that thought. Can you just define it for us since you wrote about it in your book, and then we'll transition into this agile strategy mindset, which I think is lovely because that's the answer to this initiative overload? Let's go there.

(00:04:10) Dan: We live in a culture of over-commitment. We value busyness. Often, you're talking particularly to a business acquaintance. You'll say, hey, Joe, how are you doing? It's like, oh, really busy and it's the acceptable answer. Boy, I'm busy. It's ironic because, in past times, the people who were high status were people of leisure. We've removed that with now, the busier you are, the better human being you must be. That's a cultural prejudice that we start with.

Then I think the way that we do strategic planning really contributes to it because traditionally, we've had these three- to five-year strategic planning cycles which, first off, assumes that the future is relatively predictable and isn't changing that fast. Otherwise, how on earth do we have any idea of what things will look like in five years? I think we're all starting to feel that way now, especially this year.

Then what happens if you're saying, well, okay, what are we going to do in the next five years? That's such a long period of time that you don't really have to say no to anything. You just say well, yeah, we'll do that, then we'll do that, and we'll do that. Like what Michael Porter said, the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do, but if you're planning too far in the future and not saying no, you're going to end up with a long list of projects. Some people end up feeling like their strategy is a list of projects.

Where strategic agility is different is that what we're focused on is the outcomes, not the 
projects, not the tasks to get there. We want to be flexible about how we get there, so we're challenging people to do more strategic thinking, to think more, to begin with, the end in mind rather than get focused on a to-do list.

(00:06:00) Jenny: How does strategic agility then tie in with OKRs and enable leadership 
to be much more nimble about the direction that they're setting for their organization, which is what strategy is supposed to do. Then OKRs are supposed to be a communication of that stuff so that everyone can figure out, okay, this is where we're headed. How do those fit together?

(00:06:20) Dan: First off, what is strategic agility? It's a continuous process of sensing the environment, making choices about which direction to go and which direction not to go, and continuously trying to discover new sources of customer value. The first thing that I would say is that it really fits in more with this new kind of ecosystem idea about what business is. That you've got to be providing value to an ecosystem in order to be successful. This is how a lot of Silicon Valley tech companies have been operating for at least 20 or 30 years because they recognize they can't do everything.

Apple, for instance, created an ecosystem of application developers for the iPhone, and their success and the success of their application developers are tied in together. Similarly, Amazon and all of its suppliers. You've actually got to create value for the customer, the supplier, all of the stakeholders, and the employees, particularly if you're in a business where you're in a war for talent. You've got to think more broadly and holistically about how you're creating value.

In Agile, they talk about developing a minimum viable product. I talk about a minimum viable strategy. It's pretty simple. There are simple rules that are easily communicated about what we're trying to do rather than having an 80-slide PowerPoint that gets into incredible detail about exactly what we think we're going to do, which used to be the style.

Then you use OKRs to stay focused on that big picture but iterate continuously every quarter about what's the best thing to reach that, and suddenly, we have a pandemic and everybody needs to work at home. Okay, we have to set those other projects aside and just get everybody set up and working effectively together at home, then we get back on to what we're doing.

Some of our goals may change. Some of our customers, their retail channel has basically been wiped out because the stores were closed. We have to really beef up our direct-to-consumer online delivery to the home, and that's not what they were thinking. Their priority was six months ago, but they've shifted if they had to. Those can all be reflected in constantly shifting OKRs. Typically, the OKR cycle is a quarter, and that's a good place to start. Some of them may need to be longer and some of them should be shorter.

(00:09:09) Jenny: You had mentioned back in the day, it was common to see an 80-slide PowerPoint presentation where everyone's eyes would glaze over and it documented to the tee what everyone was expecting or could expect to happen in the next three to five years condensed. Then you said, well, we kind of have to move away from that. Now it's really a set of simple things, simple rules that we need to be considerate of. Can you touch base on just a frame of how leadership should be thinking when they're creating these strategic agility-type plans as opposed to the comfortable 80-slide PowerPoint presentation at an all-hands in front of your entire organization?

