The fact that controllers have taken on goal-setting tasks is largely due to the complexity of the company. A wide range of business units have to be successively coordinated. Controllers can save their managers’ time by breaking down the organization’s objectives, and repeatedly testing and fine-tuning potential goals. This means that the amount of time managers spend doing this is kept to a minimum. The downside of this, as we mentioned earlier, is that managers distance themselves from the goal-setting process.
The only way to break this cycle is for managers to get much more actively and intensively involved in setting goals. An impressive example of how to achieve this can be found in Deutsche Telekom’s Campus for Planning. The concept is revolutionary, yet simple: The company’s most senior executives assemble in Bonn for two weeks. At times, there could be up to three hundred people working on the Campus for Planning, which is signed off by the Board of Management at the end of the two weeks. There is no Plan B. Managers speak and negotiate with other managers. Controllers prepare, present, and summarize interim results, which provide input for the following day. They take responsibility for the process and its organization. Sole responsibility for the content lies with the managers.