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August 23, 2014 — Leave a comment

“Even if it were possible to cast my horoscope in this one life, and to make an accurate prediction about my future, it would not be possible to ‘show’ it to me because as soon as I saw it my future would change by definition. This is why Werner Heisenberg’s adaptation of the Hays Office—the so-called principle of uncertainty whereby the act of measuring something has the effect of altering the measurement—is of such importance. In my case the difference is often made by publicity. For example, and to boast of one of my few virtues, I used to derive pleasure from giving my time to bright young people who showed promise as writers and who asked for my help. Then some profile of me quoted someone who disclosed that I liked to do this. Then it became something widely said of me, whereupon it became almost impossible for me to go on doing it, because I started to receive far more requests than I could respond to, let alone satisfy. Perception modifies reality: when I abandoned the smoking habit of more than three decades I was given a supposedly helpful pill called Wellbutrin. But as soon as I discovered that this was the brand name for an antidepressant, I tossed the bottle away. There may be successful methods for overcoming the blues but for me they cannot include a capsule that says: ‘Fool yourself into happiness, while pretending not to do so.’ I should actually want my mind to be strong enough to circumvent such a trick.”

― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

From a Heideggerian perspective, the phrase, “the faculty of observing” has significant implications for meditative thinking/deconstruction. If as Cicero says, “Eloquence is wisdom spoken wisely,” then observation facilitates the rhetor to speak wisely so as to be able to persuade and stir up a disposition amidst the audience. Heidegger (1953/1996) alludes to this in his phenomenal work, Being and Time, when he writes, “Publicness as the kind of being of the they not only has its attunedness, it uses mood and ‘makes’ it for itself. The speaker speaks to it and from it. He needs the understanding of the possibility of mood in order to arouse and direct it in the right way” (138-139). Hence, to be persuasive a rhetor needs first of all to observe. It could then be said that “observation” is the condition upon which choosing the appropriate means of persuasion rests. But we may ask, “Is this not common sense?” It reminds us of the English proverb, “Look before you leap.” Yet what is to be borne in mind is that because the rational-scientific framework has permeated common sense so much, it cannot be taken for granted that observing or looking is merely a commonsensical activity. The technological and commercial Enframing of this epoch has such a powerful grip over every aspect of human life that common sense has lost its place as conventional wisdom. Besides, in trying to make human life comfortable and highly efficient, technology has succeeded in creating a desensitized human world. Looking or observing loses its passion in such a world that prioritizes distant, dispassionate and objective observation.

Hence, from a rationalistic and technological perspective, observation or looking is detached seeing. The goal of detached seeing is to arrive at certain knowledge and truth. The observer through detached seeing abstracts the essential qualities of a thing in the effort to understand and interpret it. This leads to clear and valid knowledge. But from an existential-phenomenological perspective, such an approach is impoverished. First of all, such a disengaged (detached seeing) activity robs a thing of its concreteness and its embodiment. Second, this process of abstraction/detached seeing (however convincing and certain it is) is oblivious to the context which makes the thing what it is. These two aspects make observation as detached seeing, in the rational-scientific system, a barren and passionless activity.