(00:09:58) Dan: In an environment that's merely complicated, which most of our business management systems were developed for, if you analyze enough data, you can develop an optimal solution. Way back when I went to business school, you had all these classes like operations research and things like that where you really crunched data and tried to come up with algorithms that would tell you exactly where you needed to be distributing your product and all of that kind of stuff. That mindset becomes impossible in a more complex environment. You need to stay more flexible.

We're moving away from the idea that the environment we operate in is like a big machine. If we can just understand the mechanics of it, we can be successful. It is more like an ecology. It's more of a biological kind of metaphor in which all you can do is try something, see what works, and scale it up if it works. Even in that case, when you scale it up, something else may shift in that environment. You really have to stay on your toes.

That's something they figured out in the startup world a while ago because if you go back 20 years, startups looking for money would come up with these business plans predicting what their cash flow would look like three years out for a product that was really just a dream at that point. The entrepreneurs and the venture capitalists got wise to this. That's just delusional thinking. You have to go in and try something and see what works.

I think that community really figured that out. That's where I think what we're doing is, in a way, I think of it as Silicon Valley for the rest of us. There's a lot that we can learn from what developed in that environment that applies to really any kind of business or organization.

(00:12:03) Jenny: When I read through some of your books—I'm finishing it—you outlined five steps, which when I read it, I was like oh, this feels very technology, Silicon Valley-esque of how do you walk through teaching Silicon Valley to the rest of us. You have five steps that you outlined in your book. The first is, assess, focus is the next, you need to commit, then act on stuff, and then learn from it. Can we talk through a little bit of how to do this in practice, but specifically at scale?

Because when I'm thinking about even our business at Gtmhub, we're really small, comparatively. We're still in a stage where I can know everyone's name. It's something that's possible, but you walk into an enterprise. It's no longer possible to know everyone's name and make sure everyone is assessing, focusing, committing, acting, and learning. How do your steps in your book translate to a 10,000, 100,000 person organization?

(00:13:12) Dan: One idea I want to plant before I describe the steps is this is a scale-independent model. What do I mean by that? It's a cycle that you can use within a small team. You could use it within a startup, you can use it for the whole organization. In terms of this organizational scope, it's independent of that and it's also timescale independent because you can apply this to what a team is doing for a quarter or what a corporation is going to do over the next three years.

At the same time, the steps here are very typical of the steps you'd find in any rigorous strategic management kind of process. By strategic management, it's the planning and also the execution put together, which is an approach I've been schooled in for many years. Having said that, there are five steps. They’re assess, focus, commit, act, and learn.

Assessing is about observing your environment like what's going on. If we're imagining our environment as an ecosystem, what's going on with the talent that we have and that we're trying to attract? What's changing with our customers? What's changing with our suppliers? How are new technologies enabling us to do something different? What's happening to the economy? What's happening to the environment including our health, all those kinds of things? That involves a lot of conversations for observation, and that's where you need to attack those fixed mental models.

For instance, if Ken Olson had been doing maybe a little bit more comprehensive job, he would have been in a conversation with people saying, well, boss, I don't know. I think all we have are these little Altair home computer kits, but a lot of people are buying them and I think there's some potential. We need to pay attention to this because we actually need each other to challenge our mental models because we all have blind spots. That's just the way the human brain works. Conversations for observation. That kind of gives you an assessment of what your reality is at this point and what the trends appear to be, at least from right now.

The second one is focus. That's where you're making decisions about what we're going to do and what we're not going to do. Are we going to go all the way into direct-to-consumer, marketing, and delivery? Are we going to stick with bricks and mortar? Are we going to go to China? What are we going to do? Those are conversations for possibility. That kind of conversation is where you really want to encourage open brainstorming. There are no bad ideas. Let's get all the possibilities out on the table, but then let's make a choice. Let's do that. That's the focus.

