Clearly connecting the level of responsibility with objectives.

Nov 07, 2016


by Tom & Kai Gilb
(who we are)


Principle: Your Objectives Support The Level Above.

Your level of objectives must clearly support the level above you, your ‘boss’.

Ralph Keeney proposed an excellent practical idea to sort out your responsibility, from your bosses responsibility, and your support team’s responsibilities.

Your objectives (called ‘strategic’) must clearly support the achievement of the next level of objectives above you (your ‘bosses’ objectives,  called ‘fundamental’).
Any objectives that presume to support your strategic objectives, i. e. the objectives of your subordinates, or support teams, are called ‘means’ objectives. The means to reach your strategic objectives.

This scheme for organizing objectives helps in many ways:

We know what we must prioritize, and what we can change.

Priority 1: Fundamental Objectives
you might tactfully hint at the need to change these

Priority 2: Your Strategic Objectives
you are in full control of change here

Priority 3: Means Objectives, serving your Strategic Objectives.
others can change these
you can influence them if you need to

We do not undertake responsibilities which we do not ‘own’.
Our colleagues have a clearer idea of what our role and responsibility is.

The beauty of Keeney’s concept, is that it is flexible enough to fit any size and complexity of organization.


“To be sure, the fundamental task of management remains the same: to make people capable of joint performance through common goals, common values, the right structure, and the training and development they need to perform and to respond to change.” 

― Peter F. Drucker, (1909-2005)  The Essential Drucker


Practical Tip 1.3  Map Objective Relationships

Draw a graphical map, a sort of mind map,  from a single critical objective, to all related stakeholders, and other related planning elements such as objectives it supports, and its means objectives or strategies.

Policy1.3: Responsibility Clarification

Written specification, immediately tied to objectives, 
shall clarify the level of responsibility 
(for formulation, changes and result delivery), 
and will clarify which objective (s) it supports
(explicitly defined).

From "Value Planning Book Manuscript" by Tom Gilb


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