But observation in a radical sense is respect for the phenomena. In his essay, “The Thing,” Heidegger (1971b) points to this radical sense of observation which can be characterized as the “essence” of meditative thinking. He writes, “If we let the thing be present in this thinging from out of the worlding world, then we are thinking of the thing as thing” (p. 181). Observation as meditative thinking is radical because the rhetor lets the thing be thing in the way it shows itself — in its concreteness (“thinging”) and its situatedness (“worlding world”). But for the rhetor who affiliates with the rational-scientific tradition, an abstract, passionless and decontextualized observation has its payoffs. The persuasion that arises out of such an affiliation is commercially viable given the profit-oriented and competitive socio-cultural arena that every discipline (arts and sciences) has unwittingly bought into. Within such a structure, the skilful and persuasive speaker is one who possesses the skill to convince the listeners to concede to truth irrespective of its concreteness and situatedness. The monopoly over truth at which this approach arrives is gained through a process of elimination and exclusion such that the listeners are precluded from its multiple and genuine alternatives and possibilities. Through such exclusionary means the speaker and all those who subscribe to such a prescriptive approach to truth thereby become the sole owners of the truth by means of expropriation and exploitation. On the other hand, a rhetor (the one who observes with a passion) enables/facilitates/shows how we live and move in truth through inclusive and non-reductionistic ways. This is truly pedagogical and educative for it persuades by “bringing forth”; not because the speaker has a monopoly over truth, but because the listeners live and share in it already. The work of the rhetor is to awaken them to what they already know. It is in this context that epideictic rhetoric is important. We have no new information introduced; rather, the quality of the phenomena is amplified.

From a Heideggerian perspective, observing takes on a different meaning as it is based on a radically different assumption. As Hoy (1993) writing on the hermeneutic turn in Heidegger points out:

Heidegger’s strategy is different from the Cartesian strategy, which starts by assuming a basic ontological disconnection (e.g., between mental and physical substance) and then looks for instances of epistemological connection that cannot be doubted (e.g., the knowledge of the existence of a thinking subject). Heidegger’s strategy is to see Dasein as already in the world, which suggests that what needs to be explained is not the connection, which is the basis, but the disconnection.
The disconnection or the disruption is that which is appealing to the eye of the rhetor who observes by participating. Hence, observation as meditative thinking is to pay attention to the “disconnection” that shows itself in the activity of hovering over as long as we can endure it. To take this a step further, we could say that when the rhetor can endure or stay persistent with this unsettling experience, then the circularity of hermeneutics (through a persistent inhabitation of the phenomenon) gives way to an elliptical movement that is in “essence” elusive and indeterminate.

Derrida (1973) calls our attention to this radical difference in what can be called a “project” of deconstruction. He makes an appropriate observation in this regard when he writes:
There is then, probably no choice to be made between two lines of thought; our task is rather to reflect on the circularity, which makes the one pass into the other indefinitely. And, by strictly repeating this circle in its own historical possibility, we allow the production of some elliptical change of site, within the difference involved in repetition; this displacement is no doubt deficient, but with a deficiency that is not yet, or is already no longer, absence, negativity, nonbeing, lack, silence. Neither matter nor form, it is nothing that any philosopheme, that is, any dialectic, however determinate, can capture. It is an ellipsis of both meaning and form; it is neither plenary speech nor perfectly circular. More and less, neither more nor less — it is perhaps an entirely different question.
On the part of the rhetor who endures, the latter movement allows for a “re-cognition” of this elusive and disruptive/displacing nature of that which shows itself. In this sense, observation as meditative thinking/deconstruction is respect for the phenomena. In such a movement, we could contend with John D. Caputo (1987) that the observer-participant rhetor is never in a privileged position or the sole owner in regard to what shows itself in meditative thinking/deconstruction. He observes:

In an a-lethic view, whatever shows itself, whatever comes forth, issues from hidden depths. We know we cannot touch bottom here, that we cannot squeeze what stirs here between our conceptual hands, cannot get it within our grip, cannot seize it round about. The mystery is self-withdrawing, self-sheltering. And that is what gives rise to respect.
Hence, in Heideggerian terms, observation could be seen as akin to letting go or “letting be,” which is radical detachment or detached attachment. The genuine rhetor is one who cultivates a respectful disposition as regards the “faculty of observing” and “the available means of persuasion” vis-à-vis that which needs to be spoken about.

Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

My son recently entered college, so I’ve thought often lately about my own undergraduate days at the University of California at Santa Cruz and what remains of them in my world view. If I had to pick just one thing I took away from those four years it would be existentialism. 

