Making Management Goals Meaningful
by Tom Ohling, Nutrition Magician®

The old days of Management By Objective (MBO) have given way to Total Quality Management (TQM) and Empowered Teams but great management remains the goal. And goals need to be understood as powerful tools for the successful manager no matter what acronym rules the roost.

Most of us have heard of the famous study done with the Harvard graduating class in 1953. Polling showed that only 3% of the class had clearly defined WRITTEN goals. Twenty years later, the entire other 97% of the class’ earnings were being surpassed by the 3% that had clearly defined their goals. Goals could not be more significant to success.

Thus, the ubiquitous Day-Timer® was born. These systems help individuals define larger goals and break them into the incremental day-by-day tasks that must must be accomplished to progress toward them.

Now, it is a rare business that doesn’t have it’s mission-statement (read- big picture goal) prominently displayed for staff and customers to see. Managers are expected to motivate and lead toward this goal. But, all too often, that is where goal setting stops.

Dr. Alec McKenzie, a motivational expert, tells us that successful goals must:

  1. Have a clearly defined end point.
  2. Be measurable
  3. Be attainable.

Look at how that might work in a typical food service facility where the big-picture goal is improved customer service.

First, set the specific goal: Increase customer service by 10% over the next two weeks. This gives every member of the staff a clear picture of where management wants them to go.

Second, define the measurement: Improved customer service will be measured by customer comment cards and tally of verbal comments to the manager. Everyone now knows how their success is going to be evaluated.

Third, how to attain it: Staff is given specific training on how to draw attention to the customer comment cards and the areas covered such as friendliness of server, speed of service, quality of food, etc. Each staff members’ role in achieving this is clearly stated.

Now the managers job really begins. Every day the progress toward the goal should be announced, so that every one knows how they are doing. This lets everyone know that you, that is management, are serious about attaining this very important goal.

Dr. McKenzie reveals that it is the clarity of the focus on the goal that makes them successful. Now that you have defined this goal go ahead and set others.

All of the daily tasks that must be accomplished for your establishment to succeed should have specific measurable goals attached to them.

If successful management is your goal, then drive your management with successful goals.


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