Controlling is one of the most important functions of management. Its main objective is to ensure that an organization’s activities are advancing as planned. The control process that all managers have to implement consists of several steps. Each one of these is equally important and plays a big role in effective management.
The control process of management ensures that every activity of a business is furthering its goals. This process basically helps managers in evaluating their organization’s performance. By using it effectively, they can decide whether to change their plans or continue with them as they are.
The control process consists of the following basic elements and steps:
1. Establishing goals and standards
The task of fixing goals and standards takes place while planning but it plays a big role in controlling also. This is because the main aim of controlling is to direct a business’s actions towards its goals. If the members of an organization know their goals clearly, they will invest their entire focus in achieving them.
It is very important for managers to communicate their organization’s goals, standards and objectives as clearly as possible. There must never be ambiguities amongst employees in this regard. If everybody works towards common goals, it becomes easier for an organization to flourish.
The goals that managers have to set and work towards may be either tangible/specific or intangible/abstract. Tangible goals are those which are easy to quantify in numerical terms. For example, achievement of sales worth Rs. 100 crores within one year is a tangible goal.
On the other hand, intangible goals are those which are not quantifiable numerically. For example, a company may aim to win some prestigious award for its corporate social responsibility activities.
2. Measuring actual performance against goals and standards
Once managers know what their goals are, they should next measure their actual performance and compare. This step basically helps them in knowing whether their plans are working as intended.
After implementing a plan, managers have to constantly monitor and evaluate them. They must always be ready to take corrective measures if things are not working properly. In order to do this, they should keep comparing their actual performance with their ultimate goals.
Apart from taking corrective action, this step of process control also helps managers in predicting future problems. This way they can take measures immediately and save their business from losses.
In order to compare their actual performance, managers first have to measure it. They can do so by measuring results in monetary terms, seeking customer feedback, appointing financial experts, etc. This can often become difficult if managers want to measure intangible standards like industrial relations, market reputation, etc.
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3. Taking corrective action
In case there are discrepancies between actual performances and goals, managers need to take corrective actions immediately. Timely corrective actions can reduce losses as well as prevent them from arising in the future again.
Sometimes, business organizations formulate default corrective actions in the form of policies. This, however, can be difficult to do when it comes to complicated problems.
In such cases, managers need to first quantify the defect and prepare a course of action to remedy it. Sometimes, they may have to take extraordinary measures for unpredictable problems.
4. Following up on corrective action
Just taking corrective measures is not enough; managers must also take them to their logical conclusion. Even this step requires thorough evaluations and comparisons.
Managers should stick to the problem until they solve it. If they refer it to a subordinate, they must stay around and see to it that he completes the task. They may even mentor him personally so that he may be able to solve such problems by himself later.
Solved Examples on Control Process
Question: Name the missing words in these following sentences.
(1) Managers generally set goals under the process of __________ but they play a big role in controlling too.
(2) __________ types of goals are not quantifiable numerically.
(3) Seeking customer feedback is one way to compare __________ with ultimate goals and standards.
(4) In case an organization’s activities are not in consonance with plans, managers should take __________ immediately.
Answers: (1) planning (2) intangible (3) actual performance (4) corrective action