The word “existentialism” is much misused and for many people calls to mind gloomy film noirs, smoky cafes on the Boulevard St. Germain and impenetrable texts, but at its heart is a really simple precept. We are born free; we make our own choices; and we are responsible. Or as Jean-Paul Sartre, who created the term, put it: Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.

Sartre also coined the slogan “existence precedes essence,” which contains the core of the philosophy in just those three words. No generic account of what it means to be human can be given, since that meaning is decided in and through existing itself. In contrast to other entities, whose essential properties are fixed by the kind of entities they are, what is essential to a human being—what makes you who you are—is not fixed by your type but by what you make of yourself, what you become.

The relevance to free agency is clear. Outside organizational life, you are on your own, the possibilities are unlimited, and you are responsible for your own successful outcomes based on the choices you make and the actions you take. Whether you find that prospect liberating or terrifying says a great deal about your fitness for the freelance life. 

I can’t claim any degree of existential scholarship, and to be honest, when I picked up Sartre’s seminal work Being and Nothingness for the first time in 30 years, I found it pretty tough sledding. Fortunately, people more clever than I have reduced his knotty prose to an actionable rationale. Jay Ogilvy, a co-founder of the Global Business Network, devised this list:

Five Principles of Existential Strategy

1. Finitude. You can’t be all things to all people. If you’re not saying “no” to some possibilities, then you’re not acting strategically.
2. Being-Toward-Death. No one is too big to fail, to die, to go bankrupt. Gliding on momentum can lead to a crash.
3. Care. Define your interests more precisely than ROI or return to shareholders. If you don’t know where you stand, you’ll fall for anything.
4. Thrownness. You have a past; you have experiences and core competencies. Know them, use them, and don’t forget them.
5. Authenticity. Don’t be bound by your past. Feel free to reinvent yourself and your company for an uncertain future.

Ogilvy created the list for companies, so let me offer a little tweaking for solo practitioners. Finitude is the core concept because it is all about making the tough choices between multiple possibilities. The first temptation free agents face is to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes their way. We do this because we worry about passing up the revenue, but also because we don’t want to miss out on something cool. But you can’t do everything, you have to choose. 

Being-toward-death sounds dreadful, but it’s really about understanding that since we are not immortal, we have to make choices and act upon them–right here, right now. As Ogilvy puts it, by acknowledging the finite number of them you’re granted, each day of your life gains both preciousness and a sense of existential urgency. Don’t dawdle, and don’t waste time on jobs that don’t engage you on some meaningful level. 

Martin Heidegger, whose book Being and Time is considered by some to be the culminating work of existential philosophy, focused on care as a feature that differentiates human beings from purely cognitive, Cartesian creatures. Ogilvy defines it as the understanding of what you’re good for, but also what you desire, what you care about, what gives meaning to your life. Successful free agency often means reinventing yourself over and over again, and care provides a grounding that can save you from losing track of who you are and why you went down this path in the first place.

Thrownness is the characteristic that connects you to your past and defines its place in your present. We all started somewhere other than where we are now and it’s best to use that history rather than to try to escape it. Much of what I do these days has nothing to do with daily journalism, but I’m always using the basic toolkit I acquired through reporting: getting people to open up; taking careful notes, rapid analysis and synthesis. I can reinvent myself as a strategy consultant and use all of these competencies; I cannot reinvent myself in a role that requires an entirely different set of skills. 

I like Ogilvy’s definition of authenticity so much that I’ll just paste it here: Authenticity is a way of being true to yourself, but the concept is tricky because, for the existentialist, being true to yourself can’t be defined as being true to your essence. Nor can it be reduced to fulfilling a function. Authenticity demands fidelity to your past, but also openness to possibilities in the future — not just one possibility (that would be a necessity), but several possibilities. Authenticity is being true to both your thrownness and your freedom. It’s making choices among possibilities and taking responsibility for your decisions.

