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A run to OKRs - how a leading IRONMAN Organizer was transformed

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

One of our most exciting consulting projects was with Sunrise Events Vietnam (SEV) to introduce OKRs connected with a solid Project & Action Management to prepare their teams for a result-oriented and adaptive culture in Vietnam. Not only is agility, resistance and endurance part of their DNA, but they also added transparency, communication and team results to transform into a winning team.


Training & Run Preparation

SEV is the leading host for international Marathons and Iron Man events with a proven track record to bring international athletes into Vietnam and delivering successful events together with the local governments and communities. The business concept and management structure was tailored to the founders and needed some change due to the challenging lockdown situation and further expansion plans to scale up their event platform. The management was also looking for solid HR and Action / Project Management solutions together with a more agile and result-oriented culture to have a more structured and accountability driven approach in the organization.

Training & Run Preparation
Training & Run Preparation

We started with SEV leadership to define a new strategy based on the 2021 limitations in Vietnam regarding travelling and mass-event organisation and introduced OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) on management level to pilot a more result-oriented approach and culture. The client managed to focus their company on shared and cross-departmental OKRs and also used the approach to see which managers are ready to work result rather than task oriented , having the right mindset to bring the company forward. In parallel we also introduced leadership coaching and improved the cross-functional communication culture and tools to support this change.

Learn more about the basics and benefits of OKRs here: OKR + A - how to manage Objectives, Key Results & Actions

Trial run for the first 2 quarters & changes in the team

Amidst changes in management, we piloted OKRs for 2 quarters on leadership and team level and established a process to collect feedback and bottom-up input from the teams regarding the achievable results and the actions / tasks of how to get there.

After 3 - 6 months it was very obvious which teams were ready to deliver on time and generate results and which teams needed further support to get there. Furthermore, the work from home situation and the previous silo thinking of teams and departments made effective and aligned communication difficult. In order to achieve a more collaborative approach, we introduced and easy-to-use start-up OKR and action tracking tool and introduced to the teams on the functions and benefits to track actions / tasks versus results in a centralized and transparent system.

SEV Marathon HCM
SEV Marathon HCMC

Similar than in a running competition, it was important that we start to measure the progress of the teams using OKRs and to shift their mindset to company and team results rather than just ticking off the actions or tasks on a daily basis. We could see that the managers and teams started to be prepared for weekly OKR tracking meetings, sent in their result updates prior to the meetings and utilized the meetings to clarify the progress and dependencies towards other teams.

Getting serious for the first competition after Covid

After the lockdown was lifted, SEV team was very motivated to organize their first in-person events again by recording and managing the entire preparation with the OKR process and Kanban tool. An inaugural balloon festival was a great motivator and test run for the team before focusing on the first IRONMAN 70.3 with local and international runners in Vietnam after Covid.

SEV IRONMAN 70.3 in Da Nang
SEV IRONMAN 70.3 in Da Nang

Thanks to the OKR process, the leadership coaching and the readiness of the teams, the IRONMAN 70.3 went smoothly in terms of organisation, execution and post-event wrap up and provided an OKR and process blueprint for further events.

Handing over from external to internal coaches

It is important that not only the organisation is ready to run project / action management processes and measure the results, but also have internal champions to further develop the organisation and new joiners to learn and adapt this new system.

During the last quarter cycle, we trained internal OKR Champions and process owners in charge of facilitating the quarterly OKR set-up and measurement process. Additionally, we made also sure that the company developed a solid action and project management system to manage and organize the teams and to have full transparency on progress and results.

For more information how to introduce OKRs, Project & Action Management and how to achieve a result-oriented and agile culture please contact us here or on

This blog was written by Carsten Ley, Entrepreneur, Enabler & Project Lead in Employee Experience, Project & Business Transformation leading large scale project implementations in Banking, Consulting, Project & Experience Management for companies like Deloitte Germany, VW Mexico, Rolls-Royce UK and Lazada Vietnam. He founded 2018 Asia PMO, a consulting firm focussing on getting clients fast and efficient into implementation of company objectives, customer & employee experience improvements to foster a result- and team-oriented environment.

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