Managing for Results


Managing for Results

In our last post we suggested the primary purpose of an organization is to achieve results.

Today’s post we will briefly explore management systems which focus on how this can be accomplished.

Over the past twenty years, organizational management concepts, particularly in the Public Sector, have moved from an output based focus to an outcome based focus. This approach focuses on effectiveness, not just efficiency. Managing with an eye for results has been a key policy approach within the United Nations as well as numerous regional and federal governments. The Government of Canada has been a world leader in implementing their Policy on Results. Two quotes on a definition of Results Based Management (RBM) help us understand this approach:

A management strategy by which an organization ensures that its processes, outputs and services contribute to the achievement of clearly stated expected accomplishments and objectives. It is focused on achieving results and improving performance, integrating lessons learned into management decisions and monitoring of and reporting on performance (UN-MECD)


A comprehensive, lifecycle approach to management that integrates strategy, people, resources, processes and measurements to improve decision making and drive change. The approach focuses on getting the right design early in a process, focussing on the outcomes, implementing performance measurement, learning and changing, and reporting performance. (Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Canada)

The key elements of RBM include:

  • Articulating outcomes and designing a strategy and process that contribute to those outcomes, that takes into account the available resources, and appropriate delivery strategy.
  • The needs of the recipients, clients and customers are an important consideration.
  • Most importantly of all, there needs to be a clear performance measurement strategy that provides regular feedback on the progress of the organization.

One of the formal tools of RBM is the logic model. The logic model looks at a key program or business process and creates a cause and effect relationship that describes how the organization will create the desired impact.

A logic model consists of the following elements: Resources -> Activities -> Outputs -> Immediate Outcomes -> Intermediate Outcomes -> Ultimate Outcomes

In a properly constructed logic model, resources (people, money, data etc.) are transformed through activities to produce outputs that contribute to outcomes.

The three following outcomes are not time based but rather influence based.
1. Immediate outcomes are the most direct impacts,
2. Intermediate involve other stakeholders or behaviours and
3. Ultimate impacts are the intended or expected results from the work done.

Logic models are an effective tool in analyzing any program or business process and can provide a useful description of how an organization achieves results. The logic model is the basis of a performance measurement framework that is designed to give executives and managers feedback on how well they are meeting their results objectives, both strategic and operational.


Here are some questions to help you focus your approach:

1. Do we understand the cause and effect relationships of our resources, activities and outputs and how they contribute to desired impacts or results?
2. If so, when was it last updated? If not, can we put a logic model together?
3. Do we have an integrated approach to strategy and operations that reflects the cause and effect relationships and desired outcomes?
4. Do we have an integrated performance measurement strategy that reports in an effective and timely manner to executives and managers on how well they are progressing to planned outcomes? Are we reporting on measures that are no longer relevant?

In the next blog post we will bring together strategy and results into a comprehensive integrated management approach.

Author: Francis Loughheed

Other posts in this series Include:

The Focus of Strategic Management

Concepts of Strategic Management 

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