What Do You Mean by “Ends,” “Means” and “Executive Limitations”?

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Policy Governance® is a revolutionary approach to organizational management and, as such, uses some terms in ways unique to it.


The “ends” are the results the school board expects, including how much they expect those results to cost. The school board creates policies that define the “ends.” In this way, the board provides strategic leadership by clearly defining what is to be accomplished, for whom and with what worth, cost or priority.


The board also sets “board means.” These are the policies that describe the board’s job and how it directs the superintendent to achieve the “ends.” These also are referred to as the “governance process.”


The superintendent doesn’t have complete freedom in making decisions about how to accomplish the ends. “Executive limitations” are policies that define what methods cannot be used to get the expected results. In essence, the school board is pre-approving all means that have not been expressly prohibited. This gives the superintendent the power to make decisions that create the desired ends.