The harmony of a triad: objective – strategy – action

Hanno Wolfram


In music, the harmony of triads is an important element to improve the quality of a piece, improving our sense of well-being and positive emotional state when we listen to it. However, such triads are also found in management studies and in our daily lives.

Way back in the 1960s Peter Drucker, the management teacher of the century, described “management by objectives” to those who carried management responsibility and highly recommended it to them.

With that principle in mind, the eternal question today is always “what is the right objective and how should I word such an objective?” For example, something as simplistic as “Improve sales by x% until …” is probably not the best one!

Here, a valuable and harmonic triad has been established in management studies, which can be used to minimize the issues managers face in living up to such objectives and above all works across an organisation to establish coherence between all objectives.

A very good metaphor for most enterprises is the bee-swarm: As a whole a bee-swarm moves in a certain and defined direction, whereas the single bees within the swarm appear to fly in many different directions. If it were possible to influence all these singular individuals to fly in the same direction, the swarm would reach its target (objective) faster, the way to get there would be easier, the overall work more efficient and the common goal would be achieved with far less effort from each individual.

In order to allow improved efficiency (i.e. doing things right) management teachers have established a harmonising triad consisting of “Objectives -&gt, Strategy -&gt, Actions”.

OK, so many readers will remark at this point “we know that!” but do we really consider the inner connectivity or the necessary coherence throughout the organisation to achieve this and act accordingly? Does every single objective show a clear and inner coherence with the top line objective?

Graphically displayed it looks like this and in an ideal world you should be able to work it backwards from the field-force’s actions to the company’s objective.


 Triads 2

The harmony of this triad is not only driven by “SMART-objectives” but needs intelligent wording, a clearly sequential process, regular monitoring and the safeguarding of full coherence at each level with the level above.

If these steps are followed, finding and defining objectives will not only be harmonious in the best sense of the word, but will be easy and fast = efficient.

As a very nice side effect you will see all people in the organisation pulling 1. the same rope, 2. at the same end and 3. in the same direction!

About the author:

Hanno Wolfram is the Founder of Innov8 Software &amp, Training, located in Germany. For enquiries about this article he may be contacted at

Innov8 is dedicated to change for the better through implementing the coherent and consistent execution of strategy. In the last 10 years, it has delivered projects in more than 25 countries and addressed thousands of representatives and their managers on 4 continents. Through integration with a network of professionals dedicated to the extraordinary power of the Innov8 methodology, it is following the core guideline and the starting point of any change in organisational behaviour and adult education in general: “I love to learn, but I hate to be taught!”

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