One’s decisions and actions have consequences in organizational life, but they are often blunted or hidden by structural constraints. The free agent is always going beyond what simply is toward what can be: the factual always emerges in light of the possible, where the possible is not a function of anonymous forces but a function of your choices and decisions. You are free and you are responsible. Get used to it. 

[Note: I found a great layperson’s review of existentialism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ]

It’s common practice for companies to come up with a list of goals and objectives that they want to meet in a certain period of time. The problem is that very few of those companies actually think about the employees when making those decisions, with the end result being that the average worker becomes unclear on the direction of the business. Web based applications like Objectiveli have been created to address that very problem, with the end goal of using such software being increased productivity and profits.

Objectiveli is, simply put, a goals and objectives management system that has been put together to help everyone in an organization stay focused on a clear set of directives. You might very well wonder why an automated system is more effective than simply creating the goals and objectives and asking everyone to follow them. The answer is fairly simple and it all tends to come back to management all too often falling into the trap of managing by the moment. What that means is that their long term focus can be taken away when a minor crisis arises. They will commit time and resources to put out small fires, which in turn lead to more people losing sight of the big picture goals.

Many managers find it incredibly difficult to set companywide goals, especially when there are a number of different departments within the organization. If can be tough to keep track of all the moving parts, many of which are moving independently of the other. Different departments can often get caught up in an “us versus them” mentality, rather than realizing that each of them is working towards a common company goal. Objectiveli keeps everyone focused on the big picture and creates an environment of cooperation that is otherwise hard to maintain.

The performance of every employee is critical to the future success of the organization, so it’s important to be able to measure just how well everyone is doing. The Objectiveli management system allows managers to measure the performance of each employee against the goals that have been set. This should not be regarded as a “Big Brother” type scenario, but rather as a valuable tool that will help managers assess what each employee needs to succeed. It’s not always a lack of effort that leads to failure, but rather a lack of training, tools and resources. Objectiveli helps managers identify what each individual needs in order to bring positive outcomes to the company.

When an employee feels that they are part of the decision process and that they are receiving all that they need to perform their job well, they are more likely to stay with the organization and deliver positive results. It’s a win/win situation all around, with the top executives seeing their plans being executed by management and employees who are all on the same page. That is the power that Objectiveli brings to a business.

Too many businesses have built a massive chasm between the top brass in the company and the management and employees that they oversee. When that happens, the company goals can fall through the gaps that have been created, leaving the majority of the organization unclear of the path they are supposed to be following. The companies that do well tend to use goals and objectives management to ensure that everyone in the company is kept in the loop, no matter how small their role within the organization may be.

What goals and objectives really do is change the way in which everyone in the organization thinks about their job. Too many managers focus on putting out small fires that occur every day, as opposed to keeping everyone on the road to the company goals. When you manage in the short term, you lose sight of the end goal. This usually happens because time and resources are shifted to the perceived crisis of the moment, which does nothing but hurt the long term goals. Management by Objectives instill a results-oriented philosophy were everyone knows the part they play in attaining goals and follows the road ahead without any sort of deviation.

In order for Management by Objectives to work, everyone in the organization must work together to put a plan in place where the goals and objectives can be clearly verified and measured. The plan should accommodate any problems that have been common in the past, with resources put in place to clear those hurdles should they arise again moving forward. Goals and objectives management allows every employee to feel as though they are paying a major role in the decisions that affect not only their own job, but the health of the company overall. When people feel as though their roles are important, it tends to lead to a stronger focus on those goals, with the realization that their input is a part of the company’s success.

A happy workforce usually results in positive results, but Management by Objectives doesn’t simply mean letting employees loose with no checking in on their performance. It’s the manager’s role to ensure that every employee has the resources he or she needs to succeed to help the company meet its goals, but they also have to be held accountable for their actions in the workplace. Just a few underperforming employees can steer the company off course unless they are checked by management and given a clear idea of what is expected from them.

