Wed. May 18th, 2022

It’s one of those human things.

We need to have an endpoint for almost everything we do. Think about going on holidays and the amount of planning that can go into that seems quite small activity. The end game (Objectives) is to have a great time for the least amount of money and at a time that suits your schedule, thus Management by Objectives.

(**) Every time a firefighter responds to an incident the first thing they do is set an endpoint “Management by Objectives“. What this does is helps the leader to focus on what needs to be done to achieve the objective. When training firefighters for promotion or similar, I have indicated to them that they should use the same processes.

Therefore procedures for small emergencies as they would with something much larger. This activity allows them to embed the processes in memory before having to move on to the big stuff.

Time to Management by Objectives

In business, it’s exactly the same. Simple activities like getting a parcel from one point to another may to many seem easy and unlikely to need any planning. Let consider – the driver or manager sets the route using the most efficient roads, there is likely to be a small saving in fuel and time. Thus if a given business was to plan for every trip and there were thousands of trips then the savings over time would be substantial.

Each plan starts with the objective, even so, such goals may need to be fluid enough to evolve effectively Management by Objectives in ever-changing business environments.

What makes an effective Objectives?

I use to think that the simpler they were the better. Simpler is not a bad thing and we can often over complicate many parts of our plans. In the fire services and business, we use the acronym called ‘SMART’ to analyse our objectives. ‘S’ is for specific – in other words, it should be 100% related to what you are trying to achieve in the end.

‘M’ is for measurable – on the way to achieving our objective we need to be able to, somehow, measure whether we are still heading in the right direction and proceeding toward an effective overall outcome. Effective measurement can be achieved by setting milestones, this helps to identify when we are going off on a tangent away from a most suited pathway and again Management by Objectives.

‘A’ is for achievable and basically means that we have the physical and human resources to reach where we are trying to go. It’s no good trying to set an effective objective at a large factory fire when we only have two fire trucks on scene and about eight personnel.

Smart Objectives continued

‘R’ is for relevant and is partly related to achievable in the way it causes us to match the big picture with the current situation and knowledge of the processes. ‘T’ is for time framed or timely – again this may be a little fluid as things evolve but it helps personnel maintain momentum, motivation and reduces wasting of resources.

Some simple examples of Management by Objectives are:

[1] Stop the bushfire at Moore’s Road by 17:30 hours.
[2] Provide 200 patrons with meals in the dining room by closing time tonight.
[3] Open and start operating the Milk Bar by the 25 November 2019
[4] Transport 200 passengers to Sydney airport at 20:45 tomorrow.
[5] By valuing customers and empowering staff to create a business environment to sell $46,000,000 worth of category three products, over a period of three years.

** Disclaimer:
I write this article from my perspective and even though I use fire services as a general term. The content in this article is my view and shouldn’t be seen as the general view of the Fire Services in Australia.