Management Objectives and Management Skills


Management Objectives and Management Skills

We are going to take further aspects of management. We will be discussing objectives of management. It would be recalled that in our first unit when we were discussing the nature and purpose of management, we did say that a manager must accomplish result. That is being effective. But in accomplishing result, the manager should be prudent in the use of resources. This is efficiency. The output is greater than the input. But to achieve demands that the manager must set pre- determined objectives, bring together the necessary resources and set out together with his team toward the attainment of the organizational objectives.

We shall discuss the various forms of business objectives which also constitute management objectives. Also to be discussed are management skills necessary for the attainment of organizational objectives. The skills are emphasized because in most cases some organizations set objectives, but the realization of such objectives is not emphasized. This is unsound management which must be rejected and discouraged.


Definition and characteristics of Business Objectives

An objective generally is an end in view. It represents the point an organization wants to attain and it is futuristic, that is, it concerns the future. Since an objective is an end in view, it represents future expectation of management. That is why enterprise activities must be directed towards the attainment of the set objectives.


Characteristics of Business Objectives

Objective has important characteristics which must be taken into consideration. These characteristics stamp the mark of seriousness in business objective or any objective in non-business organization set by a serious manager. These features or characteristics of a good objective are:

(a) It must be specific: An objective should be targeted at specific result. This is necessary so as to avoid too much generalization which makes it difficult for an organization to know whether it is on the right track or not. A good business objective should be targeted and focused at a specific spot. This will enable management to concentrate at that point for the fulfillment of the objective.

(b) Action: A good objective commands not only the focus of management but also management action. Management by its very nature as a process is action oriented which is ongoing. But the action must be in the desired direction which has been provided by the specificity of the business objective. Action demands that the required resources in terms of human, material, time, information and other necessary resources must be put in place toward the attainment of the objective. That is why, the goodness of an objective depends on how resources are channeled towards its accomplish, otherwise it becomes merely a formality.

(c) Realistic: An objective should not be set for setting sake or simply another organization has its own objective. A realistic assessment needs to be made concerning the organizations strengths and weaknesses. This is important so that right from the early stage the organization will be able to determine whether it has the required resources with which to accomplish the objective. If the resources are not available in sufficient quality and quantity, then a more realistic objective compared to the resources available should be set.

(d) Measurable: An objective should be quantified, that is some figures should be attached. This is necessary for verification which means that at a required time, performance must be compared with the standard. The essence is to find out if efforts being made are in the right direction. If this is not the case, the necessary corrective measure should be put in place to rectify the situation.

(e) Time: The objective should be time bound. This indicates that within specific period, the objective must be accomplished. Another element concerning this feature of an objective is that it has to be formulated at the relevant period. In other words, the timeliness of the objective is important otherwise, events would overtake it.

All these features and attributes of an objective go together; they cannot be separated from one another. This is why they should all be considered in the process of objective formulation, objective implementation and objective evaluation.


Types of Objectives

The types of objectives are indicated in the time in which the objectives are to be accomplished. There are therefore short term objective, medium term objective and long term.

(a) Short term Objective

For the Nigerian environment which is erratic and turbulent, short term objective is usually less than on year. Compared to advanced economies, this is too short. But in those advanced economies, they are a stable and one can plan over a long range of time. In short term objectives, the nature of such objectives are tactical and operative. That is, they are objectives which are often yearly for departmental functions (tactical objectives) and they command activities which are specific, determined and for more immediate implementation (Operating objective/activities).

(b) Middle term Objective

Again, in respect of the Nigerian environment, the middle term objective is usually lesser than five years.

(c) Long term Objective

This is usually more than five years. The middle term and long term objectives are usually formulated through corporate objectives and mission statements. The corporate objectives in commercial organizations are often expressed in profit figures. In respect of the mission statements, they indicate in general terms the organization self-identify, that is, the way it sees itself and wants to be perceived.


Multiplicity and Hierarchy of Objectives

(a) Multiplicity of Objectives

An organization may have more than one objective and resources are committed toward their attainment. When this is the case we say that such an organization has a multiplicity of objectives.

(b) Hierarchy of Objectives

There may be corporate objectives reflecting the medium and long range plans of the organizations as well as the mission statements. There are also departmental objectives.

When there exist the corporate objectives for the entire organization at the top, and below are arranged the departmental and sectional objectives. We say that such organization has hierarchy of objectives.


Examples of Objectives

There are different types of objectives depending on the organization. Below are examples of business objectives:

1.  Nature of Business

A business organization must have an objective showing its nature that is its mission statement. To be able to set this type of objective, the organization must be able to identify those that constitute its customers. This is achieved by identifying their needs and how these needs can be satisfied by the provision of some goods and/or services. management should not only think of the immediate needs of the customers but also their future needs as well. The objectives must be broad so that future opportunities are not lost through too specific objectives.

2. Survival Objective

Every organization wishes to survive. To be able to survive demands the provision of goods and/or services which the customers need. That the output of the organization should be capable of meeting the needs of the customers. If this is not the case, then the sustainability or survival of the business over a long period is doubtful.

3. The Growth Objective

A business organization grows or dies especially in a competitive environment. Growth is a quantity shift from one point positively to another point. Adequate growth provides more revenue to the organization and promotion opportunities for the employees. It increases the strength of the organization in the face of competition.

4. Profit Objective

The very survival of an organization dictates that a certain minimum profit has to be made. Profit is important also because it measures the performance of management in a  business organization. It makes it possible for the shareholders to have a return on their investment. It is again through profit that other business organization can be attained.

5. Increasing Productivity Objective

Linked to profit objective is the productivity objective. Increasing productivity lowers unit cost of the product. Through this, the organization can be able to compete and penetrate the market.

6. Social Obligation Objectives

These objectives are many. They range from supplying of adequate product/services at reasonable prices to the customers, ensuring that the share holders get good dividends, giving employment to the members of the public, paying taxes to the government among others. We shall be taking the social responsibilities of the manager in due course in one of the subsequent units.


Management Skills

For a manager to perform well and be seen to be performing creditably, he needs some skills which must be brought to bear in his functions. These skills are:

1. Technical Skills

Technical skills form the knowledge of and proficiency in activities involving methods, procedures and processes. They involve working with tools and techniques. As an example, the mechanics work with tools and their supervisors should teach them the ability of how to use the tools. Also, accountants require specific techniques based on principles on how to do accounting work.

2. Human Skills

These are the ability to work with people. They involve cooperating with one another as a team by creating an environment when people feel secured and free to express their opinions.

3. Conceptual Skill

This is the ability to see the big picture of the end in view (objective) of where you are going. It also demands that you should be able to see those activities that are necessary to realize the big picture. The picture must be clear, capable of excitement. Remember, the scripture says people perish for lack of vision. We should be able to see the picture of what we want. It is a skill which must be learnt.

4. Design Skill

This is the ability to solve problems in ways that will benefit the organization. This is done by working out practical solutions to identified problems.

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