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Published on November 6, 2017

Management without Objectives

It sometimes happens that the objectives I agree with people get forgotten and the tasks I give remain not completed. Sometimes I, too, forget my objectives and tasks. Nevertheless, majority of those people who ignore their objectives and tasks are demonstrably trustworthy, diligent, and honest. It must be a management problem. Depressed by these observations I put together three golden rules for leading by objectives. 

  1. Provide the person you lead with an inspiring purpose rather than an objective.
  2. Ask the person to set himself or herself the objectives that serve the purpose. Also, ask the person to specify what support is needed to achieve those objectives.
  3. If you are not able to provide the person with the purpose or the person is not able to define the objectives, change your approach. Assign a task. Make the task so narrow, specific, and unambiguous that it is impossible to ignore or misunderstand.

The lesson? Management by objectives seems to work best when it is self-management. Self-defined objectives work best in the context of a well-defined purpose and adequate support. A person who cannot define his or her objectives is unlikely to achieve objectives defined by someone else.