Those are the first two stages you find really in any kind of strategic planning methodology, but I just want to emphasize that we do have to make those choices. Because of the fact that OKRs are a fast cycle, just because you're saying no to something right now doesn't mean you'll never do it. You don't have to get it on the list or lose it forever. It's kind of like the Kanban idea. You can say that's an interesting idea. Let's put it in the bath.

(00:16:34) Jenny: Let's park it.

(00:16:35) Dan: Let's park it, exactly, parking lot and look at it in a quarter and see if that makes sense then. The third step, commitment, is really where the OKRs come in because that's saying, all right, in the near term, what kind of outcome are we actually going to commit to? What will success look like?

The objectives can be this very aspirational statement. The key results are what keep you honest. They're very specific, targeted measures. The objective is like, I think the objective can be like poetry, it should be inspiring, it should hit you in the gut, it should get you out of bed in the morning. The key results keep you honest, they're very specific, measurable, right?

(00:17:21) Jenny: I like that, it keeps you honest.

(00:17:24) Dan: Because otherwise, if you have these vague goals, you can argue about whether you did it or not.

(00:17:32) Jenny: That happens at the beginning of every year, right? Every human that says, I'm going to have these new year's resolutions. Then two months down the line, they're like, did I lose the weight? I think I gained five pounds. Because they didn't have some sort of result, some definition, and a commitment to themselves or another person, hopefully, as accountability to say hey, you said you were going to lose five pounds by now, what happened?

(00:17:56) Dan: I used to see this all the time when I worked in the IT field. At one point, I was brought in to do an audit of a big ERP system implementation because there was a lot of unhappiness about it. The person who has been the project manager just kept saying, well, no, the project was a success. We got it in on time and under budget.

The user said well, that's because they totally slashed the functionality and just externalized a bunch of costs on to us. It wasn't successful. We're actually spending more money, and it's not as good as the system we used to have because they never actually agreed on what success looked like. It was quite a bitter argument. The commit stage is really a conversation for an agreement like what the Agile people would call a definition of done, you've defined (...) satisfaction.

(00:18:52) Jenny: That focus and commitment thing is really tough when you have vocal people, people who are shy to speak up who probably need to be heard. I'm sure that's a lot of where the challenge is, is that setup period to get to commit.

(00:19:08) Dan: We use the term commitment really specifically because a lot of times, people talk about accountability. But too often when I hear a senior leader talk about accountability, sometimes it can mean I tell people what to do and they don't do it. To me, commitment is a mutual promise that has to be negotiated by people who feel empowered to say no. There are three more steps in this five-step process.

(00:19:36) Jenny: Now it's when the rubber hits the road.

(00:19:39) Dan: Yes, the rubber hits the road. That's the stage we call act. What you're doing is, let's say you've got a quarterly OKR, you're having a weekly check-in that’s saying, okay, objectively, how are we doing on those key results, and subjectively, how are we actually feeling? Do we think we're going to get there? Because sometimes, the actual data is lagging things that have to happen in order to create that effect.

That's where we're saying, alright, what's going on and what are we doing about it? Because if you don't bring OKRs into the regular management agenda, you will set it and forget it. You create this thing. You get to the end of the quarter and go, gosh, we never got around to that because we're so busy.

You have these conversations for action where you say, well, okay, we need to tackle this. It's like, well, how about if I do this and Jenny you do that? Then we get back together next week and say, okay, what did we get done? What obstacles did we run into, which is very much like the Agile check-in stand-up process. It's really the same principle when you get down to the level of action.

Then the final step, I call learn. I worked in the IT field for a long time. All of these project methodologies, at the end, you're supposed to do an evaluation, and say, okay, what worked? What didn't work? What would we do differently next time? What I found working for a lot of professional services, consulting type organizations is, we never had time for it, because it's like, okay, Dan, you need to get on the next project. You need to be in Toronto next week. We don't have time for that learning stuff.

