Operations & Human Resources

Get the change rolling

If not everyone in a company is moving in the same direction, change will be much slower and more difficult. That’s why the Italian branch of Phoenix Contact chose OKRs in order to achieve its goal of building an All-Electric Society.

  • Client
    Phoenix Contact
  • Industry
  • Year
An engine as the Phoenix Contact case study header image An engine as the Phoenix Contact case study header image

How can climate change affect business transformation?

Change scares everyone precisely because it requires more effort to imagine something that hasn’t happened yet. In the past, people were frightened of industrial transformation, fearing that machines would replace humans. Today, machines are a plus from a business point of view, as the automation industry well knows.

Phoenix Contact, a leading German enterprise in the field, is a clear example of how change and innovation never stop. Their latest challenge was indeed an all-electric society strategy, grasping the opportunity that climate change offers us to generate a corporate microcosm that revolves around a green, cross-sector energy system.


How is it possible to create alignment from top management to individual employees?

As the Italian branch of Phoenix Contact was undergoing a major growth phase, they decided to kick it up a notch by applying a new organizational model: moving from MBO (Management by Objectives) to OKR (Objectives and Key Results). This change was just one aspect of a more comprehensive strategy born out of the pandemic.

Moving to an OKR-based operational model meant creating alignment and engagement company-wide. The substantial difference between than and an MBO model, however, was the ultimate goal of the process.

Actions taken aim not at specific rewards, but at continuous improvement. Together, we began a training cycle to get teams and managers used to thinking according to the new model, with the support of my long-lasting partner InsideOut.

The first part of the training consisted of five points: a methodology overview, an explanation of the role of “owners,” a detailed presentation, operational exercises, and a Q&A session.

MBO vs OKR —  a comparison of operational models

How to implement OKRs in a meaningful and effective way?

Working using OKRs helps teams realign priorities and work on large projects by focusing on tasks. Owners are people with decision-making authority in the company. They are responsible for managing the OKR process and involving their team in using the methodology on a daily basis. They support teams in using the chosen platform, ensure involvement, and monitor the progress of activities.

After carrying out a complex software selection process, our choice for software fallen on GTMHub, an OKRs management platform. We managed resources, goals, and key results, carrying out a widespread cascade breakdown. This step was followed by operational exercises to get employees used to the platform and to reframe their work according to OKRs methodology.

Finally, I conducted a Q&A session and prepared a survey to assess the impact of our work together. The questionnaire showed high satisfaction rate, underlying a deep understanding and low resistance to this new way of working.

Another major benefit was the increased transparency of the company as perceived by employees. Phoenix Contact Italy was one of the first cases of end-to-end OKR implementation in an industrial automation company.

Examples of GTMHUB dashboards

& key activities
  • 5months to successfully
    implement the transition
    1OKR software platform selected
  • 20metrics measured by questionnaire
    after a q&a session
    5training sessions to help employees
    adopt OKRs methodology

“The project related to the implementation and adoption of the OKR methodology has been of strategic importance in Phoenix Contact. The path taken with Andrea’s support allowed us to provide more structure and pervasiveness in spreading the methodology, as well as accelerating the adoption of GTMHUB.”

Gabriele Donato
Digital Transformation Manager, Phoenix Contact

150 days

of detailed work, deployment, and training to successfully implement the transition