On Driving Change and Building Buy-In


Andrea Belk Olson headshot
Andrea Belk Olson

CEO at Pragmadik

Episode notes

Join host Jenny Herald and special guest Andrea Belk Olson in this newest episode of Dreams With Deadlines as they dive into the world of OKRs and the challenges organizations face in driving change and building buy-in. 

From understanding varied nomenclature to crafting achievable aspirations, they explore the importance of aligning organizational goals with the current state and involving people in the change process.

What you will learn

  • The concept of customer-centricity
  • The Three Ws ideation process for empathetic thinking
  • Integrating change in traditional manufacturing
  • The six key components of building change buy-in, and finding the balance between committed and aspirational goals with OKRs.

Show notes

  • [00:00:26] Introduction to OKRs and Varied Nomenclature: Andrea Belk Olson discusses her experience with OKRs and the diverse terminology used to describe them.
  • [00:01:17] Starting with a Current State Assessment for Differentiation: Jenny and Andrea discuss the importance of conducting a current state assessment to help companies identify their core strengths, revenue streams, talent, and assets.
  • [00:02:27] Crafting Achievable Aspirations and the Role of People in Change: Jenny and Andrea explore the importance of setting realistic and achievable aspirational goals for organizations, using the example of a client wanting to become the "Tesla of the industry." 
    • They discuss the need to align aspirations with the organization's current state, identifying unique differentiators, and finding a target market that values those differentiators.
    • Additionally, they emphasize the critical role of people in driving change, highlighting the importance of buy-in, individual growth opportunities, and addressing employees' concerns about skill sets, timelines, and personal advantages.
  • [00:13:38] Achieving Customer Centricity and Shifting Organizational Mindset: Andrea shares a client example where they successfully addressed the challenges of aligning aspirations with their current state, focusing on customer-centricity and mindset shifts for growth
  • [00:17:32] Three Ws Ideation Process for Customer-Centric Thinking: Andrea introduces the Three Ws Ideation Process from her book "What to Ask" as a framework for organizations to think more empathetically and better understand customer needs. The process involves examining the "why" by considering the customer's context, determining the "what" based on that context, and formulating a hypothesis for the "wow" solution.
  • [00:19:40] Applying the Three Ws and Piloting for Customer-Centric Solutions: Jenny and Andrea discuss applying the Three Ws process to improve community events and increase participation.
  • [00:22:21] Integrating Change and Efficiency in Traditional Manufacturing: Overcoming resistance to change in manufacturing organizations through Kaizen and manageable changes.
  • [00:27:53] The Six Key Components of Building Change Buy-In: Legitimacy, ownership, attainability, authenticity, impartiality, and relevance as essential components for buy-in.
  • [00:34:12] Balancing Committed and Aspirational Goals with OKRs: Jenny and Andrea discuss the balance between committed goals and aspirational goals when using OKRs.
    • They emphasize the importance of relevance, acknowledging the day-to-day operational needs alongside the aspirational goals.
    • They highlight the need to tie objectives to known challenges and issues, involve employees in shaping the objectives, and ensure that everyone can influence the outcomes.
    • They also discuss the significance of breaking down the goals into manageable steps and painting a picture of the results to generate buy-in and momentum.
    • The approach of microdosing the OKRs is recommended to create quick wins and maintain momentum throughout the journey.
    • The focus is on measuring progress, identifying priorities, and fostering meaningful forward momentum toward the larger aspirational goal.
  • [00:41:03] Recognizing and Rewarding Successes in Organizational Culture: Jenny and Andrea discuss the importance of examining organizational culture and reinforcing behaviors that celebrate successes.
  • [00:45:54] Quick-Fire Questions for Andrea:
    • What’s your Dream With a Deadline: Andrea's dream with a deadline is to write her fourth book within her lifetime.
    • What is Andrea’s prevailing insight of the moment? Organizations can be hypersensitive to change, perceiving it as a personal attack on their capabilities.
    • What is emerging from this discussion is the idea of what? What is emerging is the idea of a confident organization that acknowledges flaws but believes in its ability to improve.
  • Where do you think the future is headed in terms of the OKR space? The future of OKRs lies in overcoming terminology hurdles and creating environments where employees can succeed and meet customer needs.

Relevant links

About our guest:

Andrea Belk Olson headshot
Andrea Belk Olson


Andrea Belk Olson is a behavioral scientist and customer-centricity expert. She is the Founder & CEO of Pragmadik, helping companies differentiate and build customer-centric cultures. Andrea is a renowned speaker, published author and a TEDx presenter. She is also a contributing writer for HBR, Entrepreneur, Rotman, Chief Executive, and more.

Additional resources