The Pulse of Progress: Building an Effective OKR Rhythm using CFRs

In May, our JCURV Director and OKR Expert, Peter Kerr, was invited to speak at the OKRX Summit 2024. Peter’s talk on conversations, feedback, and recognition (CFRs) generated much discussion with the community. If you missed the Summit, read Peter’s key messages and reflections here.

CFRs. The Unsung Heroes of the OKR Framework

One of the central themes of Peter’s presentation was the crucial role that conversations, feedback, and recognition (CFRs) play in the success of OKRs. These elements are often overlooked, yet they are fundamental to creating a dynamic and responsive organisational culture.

1. Conversations: Continuous Learning and Adjusting

Regular check-ins and strategic discussions are not mere status updates. They are essential for ensuring alignment, fostering problem-solving, and recalibrating efforts as needed. These conversations help keep everyone committed to the overarching objectives, enhancing organisational coherence and the collective pursuit of goals.

2. Feedback: Bidirectional and Transparent

Feedback should flow in both directions, empowering employees to speak up and ensuring management is responsive. This continuous feedback loop enhances strategies and operations in real time. A culture of transparency, where expectations are clear and contributions are recognised, is vital for adjusting strategies and keeping everyone on the same page.

3. Recognition: Motivation and Engagement

Acknowledging and celebrating achievements is key to driving motivation and reinforcing positive behaviours. Public recognition of successes not only boosts morale but also serves as a learning tool for other teams, showcasing best practices and encouraging similar achievements.

Navigating the Performance Paradox

One of the challenges discussed was the “performance paradox,” where a focus on short-term metrics can hinder long-term growth. Leaders often set “safe” key results to avoid failure, which stifles innovation and ambitious goals.

To overcome this, we need to:

  • Embrace Stretch Goals: Set ambitious goals that push boundaries and encourage stepping outside comfort zones.
  • Celebrate Experimentation: View missed targets not as failures but as valuable learning opportunities.
  • Focus on Progress, Not Perfection: Highlight the value of consistent effort and incremental progress towards ambitious goals.
  • Create a Psychologically Safe Space: Foster open communication and psychological safety, allowing teams to discuss challenges and learn from each other.

Establishing a Balanced Rhythm

Balancing the performance and learning zones is crucial. Leaders should set OKRs that optimise well-understood areas (performance zone) and explore new, innovative processes (learning zone). This balance ensures that routine tasks do not dilute the transformative potential of OKRs.

Embedding an OKR Habit

  • Make them Obvious: Visualise OKRs throughout the workplace.
  • Make them Attractive: Connect OKRs to company values and emphasise learning opportunities.
  • Make them Easy: Simplify the OKR process with clear tools and minimal jargon.
  • Make them Recognised: Acknowledge achievements to build a culture of appreciation and motivation.


The discussions at OKRX Summit 2024 highlighted the importance of integrating CFRs into the OKR framework to create a more engaged, motivated, and high-performing organisation. By focusing on meaningful conversations, continuous feedback, and recognition, we can foster an environment where ambitious goals are not just set but achieved, driving long-term success and innovation.

We are already looking forward to next year’s event.

Want to know what OKRs can do for your organisation? Want to make your strategy more agile?