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Defining the Functions of Management

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There are several different processes of management, but four old-fashioned, but key functions that provide the "technology of management" are identified as: Planning, Organizing, Motivating, and Controlling.

Whether you run your own business, are starting a business, manage a department or just work hard, these four elements are imperative to ensure smooth operation and to meet your necessary operational goals.

1. Plan
First and foremost, management must create and stick to a plan. Setting goals is an invaluable task that must be done to establish order within a department or organization. Planning is the base function, as well as the foundation for management. Planning requires looking into and understanding the present state of the company or department and deciding where you want the company or department to be. Once the desired future has been determined, strategic planning must take place in order to get to where the company to that future.

Planning is a never-ending story. The minute planning ceases, the company or department will begin to deteriorate. Internal and external factors must be considered when planning is on the table. There will be times that long-term planning must take the back seat when short-term planning becomes a necessity or an emergency.

2. Organize
Once plans have been made and are ready to be implemented, organization comes into play. It is impossible to organize until plans have been set; once set, then organization has purpose. Organization combines the resources available to the team or company. These resources might include money, talent, technology, or tools.

The compilation of these resources is the most efficient way of accomplishing company and/or departmental goals. Management will systemize the division of labor and resources, as well as determine where authority and responsibility lie once organizational efforts have been established. Organization is the next logical step when planning has reached a certain point. Being that planning never ceases, it can be logically be assumed that organization is an ongoing task, as well.

3. Motivate
Once planning has been established and organization has begun, motivation becomes necessary to carry out said plans and maintain the established organization. Motivating (or directing) is also necessary in order to determine where each company or team member should dwell within the organizational confines. Motivation plays a significant part in influencing how each organizational or departmental goal is to be reached. Included in this process is open communication and supervision.

Building relationships of trust and camaraderie will aid the efforts of management in leading the company and/or department to success. This can be achieved through communication - supervisors communicating with employees, and executives communicating with supervisors, co-workers to co-workers, team members to team members. These are all part of the motivating/directing function.

4. Control
Controlling involves evaluating the efforts of the organization in goal achievement. Providing feedback from every corner plus follow-up and follow-thru to evaluate progress and achievement. Cross-functional team meetings and departmental gatherings allow for comment and response or in determining when a change of course is necessary.

This function allows for resolution and change that is compulsory. Through this process, predictors are in place and crisis can be prevented and/or averted. This is a continuous process in that the company and department will forever need to be challenged, controlled, and managed.

It is possible to reach goals and attain success through faithful participation in an old-fashioned but timeless management process.