The end result of goals and objectives management is more than just the company meeting all of the goals that it sets. It empowers everyone in the organization and makes them want to contribute more to the cause. Morale spikes upwards when that happens, as does the creative output of each and every person involved in the company. Leader can be born and cultivated throughout this process, ensuring the competitiveness of the business as a whole in the years to come.

There are some limitations of Management by Objectives, here are some of the pitfalls and issues:

Time-consuming: Management by Objectives is incredibly effective, but it can take up an inordinate amount of time. The process of setting objectives is not something that tends to happen quickly. Regular meetings are required in order to assess just how well the system is working, all of which chew up even more time.

Reward-punishment approach: Management by Objectives can create a situation where a great deal of pressure is put on employees. Since the process means constantly reaching goals, employees that fall behind the timeline are subject to penalty, while those who do well are rewarded. This reward-punishment method can create a high level of stress on certain members of the team.

Increases paper-work: It’s easy for an organization to become weighed down under the avalanche of paperwork that comes with employing the Management by Objectives method. It’s not just the training manuals, newsletter, and instruction booklets that pile on the paper, it’s also the inordinate amount of progress paperwork and reports that employees are expected to submit that adds to the weight.

Creates organizational problems: Too many organizations fall into the trap of believing that Management by Objectives is the cure for all that ails. They fail to see that there are a definite set of problems that can come with it. One of the most common is that employees will try to keep targets as simple as possible, whereas upper management will shoot for the stars. This wide gap in expectations can make it difficult to find a common ground in the middle. The program can also instill fear in employees as it is so closely tied to performance.

Management by Objectives develops conflicting objectives: The goals and objectives of each individual within the organization may not mesh with that of other employees, which is particularly true when there are multiple departments. Each department will have their own ideas of success, which they may feel is different from the rest, all of which creates conflict.

Problem of co-ordination: A number of problems can pop up when it comes time to coordinate the company objectives across multiple departments. Since each department has their own goal ideas, they may set unrealistic goals in order to undermine others.

Management by Objectives lacks durability: When MBO is first introduced, it tends to generate a lot of excitement. That can fizzle out over time as the method starts to become tired. It’s such a simple process, but also one that doesn’t really leave space for new opportunities.

Problems related to goal setting: MBO works best when everyone is on the same page and find the goals set to be mutually agreeable. That can all fall apart when the goals are considered to be too rigid or when they are particularly difficult to set. There can also be major problems if employees start to believe that the goals in place are more important than they are, or of they feel that short-term goals have taken the place of the long-term health of the company.

Lack of appreciation: While the purpose of Management by Objectives is to involve everyone in the goal setting of the organization, it can still fail if the goals are not properly passed down the chain. It may be that executives fail to fill in all the details of the company objectives to management. It can also hit a snag if management do not delegate properly or motivate accordingly.

The advantages of Management by Objectives, far outweigh the limitation of Management by Objectives.

Planning of Management by Objectives is key for successful longterm implementation. Here are some key features of Management of Objectives.

Features Of Management By Objectives (MBO)

Superior-subordinate participation: It is up to management and subordinates to understand that Management by Objectives (MBO) means that they must work hand in hand to come up with goals and objectives. They must also jointly agree on exactly how the job duties should be handled in order to attain those goals.

Joint goal setting: We already know about the cooperation level that is required in the MBO process, but all sides must also realize that the goals that are being set should be tangible, verifiable, and measurable. In order for it to be a successful venture, management and subordinates need to agree on objectives that are realistic and attainable.

Joint decision on methodology: The biggest difference that Management by Objectives holds over other methods is that if focuses on what goals need to be met rather than laboring over how they should be accomplished. Superiors and subordinates work together to devise how that will be done, as well as set up a series of standards and performance evaluation.

Makes it easy to attain maximum results: The MBO process is built on a rational style of thinking which allows maximum results to be obtained by simply setting attainable goals and allowing employees to use creativity and solid decision making on the road to achieving those objectives.

