Management by Objectives – The Revived Time Management Craze?

What purpose, not position, do you serve in your organization? What are you accountable for? How do you manage your time? What is your focus? How do you increase your effectiveness in your organization? Is Management by Objectives (MBO) our revival of the time management craze?

When we examine our array of tools, skills and methods that manage time in terms of goal setting, prioritizing projects, delegating tasks, planning, scheduling and monitoring time utilized, this all falls under the range of time management. Some may ask if time management and MBO are the same. Not quite. Both share the establishment of objectives and both require a large degree of managing, vision, planning and performing. However, MBO takes it another step further. Responsibility lies in the hands of the managerial staff and creates self-managers in employees. Management by Objectives is not a new concept, but one that is used tremendously in an organization’s managerial system.

Unlike time management that combines processes, techniques and tools, MBO identifies employee’s objectives, tracking feedback for achieving those objectives and time lines when these objectives must be completed. The concept and creation of MBO has been around for over seventy years.

MBO was first outlined by Peter Drucker in 1954 in his book “The Practice of Management.” He is credited as the first management guru and the man who invented management. Management by objectives (MBO) is a systematic and organized approach that allows management to focus on achievable goals and to attain the best possible results from available resources. It aims to increase organizational performance by aligning goals and subordinate objectives throughout the organization. “It’s just another tool. It is not the great cure for management inefficiency… Management by Objectives works if you know the objectives; 90% of the time you don’t,” according to Drucker.

Many critics comment that Peter Drucker’s MBO concepts are too difficult to implement, impeding creativity, while meeting their goals. However, once everyone is on the same page with a clear and defined understanding of what their organization’s objectives are, an employee’s performance and progress will help to achieve the results managers of the company are seeking.


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