Different Level…Different Bang for Buck


There’s an easy way to distinguish the different work at successive levels in the organisation.   Look at the bang for buck each level is expected to contribute, not just in terms of ‘what about’, but ‘by when’.   Including a timeframe allows us to set up middle and executive management that can add real value, while allowing the frontline to get on with their work.

It works like this for the first three levels in the organisation, which are all about delivering:

1a) Frontline: Deliver bang for buck today, or in a matter of weeks.

1b) Team Leaders or Supervisors: Organise the team to deliver bang for buck today or in a matter of weeks.  This is not a management role, it’s still frontline, and not all teams will need this.

2) Managers (as in those that manage the front line): Deliver this year’s bang for buck.

3) Middle Managers (manages teams of frontline teams): Deliver better bang for buck next year by lifting effectiveness and coming up with revamped ways of doing things.

When we head into the executive level, we go from delivering and improving for today’s customers to making decisions about who will be tomorrow’s customers.  Moving to new markets takes time.  It works like this:

4) Executive Managers (for example General Managers): Decide on who we want to deliver bang for buck to in the future.  Because this means starting up the new and shutting down the old, it takes more than a couple of years.

5) Chief Executives and Managing Directors: Decide and articulate what sort of bang for buck we need to be delivering in the future, and why.  By ‘why’ we mean why it’s a good idea given the economy, the laws, the market…..the things that create the ocean that the organisation swims in.  These changes can take more than five years.

(There are a couple more levels above these five, but these only appear in international and global organisations.)

What’s the use of this?  Consider whether your roles line up using these principles.  You can adjust them to make a work system that both delivers today and moves towards tomorrow.

And it does this without fuss and confusion because each part is simply someone’s job.


These ideas come from the research of Elliott Jaques who originated these concepts, then make sure you look up Gillian Stamp whose body of work shines a bright light onto the world of work.


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