HBR Articles

Keep up with the latest advice and insights from CIOs and IT leaders.

Use OKRs to set goals for teams, not individuals

Objectives and key results (OKRs) have become a popular method teams use to plan for success and measure it. This framework has been so successful, Jeff Gothelf says, because it focuses on the impact of the work rather than the actual work itself. But when organizations apply OKRs to individuals, as some do, it presents two problems: Employees tend to create goals that are easy to measure but don’t actually determine whether they’ve grown or improved in a meaningful way, and they tend to choose targets they know they can hit, rather than taking a risk on something more ambitious.

Jeff Gothelf

Successful remote teams communicate in bursts

A common challenge among remote teams during the pandemic has been communication – which tools to use, how often to gather as a group, the best times of day for meetings, and more. Christoph Riedl and Anita Williams Woolley say the key to productive communication starts with the concept of “burstiness” – periods of rapid-fire communications with longer periods of silence in between. Bursts, they say, help team members to focus energy, develop ideas, and answer questions, thereby enabling them to move on to the next challenge.

Christoph Riedl and Anita Williams Woolley

Digitizing isn’t the same as digital transformation

What’s the difference between digitizing and digital transformation? For the past year, organizations have focused on digitizing – spearheading digital initiatives to help them stay in the game during COVID-19. Now, write Paul Leinwand and Mahadeva Matt Mani, businesses need to shift gears and focus on digital transformation – building a long-term competitive advantage to succeed in the future. “We are hearing many executives express concern that they are actually falling behind on making the important choices that lead to differentiation,” they write.

Paul Leinwand and Mahadeva Matt Mani

Making the hybrid workplace fair

As hybrid work takes shape in organizations everywhere, a power differential lurks. Employees working in the office, for example, may have access to certain technology and infrastructure that remote employees don’t. In-office workers might also have faster, easier, and more current access to information – from conversations at the water cooler, for example – than remote employees do. In today’s rapidly changing environment, this provides in-office workers with an edge, say Mark Mortensen and Martine Haas.

Mark Mortensen and Martine Haas

Productivity is about your systems, not your people

Many people swear by their personal productivity hacks, whether that’s the elusive “inbox zero,” time boxing their calendars, or even their good old pen and paper to-do list. However, these and other individual techniques and preferences fall short when working in a complex organization with interdependencies among people and teams. To make a true impact on the productivity of an entire organization, improvements must be made on a systems level, writes Daniel Markovitz in this article.

Daniel Markovitz

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