Support from superiors: It’s the role of the superior to always make himself available to the employees. He should offer advice and guidance to every individual that is working towards the organizational goals that have been set. This is exactly how Management by Objectives works in maintaining a high level of communication and cooperation between management and employees.

Steps In Planning of Management By Objectives

Goal setting: The organizational objectives have to be crystal clear before any other steps can be considered. These are usually decided upon by top executives after consulting with the entire management team. The final decisions are them passed on to the rest of the organization, with the main focus on Key Result Areas (KRA).

Manager-Subordinate involvement: Once the bigger organizational details have been decided, management and subordinates get to work on setting individual goals, with everyone then involved.

Matching goals and resources: It’s at this point that management must look at providing their people with all the tools they need to meet those goals.

Implementation of plan: Once all the objectives have been ironed out and resources put in place, the employees then put together the plan. They can call on management at any time should they need further assistance.

Review and appraisal of performance: It’s important that managers and subordinates meet regularly to evaluate performance and progress. The same fair and measurable standards should be used during this process as they were in the planning stage.

Here are some strategies to make Management by Objectives effective;

Support from all: Executives may be keen to insert an Management by Objectives program into the organization, but it will only work if every member of management is on board with the plan. It’s not only management that have to buy in, though, with every single employee needing to understand what is needed to make it work and then cooperating every step of the way. They really have to feel that Management by Objectives is a program that benefits all as opposed to something that they are being force fed.

Acceptance of Management by Objectives program by managers: Before the MBO program is implemented, managers must accept in their minds that is it a program that can deliver exactly what it promises. If they have that belief, they will be more inclined to put in the effort to make it work, and will make Management by Objectives effective. If instead they are forced to accept the new program, they will have difficulty seeing any value in it, which in turn is likely to affect their level of involvement.

Training of managers: Since Management by Objectives differs from any other management style, existing bosses must be brought up to date with the philosophy of Management by Objectives. They need to understand how the principles of MBO can be integrated into the current company philosophy. This training is a crucial part of the process, especially since it’s the manager and employees that are going to be responsible for setting the majority of goals and objectives.

Organizational commitment: Management by Objectives is not a method that should simply be adopted in order to be current. It relies on everyone playing their part and switching their mindset from planning to work to planning on goal achievement. Koontz put it best when he said, “An effective program of managing by objective must be woven into an entire pattern and style of managing. It cannot work as a separate technique standing alone.”

Allocation of adequate time and resources: Even the best planned Management by Objectives program requires a minimum of 3 to 5 years before it will yield real positive results. What that means is that managers and employees should not employ Management by Objectives thinking that it will be a quick fix solution. It takes time and the correct resources for any Management by Objectives program to work.

Provision of uninterrupted information feedback: Everyone, from the top on down, should have access to regular reports in order to see how goal performance is progressing. Mangers should use that information to ensure that their employees have all the help and resources they need in order to succeed. They should also be sure to compliment and encourage when those goals are being met, as that is the easiest way to maintain a high level of motivation.

 

Next up Limitations of Management By Objectives (MBO)

Advantages of Management by Objectives are many, primarily aligns the company goals and objectives with the employees. Here are some others:

Management by Objectives develops a result-oriented philosophy: The Management by Objectives (MBO) process is all about the delivery of results (outcome) as opposed to management by crisis (MBC)). While managers are expected to develop goals and objectives; action plans and provide their people with the resources they need, employees are expected to do their part by making positive contributions towards the organizational goals.

Formulation of clearer goals: In many organizations, goals are only set once a year. The goals that are set in the MBO process are done in a way that makes them measurable and verifiable, whilst making sure that each and every one can be attained. The idea is that problem areas are highlighted, with goals put in place to iron out those issues, thus making everyone more effective in the job that they do. This process encourages the active participation of every employee, with the end result being that the organizational goals are met within the agreed timeframe.

