Beyond KPIs and OKRs: Creating an environment for high-performing, innovative teams that leads to true effectiveness

Leverage your team’s agile performance potential by using BOSSA nova, a synthesis of Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, Socioracy, and Agile. Too often innovative people in medium to large organizations have the feeling of being in a box - with startling new ideas - and no one really listens. In essence, these innovators are trying to “measure performance upwards.” “Governance from below” intrinsically measures strategies and customer impact, and applying the concept can significantly improve the overall performance. Moreover, with only “governance from above,” it is easier to measure the output of production than the truly important outcome: what is really making a difference for our customers and therefore for our company. The BOSSA nova approach encourages us to rethink the whole topic of measurement, including an examination of KPIs or OKRs.

Acting together, the components of BOSSA nova create a mindset that empowers everyone to follow their passion and interest and nourish the company’s effectiveness. . Knowing how to apply BOSSA nova principles for making decisions jointly with full buy-in can enable you to “lead upwards” without jeopardizing the strengths of “leading downwards.” Moreover, you can achieve higher performance for the company through trust than control. Probing and demonstrating new ideas on a small scale such that the proof cascades beyond the demonstration will enable you to get started on your journey to spreading the agile mind-set company-wide.

This workshop asks participants to start where they are, explains what it means to probe, and helps them develop strategies and experiments they can use in their own situation to create an environment for high performance.

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Outline/Structure of the Workshop

  1. Welcome and working agreements (20min)
  2. Set the stage - individual and common goals (30min)
  3. Defining the context (30min)
  4. Finding out what (in the participants context) has supported or hindered in creating an environment for high-performing, innovative teams (and how to measure its effectiveness) and what was difficult along the way using 1, 2, 4, all (60min)
    1. Individually: reflect on what has supported or hindered…. (5min)
    2. In pairs: share your findings, look for insights and common themes (15min)
    3. In fours: share the insights and common themes and come up with key challenges (20min)
    4. Share in plenary (20min)
  5. Sharing and understanding participants' challenges and decide in groups on the top ones (30min)
  6. Explanation of new possibilities by presenting key findings (e.g. from BOSSA nova as a whole and its ingredients - Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, Sociocracy & Agility) (60min)
    1. Presentation of values, principles, approaches, cases, and experiences about BOSSA nova
    2. Including Q&A where appropriate
  7. Understand in detail what these findings mean and how they can address the top challenges. (90min)
    1. In the former groups of 4, look at your key challenges and for each of them explore how the BOSSA nova values, principles, approaches, .. will address those
      1. Look at the challenge (10min)
        1. What’s the problem of the key challenge exactly?
        2. Who hinders the resolution?
      2. Look at the possible outcome (15min)
        1. What’s the benefit of solving it?
        2. Is it worth solving?
      3. Look at the solution (20min)
        1. What can be used from BOSSA nova to solve it?
        2. How?
    2. Allow groups to visit each other and mentor each other (20min)
    3. The groups now incorporate the feedback from their peers (10min)
    4. De-brief in plenary (15min)
      1. What’s surprising, as expected, other comment..
  8. Share the new understanding (30min)
  9. Applicability in own environment (70min)
    1. Present the concept of probes (probes are defined by small, safe-to-fail experiments based on hypotheses derived from reflection on the current situation as well as on theory) in the context of organizational change. (10 min)
    2. Present examples from the participants’ environments demonstrate how two examples of probes that the participants could conduct themselves in their environments. (10 min)
    3. Have the participants work in pairs to develop probes that they could initiate in their own organizational context. Encourage them to go into such details as what is their hypothesis, how they will be sure the experiments are safe to try, how they will set up control groups or other standards for measurement, who they will publish their results to, and so forth. (30 min)
    4. Pairs share results with the class and discuss. (20 min)
  10. Discussion of possible next steps (30min)
  11. Debrief and Wrap-Up (30min)

Learning Outcome

  • Using BOSSA nova for enabling people to use their full capacity with passion
  • How trust unleashes a greater performance than control systems that use top-down measurement
  • How you can get the full buy-in for necessary changes and thus faster delivery of the change
  • Get top management buy-in by proving rather than asking!

Target Audience

Program Managers, Executives, Portfolio Managers, Project Leads, Coaches, Consultants

Prerequisites for Attendees

Familiar with agile concepts. Project and management experience at best with leading and going through change.

schedule Submitted 2 weeks ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Oana Juncu
    By Oana Juncu  ~  5 days ago
    reply Reply

    Hey Jutta and John,

    Thank you submitting this great topic and addressing one of the myths of all business activities : KPIs !

    My question is on the content on different activities that last 60-90 min.

    Can you deal a little bit what will happen during a given exercice ?

    e.g. : "7. Understanding in details what this finding means... What is the group dynamic you intend to put in place?

    Same question for "4. Finding out..." , "9. Applicability...".

    Kind regards,


    • Jutta Eckstein
      By Jutta Eckstein  ~  5 days ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks for your feedback, Oana!

      We've provided more details to the activities.

      We hope that helps.

      Thanks again,

      Jutta + John

      • Oana Juncu
        By Oana Juncu  ~  12 hours ago
        reply Reply

        Thank you Jutta and John,

        that’s very helpful. 

        Two last questions

        : when and how will you address/explore the “beyond KPIs ans OKRs” dimension that your workshop proposes? Will participants learn why and how hey can safely drop  a measurement driven environment  to embrace something like  ... e.g. a “probes driven” culture.?

        Many, many thanks,