Management controls – why they are essential

Lack of the right controls gets you into trouble as a manager.  Costs increase, sales fall, complaints rise, staff leave, standards drop and customers go elsewhere in an environment with poor control.  There’s no feedback to allow re-planning, re-organisation and altered leadership styles to keep the organisation on course towards its primary purpose – doing good for people, society, the economy and the planet.  If you’ve done the hard work of planning, organising and leading you need controls to complete the picture.

Over control is just as bad.  Everything gets measured and the primary purpose of the organisation/division/unit/individual gets lost along the way.  Key performance indicators (KPIs) abound and reports flood brains with overwhelming amounts of data.

Good control mechanisms act like goal posts – you can clearly see if you are winning, just missing or losing completely.  You can see what adjustments need to be made and what needs to be improved and this is really important if you are in management.  Not knowing where you are is just not good enough.

The first step in identifying which controls to have in place is to have clear objectives for your organisation/division/unit/team/people.  The balanced scorecard approach encourages having financial, customer, internal processes and learning and growth measures so you get a good mix of meaningful controls.  Controls that are meaningful should lead to action if required.

The second step is to decide how frequently you review your control measures.  Annually is not frequent enough and daily is too frequent and far too impracticable.  Watch out for setting up controls that take too long to measure; they are far less likely to produce meaningful information upon which you can take action.

So, as a manager what control measures do you have in place, how frequently to you review results, do you share the results with your people, are your measures linked directly to your overall objectives and finally do you act on the results of your control measures?

I raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK – a small donation at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/everyonedeservesgoodmanagement would be most appreciated.

 

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