Management by Objectives Facilitates objective appraisal: The evaluation process is designed to be fair from the start, with all of the goals are put together in by the entire team. Giving individuals the freedom to exercise their own creativity makes for a happier set of employees, all of whom become fully committed to reaching the organizational goals.

Raises employee morale: Too many employees feel as though they are left out of the decision process, but this is not the case with Management by Objectives. Since they play a part in setting goals, the bigger picture becomes far clearer to everyone. This in turn leads to a companywide boost in morale.

Management by Objectives Facilitates effective planning: The Management by Objectives program makes organizational planning much more effective. Everyone is forced to look at results as opposed to winging it when crises arise. When effective planning is put in place, fewer of those problems tend to arise, allowing mangers to focus on what is important.

Acts as motivational force: Since everyone is on the same page when it comes to reaching the goals of the organization, there is a higher level of imagination and creativity that comes with that. With everyone working together for a common goal, there is a much higher level of motivation to reach them.

Management by Objectives facilitates effective control: One of the main features of MBO is the continual monitoring of progress. This allows everyone to measure their performance against the standards that have been put in place. It is those clear standards that allow everyone to work towards a very identifiable set of goals, all allowing for better control.

Management by Objectives facilitates personal leadership: MBO helps everyone within the organization, but it gives mangers in particular the opportunity to display their leadership skills. Keeping the entire group focused will paint a manager in a very positive light and make them more likely to advance within the company.

Advantages of Management of Objectives far outweigh the limitations.

There is a very close connection between the concept of Management by Objectives (MBO) and that of planning. When you go through a planning process, it is somewhat implied that the achieving of objectives is in place. Management by Objectives is very much a process that is now commonly used by modern management teams, with the original idea of MBO made famous by Peter Drucker. The basic concept of Management by Objectives is that it should not be forced upon subordinates, but rather something that is decided by a management collective. The feeling is that using that method of objective selection will lead to support from all sides, leading to all the objectives being reached more effectively.

As demanding as the Management by Objectives (MBO) style of management is, it is one that is so widely employed because of the rewards that it reaps. It is a process that very much promotes the accomplishment of objectives through active participation and a high level of teamwork. The general concept of Management by Objectives is that employees tend to perform better when they know exactly what is expected of them, allowing each individual to tie personal goals to companywide objectives. Management by Objectives only works if the basic principles are followed, which include management and subordinates working together to set goals, all tied up with a high level of encouragement and support from superiors as the goals are achieved. MBO delivers real results, thanks in large part to the high levels of leadership, encouragement, and motivation that are passed on from management to their employees.

Management by Objectives is a style of management that relies on the participation of subordinates, allowing them a role in the decision making process. It’s a somewhat different approach than the Management by Control (MBC) style, with many industry insiders actually believing the MBO is the far superior method. The traditional method of management seemed to be concerned with more of a trickledown effect. The executive management team would set goals and objectives before passing instructions down to middle management, who then passed that information on to the lowest level employees. It was a method that did little to encourage participation or cooperation from those on the lower levels of the organizational totem pole. MBO ensures that everyone is included in the decisions process, from the top, all the way down to the lowest employee level.

When management levels and objectives are created, it tends to result in a number of hurdles that have to be leapt as the ideas are passed down the ranks. Those barriers are broken down when everyone is involved in the goal and objectives setting process. The concept of Management by Objectives approach was one that was first devised by Peter Drucker in his book “The Practice of Management.”

Definitions Of Management By Objectives (MBO)

George Odiome describes Management by Objectives as “a process whereby superior and subordinate managers of an Organization jointly define its common goals, define each individual’s major areas of responsibility in terms of results expected of him and use these measures as guides for operating the unit and assessing the contribution of each of its members.”

John Humble views Management by Objectives as “a dynamic system which seeks to integrate the company’s needs to clarify and achieve its profits and growth goals with the manager’s need to contribute and develop himself. It is a demanding and rewarding style of managing a business.

 

Up next Features and Steps in planning of Management by Objectives.