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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Picture of MBO Misuse

I was reading “Organizational Sabotage - The Malpractice of Management By Objective” on the Deming Files and I am once again I am dumbfounded by how it is continuously being practiced or misused. It is a topic that I have written about before on the L2L blog and here. Although I liked the article it seemed lacking some real world examples. Needless to say I have experienced these continuously over my career and sometimes when reading these types of articles I just feel like shouting the proverbial “Hello”!

Anyways since I prefer visual interpretation I thought about trying to come up with a simple graphic to convey Deming’s and Drucker’s real message about MBO. I also thought I would add some description in the form of pairs of antonyms to emphasize the visual. Here is what I came up with:

Short-term / Long-Term
Disarrayed / Aligned 
Untidy / Tidy 
Conflicting / Collaborative

Kind of simplistic and vague – I know, yet open to interpretation? The notion is that if you set a short term goal it drives a specific behavior that is not always what you want, and probably not if it is a business strategy. Drucker wrote that “Objectives are the fundamental strategy of a business. Objectives must be derived from what our business is, what it will be, and what it should be.” Clearly he meant long-term objectives? 

I was with my kids at the beach the other way and they were learning to use a stand up paddle board. The 18 year old instructor gave them a simple tip. Always look at the horizon when paddling it helps keep your balance, look down at your feet and you will fall.