Assessment of Procedures

Every business should regularly find out whether it needs all the reports and procedures it uses. At least once every five years every form should be put on trial for its life. Experts or System Analysts are appointed as inside source or outside consultants to recommend a meaningful measure to add new formats or clear up a situation in which reports and forms, luxuriating like the Amazon rain forest, threatened to choke the life out of an old established utility company. In one company’s case all reports were suspended simultaneously for two months based on a recommendation of systems expert and only those allowed to return which managers still demanded after living without them. This has cut reports and forms in the company by three quarters.

Reports and procedures should focus only on the performance needed to achieve results in the key areas. To “control” everything is to control nothing. And to attempt to control the irrelevant always misdirects.

Finally, reports and procedures should be the tool of the man who fills them out. They must never themselves become the measure of his performance. A man must never be judged by the quality of the production forms he fills out unless he is the clerk in charge of these forms. He must always be judged by his production performance. And the only way to make sure of this is by having him fill out no forms, make no reports, except those he needs himself to achieve performance.

A Philosophy of Management:

What the business enterprise needs is a principle of management that will give full scope to individual strength and responsibility, and at the same time give common direction of vision and effort, establish team work and harmonize the goals of the individual with the common weal.

The only principle that can do this is management by objectives and self control. It makes the common weal the aim of every manager. It substitutes for control from outside the stricter, more exacting and more effective control from the inside. It motivates the manger to action not because somebody tells him to do something or talks him into doing it, but because the objective needs of his task demand it. He acts not because somebody wants him to but because he himself decides that he has to – he acts, in other words, as free man.

The word “philosophy” is tossed around with happy abandon these days in management circles. A dissertation was signed in a company by a vice-president, on the “philosophy of handling purchase requisitions” ( “philosophy” here meant that purchase requisitions had to be in triplicate). But management by objectives and self-control may legitimately be called a “philosophy” of management. It rests on s concept of the job of management. It rests on an analysis of the specific needs of the management group and the obstacles it faces. It rests on a concept of human action, human behavior and human motivation. Finally it applies to every manager, whatever his level and function, and to any business enterprises whether large or small. IT insures performance by converting objective needs into personal goals. And this is genuine freedom, freedom under the law.

In days before the extensive use of computers format designs were standardized and numbers allocated to each form. This was under the control of a single department called ‘Industrial Engineering’ department. Any department in the group of companies wishing to introduce a form had to take the consent of this department justifying the need of the new format. Thus only essential formats were in use and unnecessary one time flash in the pan needs kept aside. Post computerization the IT department of an organization takes care of such things by modifying the program of existing system. If something new on a large scale has to be introduced the top management comes into the picture and may even out source the job from an outside IT specialist.