(00:21:30) Jenny: I think it's really interesting how similar it is when I read through the steps, and I've been reading your book, like I mentioned, assess, focus, commit, act and learn. There are concepts in the military that are very similar like the OODA Loop, for example. I remember when I was an airman. This was one of the first frameworks that you learned in air school. You need to observe what's going on. You need to be able to orient so that you can decide on what to do and then act.

Once these things happen, when you're done with your exercise, your training session, a major event, or an operation, you do a hot wash, which is when you have after action discussions. You evaluate your performance during that exercise, and how the next time if you were to come across such an activity or have to engage in a different way, what are you going to have learned from this? So that the next time you're going to be better, whatever that is, so that you can continue to grow and adapt.

(00:22:27) Dan: Well, one question I've got for you about the OODA Loop is that I know it came out of the individual fighter pilot environment. At the same time, you have other kinds of aircraft or other kinds of missions where there's a lot of coordination involved.

I thought a lot about the OODA Loop creating this model, but also thought, well, this is much more of a social process because the fighter pilot idea, Colonel Boyd coming up with this idea, it's life or death, you're flying an aircraft that's worth millions of dollars, and it's your life on the line. Somebody else's life is on the line and you want to survive. I guess I'm curious if you work with that OODA Loop idea in a more social context. Maybe you're on an aircraft that's got a crew of five, or you're coordinating with other aircraft because I think that's a little more analogous to what happens in businesses,

(00:23:33) Jenny: Actually, absolutely. When I was introduced to this concept, I was a young airman. I was living in California. I worked at Edwards Air Force Base. I remember talking to my dad because he was a former military, retired Navy for 20 years. I was like, Dad, what do I need to do to be successful? I'm this ignorant officer, newly barred. I have my two bars here on my shoulder and my epaulet. He said, you need to go find the most senior person in your organization and you need to stick with them and learn everything you can. I was like, okay.

I met Master Sergeant Morris. Master Sergeant Morris told me a few things. He was my first mentor. He said, you need to remember that if you want to do a really good job, take care of your people, they'll take care of the mission. That's your first job. That's what you need to do—take care of your people and they'll take care of the mission.

The second is, I suggest that you go back to your training and you really internalize the OODA Loo — observe, orient, decide and act. The way that we use that, at least across the department I was responsible for — I was a deputy comptroller at Edwards Air Force 
Base way back when. I had observed that if someone had submitted a travel voucher, they had families of their own, and they needed to pay their bills and stuff, they would come back from a deployment. It would take us anywhere between five to seven to turn around the money.

I think the accuracy rate of paying them correctly was somewhere around 80%, which was unset. So that was an observation. Then I oriented with that and I'm like, where in this process are we broken? I talked to the airmen, my staff, and the civilians that were working with me at the time. I'm like, why is it like this? Has anyone really looked at how we worked?

Then we found inefficiencies in how we had processed these orders, who took it, the process flows, trying to think through how we were going to optimize where something was at any given point in time. How do we ensure that the payments are accurate based on our assessment and filing of these things, who's responsible for that stuff, and we made decisions. We made decisions of this airman's responsible for this, this is their backup person. This civilian is responsible for that, this division is going to do these sorts of things.

We really started to orchestrate processes that would help us achieve our goal, which is to pay the airmen on time and accurately. Then we enacted that and we regularly, throughout the process, talked through. How are we making improvements here? What are our metrics? Before I even knew about OKRs, we were doing a lot of this application because Master Sergeant Morris helped me think through it all.

We had the learning cycles. At the end of my tenure there, we were paying people within, I think 48 hours at 99 point something percent accuracy. They were getting paid accurately and quickly, which was a far cry from where we started. But that wasn't me. It was seriously an entire team going through this exercise and very much, I think, one from one to what you've described in your book.

(00:26:50) Dan: Charles Darwin, he said, the species that survive are not necessarily the strongest species. It's not the strongest. It's the most adaptive, and you can apply that to looking at the history of the economy and which companies succeed and which ones fail. You can be very strong and completely fail. If you look at some of the companies that were around not so long ago that are gone — Xerox, Kodak, they were very dominant.

