On Unlocking Organizational Potential


Mark Spitzer headshot
Mark Spitzer

President and Leadership Coach at Spitzer Coaching

Episode notes

In this episode of Dreams With Deadlines, we delve into the world of objectives and key results (OKRs) with the expert, Mark Spitzer. Mark is a seasoned coach and consultant who specializes in helping organizations leverage OKRs to drive meaningful change and achieve their goals.

What you will learn

  • OKRs as a Catalyst for Transformation: Learn how OKRs go beyond metrics to inspire innovation and creativity within organizations.
  • Balancing Run-the-Business and Change-the-Business Objectives: Find out how OKRs can drive both incremental improvements and groundbreaking change.
  • Achieving Alignment and Cross-Functionality: Explore practical strategies for fostering alignment and innovation across teams.

Show notes

  • [00:00:00] Becoming an Effective Leader through OKRs. Jenny introduces Mark Spitzer, President of Spitzer Coaching, an experienced OKR and leadership expert, discussing effective leadership, creativity, vision, relationships, and motivation as essential leadership elements. They delve into the significance of OKRs as a tool to capture, communicate, and track critical goals.
  • [00:02:23] Mark Spitzer's OKR Origin Story. Mark shares his journey, transitioning from software development to Agile coaching, and how he discovered OKRs through Felipe Castro, realizing they provide the missing link for goal alignment and shared purpose in organizations.
  • [00:04:16] OKR Champion vs. OKR Coach: Key Differences. Mark distinguishes between the roles of an OKR champion and an OKR coach, highlighting their respective responsibilities in defining strategy and facilitating team success.
  • [00:06:13] Seven OKR Coaching Competencies. Mark presents seven vital OKR coaching competencies that empower coaches to facilitate change, ensure accountability, and manage organizational challenges effectively.
  • [00:09:12] Transitioning to OKRs. Mark provides guidance on adopting OKRs, emphasizing the importance of understanding individuals, gradual integration, and maintaining a focus on outcomes.
  • [00:13:37] Identifying Teams for OKRs. Mark explains how to select teams for OKR implementation, especially in large organizations, highlighting the role of supportive leaders and teams engaged in high-impact projects.
  • [00:22:01] OKRs as Dreams with Deadlines. Mark discusses his perspective that OKRs are "dreams with deadlines," emphasizing their role as an inspiration and motivation tool within organizations. He explains how setting ambitious goals with deadlines can spark creativity and innovation among teams, leading to more impactful outcomes.
  • [00:24:27] Using OKRs to Improve Existing Metrics. Mark discusses OKRs' versatility, applicable to both visionary and improvement-oriented objectives, underlining the importance of context and balance.
  • [00:27:35] Establishing Proof with OKRs: Dreams with Deadlines. Mark explains the concept of "ground shots" and advocates for using confidence scores to set impactful key results and maintain motivation.
  • [00:34:24] Tips for Leaders on Achieving Vertical and Horizontal Alignment with OKRs. Mark shares insights into vertical and horizontal alignment, stressing the value of effective communication, active listening, and emotional intelligence.
  • [00:41:48] Fostering Alignment Through Common Purpose and Clarity. Mark underscores the importance of finding a common purpose through team exercises that connect to higher-level goals, fostering alignment and clarity.
  • [00:46:10] The Importance of Strategic Thinking. Mark encourages organizations to make room for strategic thinking, allowing teams to explore innovative solutions and envision a more significant impact.
  • [00:47:28] Quick-Fire Questions for Mark Spitzer:
    • Dream with a Deadline: Mark Spitzer's dream with a deadline is to make the biggest impact possible on leaders in organizations for the remainder of his career.
    • Common OKR Mistake: Mark believes that many people, when new to OKRs, tend to focus too much on activity accounting, feeling the need to list everything they're doing rather than aligning their efforts with meaningful objectives and key results.
    • Best Starting Point for OKR Practice: Mark suggests that beginners should start by getting clear on what they do, who they do it for, what success looks like, and identifying opportunities within their space. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of starting roadmaps to articulate opportunities and select one for an OKR.
    • Future of OKRs: Mark's dream for the future of OKRs is to see them integrated into organizations' regular routines, impactful in helping companies evolve and make customers happy. He hopes that OKRs become a lasting and meaningful practice.
    • Influential Book: One of the books that has significantly influenced Mark Spitzer's thinking is "Dare to Lead" by Brené Brown. He values the book's lessons on vulnerability, authenticity, and taking risks.

Relevant links

About our guest:

Mark Spitzer headshot
Mark Spitzer

President and Leadership Coach

Mark is a highly skilled professional coach (ICF PCC, ORSC-Trained), trainer, and consultant with over 30 years of experience working in technology, agile adoption, and management consulting – including OKRs. He partners with leaders to support their own growth and bring about positive organizational change that helps them achieve their goals.

Additional resources