I recently watched a TED talk where the topic was “Why the secret to success is setting the right goals”. This is a hot topic for most managers and employees right now and is the forefront of a number of HR and people conversations. The biggest thing I took out of the talk was that you have to set clear and measurable Objectives and Key Results, also known as ‘OKRs’ to be successful.

Myself and two friends (along with 40 others in August 2018) decided to take on a challenge and ride a bike from Brisbane to Townsville to raise much needed funds for cancer research. Yes, peddling a bike 1600 kilometres over 9 days does sound crazy but it is for a wonderful cause. As they say, it is a long road to Townsville, but it is a longer road to fight cancer. The charity that underpins this is ‘Smiling for Smiddy,’ The three of us set a group goal to raise $25,000 towards cancer research. Now, I wish it was as easy as just jumping on a bike and peddling all that way with people throwing donations at us, however let’s be real, that wasn’t going to happen. If we really wanted to achieve this, we had to set clear and measurable OKRs for both our training and fundraising.

Raising the Funds!

As a group we sat down and came up with a plan to fund raise. We decided to host a trivia night and we only had three months to put it together. Gosh time flies and three months goes very quickly. Like the TED talk suggests, we used the same methodology and devised a task list and set clear time frames and OKRs to achieve our goal. Alongside this, all three of us are very different and all have different strengths so part of this process was setting OKRs aligned to each of our strengths so we could collaborate as a group to get the best outcome. The first month we were on track, however the second month as the task list grew we were falling behind so accountability became important. I reviewed the OKRs we had set and realigned ourselves which meant we were back on track.

Beginning the Training!

As for the training program, I must admit we were a little unclear here at the start and didn’t really have much knowledge in the way of how many kilometres we had to ride each week to ensure we were ready to hit our goal by August. After speaking with a number of experienced riders and gathering some data, it became clear what needed to happen over the three months and a plan was in place including set OKRs. The plan scared me and the thought of ever being fit enough to achieve this goal was daunting. This was the area where we had to hold ourselves the most accountable. Cold winter mornings make it even harder getting out of bed at 4.30am and there is no amount of warm clothes you can wear to keep warm and protect yourself from the wind on the bike. However, I knew if we slept in or didn’t stick to the plan, we were never going to get there.

Our trivia fundraising event was held and we had over 300 people attend! While we didn’t quite hit our target of $25,000 we aren’t too far off it. So, even though we did not achieve our goal, we are all proud of what we did achieve and contributed to a wonderful cause. The secret question here is, if we set different OKR’s, would we have hit the $25,000?

We are now exactly 1.5 weeks from starting the ride and our training is on track. Only time will tell if we make it all the way!

Mikahla Smith – Team Leader

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