If Strategic Objectives are cross-functional, what sort of ownership structure should we use when assigning them to an Executive? They can't be "Owners" since the Executive does not "own" all the associated processes and initiatives.

asked Jul 08 '10 at 03:09

Brett%20Knowles's gravatar image

Brett Knowles

“Ownership” of BSC strategic objectives refers more to leading the discussion at strategy review meetings than to span of control. When Peter Drucker first wrote about MBO a few decades ago, a prime concern was to be held accountable for only those objectives that one directly controlled. Is that possible today—if it were ever? Indeed, Drucker predicted twenty years ago an environment today in which large business would be more knowledge-based, with half the old levels of management and much broader spans of control. Few strategic issues are under the purview of a single manager; most issues cross functions. Hence, it has become appropriate to have one member of a leadership team “own” a particular objective. She, at the strategy review meeting, accounts for progress towards meeting the target for the objective’s measure, identifies causes, develops alternatives, and proposes solutions for consideration at the meeting. She may have met with several experts not of her direct reporting line to prepare for her accounting. This practice has led to cross-functional cooperation and seems to make silos more transparent. Another practice, less common though noteworthy, is for organizations to have two “owners” for an objective—one line and one functional manager.

answered Jul 09 '10 at 17:51

Ryan's gravatar image


GREAT reply. The concepts are perfect - I wonder if we need to find a new word for "ownership" of a strategic objective within a scorecard that does not have a existing but different meaning already in the organization? Something like 'Steward' or 'advocate'.

(Jul 12 '10 at 12:23) Brett Knowles

Agreed. There's often a "sponsor" at the executive level and a "owner" (of at least part of the solution) elsewhere in the organization.

(Aug 18 '10 at 19:08) Dylan ♦♦

One thing that I've seen is to have a "Theme" owner and then owners for each objective. That may help you accomplish your goals of having cross functional ownership. Many companies struggle to adapt to theme ownership, but it does help you see multiple objectives in a single review and many people on the leadership team will get involved that way.

answered Apr 27 '11 at 11:37

Ted%20Jackson's gravatar image

Ted Jackson

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Asked: Jul 08 '10 at 03:09

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Last updated: Apr 27 '11 at 11:37

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