They had a very unified culture. People knew just what they were doing. They had a dominant position in their market, and now they're gone because they didn't adapt. That's what's interesting about your OODA story in the accounting and payment area. What you were doing was starting off understanding what's the value to the customer. These airmen, you want them focused on the mission. You don't want them worrying about whether their family has money for groceries back home.

You identified time and you identified accuracy. You built key results around that. That led a group of people say, okay, what can I do in my particular area to contribute to that? Because we're all focused on one goal, rather than being worried about our own little tasks and our own little job description. What it points out is we like to say that OKRs are a team sport. It's not. It's not a matter of individual heroics. It's a matter of getting us focused and moving in the same direction.

Yeah, that's where I think you have to be very careful about whether you're using OKRs for individual performance management. They're most powerful in getting teams oriented towards common objectives and results across a number of teams and focused in that direction.

(00:28:54) Jenny: We're talking about teams. I've heard you say the last time we talked that you are observing the rise of the overburdened matrix organization. What does that mean?

(00:29:05) Dan: Right. Well, so the idea of a matrix, of course, is that you have a dual reporting structure. I work for Accenture. I work for Ernst and Young. It's very common in big consulting firms, which is where I first experienced it because, let's say, I'm in the change management practice at Accenture. I report to a change management manager, but I'm also spending most of my time on individual projects so I'm reporting to a project manager.

It works pretty well in the consulting field because most of the time, you're on a project. That's where you're actually contributing the value and that's pretty clear, but in a lot of other kinds of organizations, it gets a little bit muddier. If you look at a global consumer goods company, you have hierarchical silos that have to do with individual products. We've got 30 different products that we have out there, but that's also a matrix with geographical territories all over the world.

That's where it gets really muddy because the problem is, so many people are involved in every decision that it slows down the decision-making process. That's where that term overburden matrix came from. They know they're not agile. I didn't make up that term. That came from a CEO of a company like that. The problem is, we're not agile. We're not able to move nimbly in response to changing circumstances, so we need to do something different.

I think where the problem comes is that I think business people have gotten too conditioned to think about the organization, to visualize the organization as the organizational chart, which has all of these kinds of silos. When in fact, if you look at the work that's been done in organizational network analysis, sometimes called social network analysis or value network analysis, work is actually getting done horizontally. But we're not focused on that and that's where a lot of breakdowns happen.

We tend to be really focused on performing in our silo because that's how our individual performance gets evaluated. We build better relationships with people there, but not so much with those other guys on those other teams. There can often even be a feeling of competition. What happens in the whitespace on the organization chart. You need a different way of visualizing the organization in order to build that kind of horizontal alignment along the value streams in the organization.

The way that you can do that is with shared OKRs that cut across those silos because you can use OKRs to reinforce the silos so they're just like solid concrete. I'm sorry, Jenny, I can't help you out because I got my OKRs over here. That's what matters to me. You need to think of the organization as an evolving network of commitments, using shared OKRs as the wiring or the plumbing, if you will, that points out what those connections are. That's where the visualization that you do in software actually becomes really important. In an organization of any scale, that's actually essential.

(00:32:40) Jenny: We're going to go into some quickfire questions. I love wrapping up our episodes this way. The first is, what do you appreciate most about your team?

(00:32:48) Dan: Well, quite a few things. I would say the first thing is curiosity. Consultants often get criticized for being very arrogant about having all the answers to everything. That makes sense for certain kinds of consulting, but we're experts on our process. We're not experts on anybody else's business so we need to ask questions. We need to do that in a way that is respectful but at the same time really challenging. Why are you doing it that way or explain that to me?

We're not afraid of dumb questions. We don't claim we're experts in your industry. We're allowed to ask dumb questions and we're confident about asking dumb questions. We figure the more challenging questions that we ask, the more value that we're actually providing to our clients.

