Managing the Three C’s

A Field Guide to Getting Your Organization’s Objectives Accomplished.

Once an organization has established its prime motive by articulating its vision, mission, values, and key results areas (KRA) along with the resulting objectives, it needs to establish ownership and accountability of these. Doing so will ensure the success of the business unit.

Leaders who need to be convinced that their teams are acting on the important objectives of the business can utilize a simple technique to ensure that this occurs. Frequently, leaders find the connection between the KRA’s of the business unit and the objectives of the individuals within their sphere of influence is not congruent. Interestingly, the intersection of the responsibility to achieve objectives and the Key Results of a given business unit exist in three states: Coverage, Conflict, and Collaboration.


In this state KRA’s have no owner or individuals have no objectives. This is the point where you need to look closely at the situation. In this state there are major flaws in either the objectives developed or the accountability of the individuals. This is the sad unfortunate state of many companies I have worked with. The company has critical objectives that it needs to accomplish and no one is assigned. Or worse yet no one will take responsibility for the objective.


In this state two (or more) individuals have declared ownership of objectives causing direct conflicts or a significant overlap. Conflict can also occur in the elements of timing, outcomes, and/or methodology. In most of these cases, the conflict is due to misunderstanding of KRA’s or an organizational misalignment. Issues here can usually be cleared up by talking through the various options.


Here lies the leadership leverage. In this state, two (or more) individuals have a vested interest in achieving joint or co-dependent objectives. This situation can be one of the most rewarding in your role as a Leader. Getting a number of people to collaboratively work to a common purpose will develop stronger teams and provide an added security net to meeting your objectives.

Leadership Coordination Role

The role of you as the leader is to address each and every one of these states and develop a method to achieve of all KRA’s and related Objectives for your business unit:

  • Ensure that all of your subordinates have clear objectives aligned with the Corporate KRA’s,
  • All KRA’s have individuals whose objectives are clear and they understand that they are account able,
  • Be aggressive but realistic about what you can accomplish,
  • Individuals who have objectives within the same KRAs are not conflicted and are developing collaboration strategies to achieve them, and
  • Be clear about when you want to accomplish objectives. Goals without time boundaries are fantasy.

Set up a Coordination Meeting

Now, it’s time to get down to work. Notify your staff that you want to review the business unit’s objectives. Prepare (or have prepared) the following information:

  • Distribute a complete list of the KRA’s that the business unit is responsible for,
  • Ask all participants to prepare a series of large post-it notes with their objectives clearly written out (assign a unique colored post-it to each participant),
  • Ask each of them to prepare a short description as to why this objective will impact some part of a corporate Key Results Indicators (KRI),
  • Arrange to hold the meeting in a room with a large white board and bring various colored markers,
  • Identify that your role is to facilitate the process but that you are looking for the participants to resolve all areas of concern.
  • Bring in a person who can record the dialogue that results in a specific decision or action being taken.

The Tools

On your whiteboard create the following grid.

Key Results Area
Owner KRA 1 KRA 2 KRA 3 KRA 4
Person 1        
Person 2        
Person 3        
Person 4        

The Rules of Engagement

Have each participant review one of their objectives and place the related post-it note in their row under the related KRA.

Encourage the entire team to discuss both the content of the objective and the alignment of it to a KRA. In each case, the team needs to agree on both the purpose of the Objective and the appropriateness of it being directed to a particular KRA.

Continue this process for as long as it takes to ensure that each and every KRA has got at least one objective. When two or more objectives fall within one KRA ensure that there is a collaborative plan between participants. Establish that each individual has an appropriate number of objectives and that these relate to the KRA’s that they can influence. Formally issue the notes of this meeting and ensure that follow up actions are taken.

What You will Have Achieved

While not a miracle cure, this process can effectively assist a leader in ensuring that the objectives, that their business unit is accountable for, can be seen to achieve the expected outcomes as measured by the KRA’s and related KRI’s. Following this same technique on a regular basis, but looking at progress, can update your team about ongoing success also. Managing the Three C’s of Objectives can ensure that your Business Unit achieve its objectives and delivers its Key Results.

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