The Boat Race is an annual event where teams from Oxford and Cambridge compete in a rowing race. This prestigious event between rowers from their respective Universities has played out every year since 1856.
Each men’s and women’s team consists of 8 rowers and a cox. While the rowers synchronize their power and strokes to propel the boat down the river, the cox is responsible for keeping everyone rowing in a rhythm, steering the boat down the course, and providing motivation to keep the team going. While the crew all work together, the cox is responsible for keeping everyone aligned, and for ensuring they reach the finish line.
An Ambassador is much like a cox in the boat race — responsible for keeping everyone in sync and ensuring that your OKR Program stays on track.
A question we often get asked is: what does an Ambassador do? And do we really need one? In this article, we’ll explain in detail what an Ambassador’s role entails and to the latter, our answer is: yes, you definitely need an Ambassador! Let’s see why.
What is an Ambassador?
OKR is a framework for setting and managing ambitious goals, as well as a process that helps an organization and its people manage their work. For a tool like OKR to operate successfully, it needs to be well understood by everyone and seamlessly implemented into their routine. Ensuring that OKR becomes a part of the organization’s DNA and a way of life really, requires precision, time, and effort.
We always recommend, regardless of whether you’re new to Objectives and Key Results, or are seasoned users, that you nominate someone in your organization to spearhead your OKR program and become your internal OKR expert. We call this person the Ambassador.
The role of an Ambassador can be split into 2 main responsibilities:
- Education & Implementation
Education & Implementation
The Ambassador plays a key role in training everyone, as well as implementing and setting up the OKR program — they become the internal OKR expert. Training is especially relevant when you’re first rolling out OKR or as your company grows and hires more people. Although the OKR framework is simple and straightforward, there are a set of best practices that everyone should be familiar with to ensure its success. The Ambassador, therefore, provides resources, training, and support required for everyone to be on the same page.
People will also need to understand how it relates to their role, and what their responsibilities are within the scope of the program. Such responsibilities will differ depending on whether they’re a part of the executive team, are a group or department lead, or are team members.
When it comes to implementing OKR across an entire organization, the Ambassador with the support of leadership, plan and document the OKR process. This includes defining a rhythm with which OKRs will be set, reviewed, and closed, as well as the frequency with which progress will need to be updated. Once this has been defined, the Ambassador will document and communicate the designed program so everyone knows what’s expected of them and when.
Just getting started with designing your very own OKR program? Download our Goals Program to help you through the process.
If you’re managing your goals (OKRs & KPIs) within a dedicated software like Perdoo, the Ambassador takes on the role of an administrator. They’re responsible for ensuring that the tool is set up correctly and that all new users are added.
An Ambassador is also responsible for the ongoing maintenance and management of your OKR program. Their job is to coordinate key events in the OKR cycle like OKR creation and OKR closing, ensuring all those involved dedicate adequate time and resources, contributing to a successful OKR program.
In Perdoo, the Ambassador has access to the Engagement Report, which provides all the tools to know which areas of the OKR program are at risk and what needs to be done to boost participation. From seeing which Groups or individuals are less engaged with the program, to noticing whether goals have been created on time, this report helps maintain a healthy OKR program and, ultimately, increases the chances of achieving your goals.
To ensure you’re optimally using and maximizing the value of the tool, Ambassadors will archive any employees no longer working at the organization and coordinate training on new features and functionality.
Afraid this is a lot of work? No need to worry! A partner like Perdoo will support you and your nominated Ambassador until OKR is embedded within your company and you no longer need support.
What makes a good Ambassador?
An Ambassador has a varied and interesting role. When starting out they require time and energy to set up and make a company-wide OKR program successful. The role becomes less demanding as everyone becomes familiar with the OKR program and the framework.
So who makes for a great Ambassador? Having worked with thousands of companies, we’ve learned that there are commonalities between Ambassadors, anyone with strong organizational and people skills, and those with experience managing company-wide programs.
Here are some of the skills we’ve found make a good Ambassador:
- Confident communicator
- Strong organizational, project, and time management skills
- Experience training teams
- Experience in either Operations or Strategy
- Leadership experience
Why do you need an Ambassador?
Implementing OKR means introducing a shift in how everyone in an organization approaches work and thus nominating an Ambassador to drive that change is essential. They play a key role in designing and maintaining a healthy OKR program, providing the required guidance and support when it’s needed.
It’s important to note that OKR isn’t a set and forget type of framework. It takes commitment and time to get right. So don’t underestimate the fact that you’ll need a dedicated person to ensure your OKR program runs like a well-oiled machine, at all times.
Are you a Perdoo user?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can add your Ambassador in Perdoo.