Cross-functional teams are vital components behind companies' successful scaling and growth. Some world-dominating companies like Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, and Google heavily profit from the speed, coordination, and innovation brought by cross-functional teams on the table. However, the first thing to focus on is alignment to form a more agile company structure. It becomes crucial to make cross-team tasks and goals more transparent. Therefore, startups need to focus on the right methods, like the Objectives and Key Results framework to achieve alignment successfully.

Now, let's focus on understanding what precisely cross-functional OKRs are before going into how they work and increasing company-wide alignment.

Cross-functional OKRs: Meaning 

A cross-functional team refers to a group of employees across institutional roles and teams that comes together to work on a shared task or goal. 

Now, cross-functional OKRs are frameworks that startups can explore to reinforce their requirement of creating effective communication and a clear vision outside and within the organization. By adequately implementing cross-functional OKRs, startups can work towards a future that is based on sustainable growth.

Cross-functional OKRs help teams across the organization achieve a single goal or a set of goals together. This way, the startup works on a better alignment between functions and teams. However, sometimes multiple teams can share a single OKR but take separate initiatives for achieving the final goal.

Check out  Why Should Startups Use OKRs?

Importance of Cross-functional OKRs within a Startup

There are various functionalities of cross-functional OKRs within a startup. Some of the most crucial ones are prioritizing tasks, heading towards result-driven goals, and holding teams accountable. Let's understand more in detail.

Breaks Silos 🤝🏻

The best way to increase collaboration and break through silos is through effective communication, and OKRs are the best communication tools a startup can use. According to the Queens University of Charlotte, three out of four employees consider communications the critical element driving performance.


Brings Cross-team Transparency 👀

The best way to encourage cross-team transparency is by bridging the gap between execution and strategy through shared OKRs. When goals and outcomes are common among all the employees across the organization, everyone knows the priorities of each other.

As per Sarah Davis from IBM, such transparency and visibility of OKRs also prevent the employees from depending on one-on-one conversations and weekly meetings to determine priority tasks.

Reduces Bottlenecks 

Startups with multiple departments can indefinitely save themselves from last-minute scrambles. With everyone having the same priorities, everyone from the marketing team to the sales and product team will be aligned and experience less chaos.

Boosts Collaboration 🎉

By implementing shared OKRs, everyone across the organization knows and understands what others are doing. This allows all to identify the tasks they need to work on together to achieve a particular goal.

How Cross-functional OKRs Increase Alignment

Startups experience higher levels of employee engagement when employees feel motivated and committed to work. OKR alignment provides clarity and creates transparent goals for the team when they work together towards the primary objectives of the startups.

By focusing on company objectives 🎯

While setting cross-functional OKRs, the top management gets the opportunity to come together to conceptualize the company's future vision. OKR helps determine how the vision can be turned into reality and which goals matter the most.

With that, OKRs also make room for inspirational, specific, concise, achievable, and challenging goals that will translate into specific results, thereby aligning employees to the company's goals.

By prioritizing goals 🎳

Strategic execution is crucial to prevent the startup from facing any unforeseen roadblocks. Therefore, it is important that goals are aligned as per priority for the smooth execution of business strategies.

OKR tools are known for their use of aligning goals across the company to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of what to achieve within a specific period. OKRs can cover accountability, actions, goals, business objectives, purposes, and core values.

By communicating company objectives 📢

An OKR framework helps communicate the strategic plan between the middle and senior management to ensure everyone is on the same page. When everyone in the organization understands, every individual, team, and department gets aligned and works at the same pace towards the same goal.

By facilitating weekly check-ins 🏁

Cross-functional OKRs consistently and constantly expose the employees to objectives or the organization to ensure re-alignment and reinforcements of the employees towards the same. This helps track progress and prevents the departments and teams from steering away from the actual objectives.

Wrapping Up

The startup ecosystem is demanding change and advancement now more than ever. However, many startups still fail to take advantage of cross-functional OKRs by being tied up with traditional performance evaluation methods. But with, your startup can be the bull in the flock of sheep by implementing OKRs to grow your business beyond borders in style, effectiveness, and innovation.