Sunday, October 2, 2011

Goal Orientation

Goal Orientation is the second key to the C2/GOMA principle. It states that most interactions in an organization are driven by goals. Higher-level organizational goals are detailed, broken down into sub-goals, and then propagated throughout the management levels until they are executed. After the goals and sub-goals are completed, the following results are then composed together and become included in the overall achievements of the organization.

If the Continuous Management principle is concerned about a single Decision Making Entity, then the Goal Orientation principle provides a model to compose individual Decision Making Entities into a complete management system.

Depending on the organization, the goal structure may significantly vary. However, the formation will usually contain the following six levels of goals:

  • Policies, regulations, laws - goals from above and outside the organization, set by a government through legislative acts
    • Planning horizons: Multiple organizations/entire industries for 3 to 10+ years
  • Long-term goals - goals related to strategic initiatives, changes in organizational structure, and entering/exiting markets
    • Planning horizons: Entire organization or organization departments for 5 to 10+ years
  • Mid-term goals - goals having to do with changes in products and services, large investments, and hiring employees
    • Planning horizons: Organization departments for 3 to 5 years
  • Short-term goals -  goals having to do with typical projects and hiring contractors
    • Planning horizons: Departmental groups from a few weeks to 1 or 2 years
  • Real-time dispatching - goals related to day-to-day management, task assignments, and emergency management
    • Planning horizons: Daily, across multiple resources
  • Specific operations - goals having to do with the work of individual resources
    • Planning horizons: Daily, individual resource work

Historically, the creation of an organization’s goals and their orientation was tightly related to the organization’s structure and top levels of management. Structures like these, where goals are defined and flow in a strictly top-down manner, are known as “hierarchical structures.” In the modern world rigid hierarchical structures are becoming less popular due to their inefficiency and lack of agility. This has given birth to a more relaxed organizational structure where goal propagation and orientation is not tightly related to the chain of command, and where goal making is instead allowed at multiple levels. Relaxed structures like these are called “networks.”

Theoretically, it is possible to have goal propagation from lower to higher levels across different chains of command, but, practically, it may not make sense due to incompatible planning horizons.

As the second key to the C2/GOMA principle, an organization’s goal orientation must fit its structure in order to be effective. With an effective goal orientation, management automation will be much easier to carry out.


  1. This really enhanced my skills! thanks for the brilliancy post! Hierarchy Structure

  2. Are there situations where a Strict Hierachy would be more efficient than a Network? I see the benefits of the Network structure but what are some of the weaknesses?

  3. Setting up a good network with clear areas of responsibility is much more difficult than hierarchy. In many instances there may gaps and overlaps. They may create confusion, conflicts, and some people may use them to escape from work and from responsibilities by pointing fingers to somebody else.