Tips For Succeeding With An MBO (Management By Objectives Approach

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How can you get the most benefit from a standards-based system?

Recognize the following facts:

• Objectives and standards set with the employee are not going to represent the entire universe of things the
employee does or all the ways the employee contributes.

• Objectives and standards and the process of determining if they have been met appear to eliminate subjectivity and
opinions. That is not always the case, even for those who are very skilled at writing standards.

• As with any performance review system, the point is not to catch someone doing something wrong or to punish,
but to set up the conditions by which performance can be improved and help the employee monitor himself or

Since it’s so hard to write standards well, here’s an important tip. It’s less important to write “perfect” standards than it is
that both employee and manager understand what is expected of the employee. Standards are tools for communication. That’s
why it’s so important that standards be written either by the employee or by the employee and the manager in collaboration.
Once you and the employee understand the expectations in the same way, the process of review is easy. In other words, the
importance of setting standards lies with the discussion of them. There’s a point at which it becomes counterproductive to try to get each standard “perfect.”


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Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

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