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[OKR] A CEO's job is to look after the garden of open and autonomy culture




I recommend several books to our gift makers here at su-re.co, and one that some of our staff are currently reading is 'High Output Management'. To do what it says, you first need to create a culture in your company. The required culture includes openness and autonomy. When you hear the words openness and autonomy, you might think that there are no rules and that you can do whatever you want. But in fact, the opposite is true: to create an open and autonomous company, you need a lot of rules and a lot of groundwork to make them stick.


I first read this book a long time ago, but I've been flicking through it again recently. It was written by Andy Grove, the famous CEO of Intel. At that time, he didn't use the term OKR (Objective Key Result), but Google and other IT companies later adopted this management method.





OKR is backcasting, which I've written about many times on this blog, where you set a goal of what you want the future to be like and then work towards it. However, it's not as simple as just setting a goal and expecting everyone to work towards it. You need a transparent company, where you can see what your managers and other employees are working on and tell them if they are wrong. Unless this is the case, OKRs will not work. It isn't easy to create such an open company, and large companies that have already grown up in the last century would do well to think of a different way of doing things. On the other hand, if you are starting, you will be creating a culture out of thin air, so if you are going to adopt OKR, you should create an open company culture first.


su-re.co is a very open company by nature. To give you an idea of how open we are, any business email sent to me is forwarded to all employees. The same applies to all other employees. There is no bilateral business talk, either inside or outside the company. All tasks are managed in ASANA, but the objects and actions are shared in the group chat every morning. At the end of the workday, we send a reflection, including our feelings about it. All documents created are also shared in the cloud. In addition, all employees are required to write a blog once a week and comment on it. Apart from salaries, almost everything is open. On the contrary, there are rules for everything, from the file name rules for sharing all documents to the way tasks are listed in ASANA, to the way minutes are taken.


It takes a lot of time and effort to communicate these rules to interns. That's why we don't hire interns for short periods. I believe that the culture of a company is like a garden. It's not fixed, but it's not something that can change rapidly either. The culture grows naturally if we take care of it to adapt to the outside environment. This gardening is my number one job.

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