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Self-management Breakfast at Fingertip

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” method when bringing self-management to workplace

At work 8 A.M. I check what I have at hand and collect my thoughts. Sharply at 8.15 the team gathers. We share what’s under process, what’s completed, and what needs to be done. No more than a couple of minutes per person needed. This is follow-up.  We have earlier decided what will be executed and when. There’s no superior to coordinate us. We’re self-organized. The administrative superior will only take care of legal matters. Could your morning be like this?

Self-determination, or self-management, is the core of Objective and Key Results leadership method. OKR is a framework in which employee’s objectives, i.e. goals, are aligned with the strategy of the organization. The employee defines the objectives and tracks the results. The team takes part in this process. As co-workers and stakeholders often change, so do the objectives and key results.

Different organizations have developed and chosen different means to implement OKR principles in their leadership. There are no line of business incapable of benefiting from OKR. In fall 2018, the social media discussion over Supercell’s CEO’s interview lead many to draw the conclusion that the Supercell way works only for game companies, or IT companies. CEO Ilkka Paananen namely stated in Helsingin Sanomat that he’s done himself useless in Supercell. The truth is, organizations in different lines of business need to plan and find the best practices for them by simply testing. Self-management itself works anywhere if people just commit to it.

In my own research, I have deep interviewed twelve Finnish companies that use OKR i.e. employees’ self-management as their management method. Apart from conventional IT firms, I have met companies providing home cleaning services, customer service, occupational health services, business consulting, and media. According to the study, self-management is increasing in Finland. In agile culture, this approach is more disciplined and systematic than previous leadership or management methods.

There are five steps to launch OKR. Start by defining the actual work the person is doing (the title doesn’t tell everything!), and then proceed to colleagues and stakeholders needed for accomplishment of responsibilities. Both tasks and team members may will vary, and usually in today’s world do. The last fifth step is to consider the individual perspective and manage the work load.

At Fingertip’s Breakfast on 29th January, I’ll share more about my findings and examples of the OKR method in Finnish business. Most important, I will share the story how we designed and implemented OKR in Fingertip. The tool has always contained task and objectives management. Now we’ve taken a natural step further toward our own standardized objective and key result management.

Jukka Ala-Mutka, CTD

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