When we're helping organizations take on OKRs for the first time, we stress three things: One, the process needs to be transparent. Two, there has to be buy-in from leadership. And three, everyone's got to commit to the calendar. What do we mean by "commit to the calendar?" I mean that OKRs have a rhythm. They come and go in regular cycles, and if you don't find your organization's OKR rhythm, it's harder to make them work. Here are the beats of an OKR cycle: Crafting: This is when creating OKRs for the next cycle begins. Sharing: This is when leadership shares its top-level OKRs, kicking off the cascade and ladder. Locking: This is when OKRs are finalized for the cycle after the cascade and ladder have happened. Tracking: This ongoing phase tracks the progress against OKRs and regular team meetings and check-ins. Grading and reflecting: This is when you score OKRs for the cycle and share what you learned. We'll cover the steps a little later. You use grading and reflecting to kickoff the first beat of the next cycle, crafting. So it goes crafting, sharing, locking, tracking, then grading and reflecting. That's a whole OKR cycle. Sometimes we hear that setting and grading and cascading and laddering every 90 days sounds like a lot of work. There are two important reasons why changing OKRs a couple of times a year is a good idea. First, OKRs are about learning and adapting along the way. You want to write OKRs as you go -- at the beginning of each new cycle, not all ahead of time. It's really tempting once you've set a year-long goal to break it up into quarters, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4. But you don't want to do that because you'll learn so much during the cycle when you set OKRs a cycle at a time. Second, grading, and setting, and locking your OKRs should not be a big, heavy time-consuming process. The biggest benefit of using OKRs is how quickly you can clarify and align your whole organization. Even Google, with its 100,000 employees -- the entire process, grading, the cascade, the laddering and locking, takes a total of three weeks. Here's a rough guideline for how that works: The grading reflecting should take about a week, and they start from bottom-up. Crafting new top-level OKRs, that should take a matter of days. Once they've been shared with the organization, the cascade and ladder take another week. Then there's a week to lock and work out any alignment issues that have popped up. If you're a small organization, you may not need the whole three weeks to transition from one cycle to the next. But no matter how big your organization is, three weeks should be the most time that this transition takes to grade and reflect, craft, cascade, and ladder your OKRs before you lock them in. There's a decision to make before setting the calendar for an OKR cycle. You've got to determine when the transition period officially kicks off. Those three weeks, you can slide them to fit your preference. For example, let's say we're kicking off the Q2 cycle. You could start this process on April 1st, spending the next two to three weeks grading, crafting, sharing, and locking. Or if you want to share your OKRs on April 1st, you've got to start grading earlier in mid-March. Some organizations, they'll pick something right in the middle. The exact timing is up to you, as long as everyone's clear on the calendar, each option can work well. I've found over the years one of the easiest things to do to make OKRs work is to get them on people's calendars. Yeah, the one that's in Microsoft Outlook or even Google Calendar. People's calendars tend to be the ways our days and weeks are organized. They're already a drumbeat for your whole organization. So make appointments for your OKRs too. On day one, schedule the dates when you'll set each beat of your OKR cycle. Send out those calendar invite and set up reminders so that the OKRs cycle is unavoidable, and even include links to the OKRs in the invite so that they're always a click away. Putting the important dates of the OKR cycle on the calendar helps keep the process top-of-mind.