In this episode, we are thrilled to engage in a conversation with Heidi Rund, CEO of Hyper Island. With an impressive background in commercial roles, Heidi joined Hyper Island in 2017. Hyper Island, a digital creative Business School, originated in Sweden and now has a global presence. Heidi, as the CEO, oversees the overall results of Hyper Island. Our focus today is on exploring Heidi’s insights into goal-setting strategies for maximum success, especially given Hyper Island’s use of the well-known OKR framework. We’ll dive into how they implement the framework, its evolution over time, and potential pitfalls.
Heidi, as the CEO of Hyper Island, Can you tell me more about yourself?
First of all, I’m a very passionate leader. The reason why I said yes to being on your podcast right away is because I love creating a workplace that enables clarity and the feeling of success. Goals, to me, are really important, and that’s something I work with a lot.
Can you share more about what Hyper Island is for those who may not know?
Hyper Island was founded here in Sweden in 1996, and we are an educational institution working within tech, design, and business. We emphasize not only hard skills but also a strong focus on soft and human skills, collaboration, and leadership.
With your diverse audience, who do you target?
Our audience is quite broad. While the average age is around 28, we see professionals or young adults who have been in the industry for some time but realize the need for relevant skills for the future. Our goal is to stay relevant for various industries.
What’s Hyper Island’s vision, and how do you break it down into tangible goals for your teams?
Our vision is a world of lifelong learners, and our mission is to empower lifelong learners in an increasingly complex and connected world. We also revisit these with our Board of Directors and management team yearly. Currently, we have four company objectives related to growth, collaboration, company culture, and educational programs.
How did you land on the OKR framework, and how do you ensure alignment across your 120 employees globally?
We tried various frameworks before, but OKR resonated well with our content process model. It enables us to set ambitious objectives, connect them with our strategy, and measure progress towards key results. We currently work with four company objectives, avoiding the complexity we faced with more objectives last year.
What about team-level goals and individual goals within the OKR process? And how often do you revisit and set OKRs?
We work on OKRs at the team level, and sometimes teams align directly with company objectives. There’s a collaborative process where teams craft their key results, and some individual goals are connected through discussions with leaders. We’re currently improving this process. Ideally, we’d like to set objectives for the next year simultaneously with budgeting, followed by quarterly and monthly discussions for wider and smaller forums, respectively.
How do you communicate and inspire all 120 employees to achieve company objectives and What improvements do you aim for in the process?
We use town halls, written communication on platforms like Slack, and discussions in forums like Hyperlink People Leaders. Open discussions cascade down to different teams, ensuring everyone is aligned. We want to simplify the process to avoid it becoming too complex and improve follow-up mechanisms. Maintaining simplicity and effective follow-up are key focuses for us.
What advice would you give to other companies looking to enhance their goal-setting processes?
Don’t be afraid of imperfection; just start somewhere and establish good rituals for implementation. Hold onto the framework, as having governance around goal-setting is crucial for long-term success.