I think another thing would be because we are process experts in OKRs. It's about rigor that if you come up with a key result that says, we're going to launch the website by the end of the quarter, we're going to challenge that. Why are you launching a website? What does a successful website look like? Why don't we have a key result based on that instead of just getting some project done? Because it could be a completely lame website and you've just spent a lot of time on it. What do you want? Do you want more click-through? 
Do you want more conversions? What are you after? We keep asking why like annoying toddlers in order to do that.

I think the other thing is having empathy with the people that we meet. Everybody's trying to get a job done and developing rapport with people is really important. Nowadays, we do that over Zoom, which some people can adapt to and some people have a harder time adapting to. That's really something that we value and that we look forward to as well. So it's curiosity, rigor, and rapport.

(00:34:46) Jenny: Second question, what is your greatest dream and its associated deadline?

(00:34:53) Dan: It doesn't have a deadline, really. I mean, at a level of something that's a key result, it does have a deadline. If you get to the end and you haven't gotten there, you can shift it. That's the whole beauty with OKRs. I think when you get to the level of dreams and visions, it isn't a matter of thinking that it's going to happen at a particular point in time. It's a matter of internalizing that vision and trying to live that vision.

My dream is really an environment where people in businesses or nonprofits or government, are able to bring their whole self to work, that you feel like there's psychological safety, that your views are respected, that you can be open, curious, and not have all the answers. We can all bring our maximum intelligence to what we're doing. 
When I see the state of the world, I think we have to do that. This is a way of thinking that's going to enable us to think differently about the problems that we've created.
Einstein said this famous thing that we can't solve problems at the level that we created them. That's the world that we're in now. We've just created all these economic effects, climate effects, and health effects by the way we do things and we can't think about them the way that we used to. There's really no going back. we have to go forward.

(00:36:24) Jenny: You've had lots of customers and clients, I'm definitely sure of. What would you say is your proudest moment or experience in one of these engagements?

(00:36:41) Dan: I think it's hearing people have a different kind of conversation than they were hearing before. The way that I think about training people is that we are imparting new vocabulary. We're very conscious of that. We have a lot of cute little terms that we then use in the process.

An example would be weasel words. I didn't make that one up either but I love it because it defines when you're having a conversation about where you're trying to go. You just say, well, yeah, we're going to be customer value-driven from now on. You think that's actually defined as a goal. Well, that's a weasel word because you haven't defined what it looks like if you're value-driven. It's a really easy thing to say and you haven't really defined what it looks like. So we talk about weasel words.

Then when we hear people, they're in their breakouts, developing their OKRs, and they're challenging each other and somebody says, well, Jenny, that sounds like weasel words. Why are we doing it? How can we be more specific? Then I feel like I've done my job because I've given them a new language to have a different kind of conversation. Then where do they go from that is really up to them. I just love to see these kinds of terms go viral.

(00:38:14) Jenny: I think that's going to be really exciting. Yeah. An organization having a certain kind of language, and then at the end of a project or as you're continuing to work with them, hearing that different language has got to be exciting because that really means that you've gotten through to them, that they're changing. That's cool.

(00:38:35) Dan: Right, and they've made it their own.

(00:38:37) Jenny: I hope that you have continued success. It sounds like you have and you will have continued success in helping organizations overcome a lot of the challenges that they are meeting in the marketplace. Thank you so much for being on the show. I know I've learned a lot. I'm really grateful that I got to learn some more by talking to you today. Thank you so much, Dan.

(00:38:57) Dan: This was a lot of fun, Jenny. Thank you very much.

(00:39:05) Jenny: That's it for this episode of Dreams with Deadlines. Thanks for listening. If you like today's episode, please subscribe and share. Show notes can be found on quantive.com/radio. If you want to learn more about our products and services, head out to gtmhub.com. If you have questions that you'd like answered on the show, shoot us an email at [email protected] Tune in next time.

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