How OKRs (Objective and Key Results) have helped in driving alignment in a not-for-profit organisation.

In our latest podcast episode of The Backlog we speak with Jo McConnell.  Jo is the CEO of GOMO Foundation, providing education to girls in Africa.

What’s that got to do with AGILE you ask?

Well ADAPTOVATE recently had the priveledge to assist GOMO (through our Pledge 1% commitment) to establish and focus in on OKR’s (Objective and Key Results) for their upcoming year. Defining OKRS is a part of Agile methodology.

Jo McConnell came out of a 25 year corporate career in People and Culture working with the likes of BHP and Latitude Financial.   Her career shift saw her set up The People Collective consulting business and become the CEO of GOMO Foundation which focuses on accelerating girls education in Africa.


Gomo Foundation

Jo explains “GOMO is four years old, set up to meet the potential of girls through education in Africa.   We are at the transition of startup to scaleup.  We now need to achieve scale and a broader sustainable revenue base and offering going forward.

So we are now working on a refresh of the strategy which outlines a clear ambition both of impact to the girls and impact to the communities it would make  in Africa.”

However the impact of COVID-19 is significant. Jo says “we are facing into that reality now. We  need to be more disciplined and sharper with our efforts.”

Pledge1%
Pledge1% is a global movement to create a new normal which giving back is part of the DNA of organisations.   ADAPTOVATE (as part of our commitment to pledging 1% of our resources) supported GOMO in creating their OKR to help guide the organisation into their next phase.

Whether it’s large organisations or not-for-profit, every organisation has it’s high level ambition and strategy.  Jo says “Where the rubber really hits the road is transitioning that strategy into real actions to achieve the strategy.

We know that education of girls in Africa, will make sustained change in communities in Africa.  However, we need to fully understand the actual steps we need to take to achieve that goal.” She explains.

So ADAPTOVATE helped the high-level strategy into a detailed roadmap with dedicated sprints using Agile methodology.

Jo says “We are a fully volunteer team, so when you are engaging people who are passionate and aligned, you need to be even more organised and planned.  Which is where the  OKR session really helped focus.”


What are the benefits of having clear OKRs for GOMO Foundation?

Jo explained that the team was able to really sharpen the strategy down to 3 key OKR groups.  1. Enabling the girls – education, communication.  2. Revenue Growth – everything is linkedto how much we can bring through the door.  3. Strong Foundations and operation process

Jo says “It helped us simplify the work and actually remove less important actions that aren’t aligned with our core 3 pillars.  It forces the discipline around what would you see – what would the measure of success look like?”

Jo says that a lot of organisations provide financial support – however there are many organisations that can support with cabilities and expertise instead.  That’s what is sometimes needed.


COVID-19 & ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe is a country challenged by many things,  infrastructure, stable government, corruption.  So as far as giving perspective, it does give perspective as to how fortunate we are to live in Australia in these times.

The situation on the ground in Zimbabwe and the girls GOMO sponsor is difficult now due to COVID.

The country has been in nominal shutdown for a month or so.  The girls have been out of school back with families.

Jo explains “It’s a rural and remote part of Zimbabwe we work with , there’s certainly no online learning or books to be able to take home with them.  So their education is paused.  The real challenge will for us will be to bring them back to school, from their families and villages.”

We are only yet seeing the impact of the virus in Zimbabwe and broader Africa.    The impact of our donor base here in Australia – people losing their jobs, the income levels dropping –  is also making it harder for people to donate.


OKRs IN TIME OF CRISIS – USED TO FOCUS.

“Which is why we have developed the OKR’s” Jo says, “we need to really focus”.

She continues “The OKRs provide the clarity on what we are doing, which is even more important in virtual and remote working.

While most organisations by now are fine with remote working,  not many organisations have the experience around some of the productivity habits and methodology like OKRS, but also the platforms you need to use to enable that

While most organisations by now are fine with remote working, not many organisations have the experience around some of the productivity habits and methodology like OKRS, but also the platforms you need to use to enable that Click To Tweet.

Jo says “My opinion is the next wave of focus for organisations is ‘we can all use zoom now, we know how to work remotely etc’, but how do we drive productivity through platforms, methodologies, and importantly through leadership and culture?


Do you need assistance moving to this next wave of focus for organisations?

ADAPTOVATE was very fortunate to provide this level of experience to GOMO, all done virtually over video.   Please reach out to us if you’d like ADAPTOVATE to do the same for your team, department or ogranisation.


You can listen to the whole interview on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Sign up to the ADAPTOVATE monthly newsletter featuring insights and original content on all things Agile. We promise we wont spam you!