Critical Thinking

Taylor a business to be both effective and

Taylor Hord

December 9th 2017

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Principals of Management

Management Functions

            In the world of management,
every manager needs to develop and implement the four basic management
functions – planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.  In order for a business to be both effective and
efficient, each of the four functions must be well thought out and practiced thoroughly.  For this assignment I interviewed two
managers from Medical Diagnostics Laboratory. 
Although both of these managers work under the same company, they serve
very different roles – Stacey is the northeastern sales manager while Bill is
the Director of Operations.  By interviewing
two separate managers within the same company, it has become very apparent how different
management positions utilize the four basic functions. 

            The first function I asked my two
interviewees about was planning – believed by both to be the most important.  Planning involves deciding
where the company needs to be and the necessary steps to get there. To effectively
plan, managers must be fully aware of each challenge that their business branch
is facing in order for them to be able to formulate an objective and how to
obtain it.  When I asked Stacey why she
believed planning to be the most important function, her answer was “…I am
directly responsible for showing business growth, I have to constantly review
possible shifts in the territory marketplace and plan for those shifts.  I
must have strategic plans in place for addressing immediate needs as well as
forecasting monthly, quarterly, and annual goals and plans.”  In order for her to plan for business growth
she must forecast what her offices will be doing, in terms of their sales to
her.  An example she gave about this type
of planning was “As an infectious disease lab, a simple example of this type of
planning can be seen in the knowledge that certain pathogens have “seasons”
where both growth and loss can, and need to be, anticipated.  With that
knowledge, we strategize of ways to balance that out…by focusing on alternating
“seasons” – an example being Vector Borne pathogens are highest in the summer
and spring, whereas respiratory infections are highest in the fall and winter.”  With this specific example, it is very clear
that her planning is strictly based on her sales volume and how many specimens
she needs to bring in in order to stay in the green.  She must create plans for her team to assist
them with the best way to capture the growth in each different region.  Another responsibility Stacey faces is
hiring.  She must decide when she needs
to hire, or fire, a sales representative in each geographic area.  She mentions “without accurate planning, I
would risk either flooding the market with too many reps (setting them up to
fail,) or potentially missing opportunities by not having adequate coverage.”  Bill on the other hand is the manager of many
small departments rather than a sales team. 
When he was asked what planning was to him, he responded “it is my responsibility to ensure that
each department understands and is focused on those goals and that they align
with those of the other departments that I am responsible for and also with
those of the rest of the organization.” 
As you can tell, Bill’s way of planning is very different than Stacey’s.  I asked Bill what his most important function
was and as well as Stacey he believes it to be planning.  When I questioned him why he thought that, he
states “Every aspect of business involves planning from purchasing practices to
improving company sales. It is a good practice to have individuals who are
involved with the daily process to be involved with the planning of a project
from the beginning. This will allow the “rank and file” to feel that they are
part of the process and give them a sense of belonging but it also helps to
avoid missing steps along the way which can happen when a manager who may not
be aware of every nuance involved with a department”.  In his position, Bill is in charge of the
management teams of several different departments all focusing on different
projects and objectives so it is necessary for him to be able to plan the
company’s goals as he is the central figure that each department branches off
from. 

            Organizing is simply the
idea of bringing together physical, human, and financial resources to achieve
the objectives that were came up with in the planning function.  Managers will identify activities to be
accomplished, assign projects to groups or individuals, create responsibility
and delegate authority.  In the
organizing function is when the relationships of responsibility and authority
are established.  In Stacey’s position,
she is responsible for teams as well as individuals.  She uses the organizing function with individuals
by “… evaluating quarterly to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, and
potential areas of growth within their territories.  Once these are identified, strategies and goals
are created to focus their energies appropriately.  Depending on the severity of any deficiencies
identified, the sales rep may be required to participate in weekly strategy
calls to discuss progress being made on targeted goals.” These organizing
techniques share some qualities, but in general differ from the way that she
manages and organizes her teams.  Stacey
said that when organizing her teams “I schedule team meetings periodically to
discuss overall team concerns, new information that affects the team as a
whole, and to identify team leaders in regards to targets and contests.  These team meetings maintain consistent
knowledge among team members, help create a sense of competition among reps –
as motivation, and to help maintain a cohesive, cooperative group.”  Organization in a team setting tends to make
her organization on an individual level easier in the sense that the team can
help each other achieve their goals instead of constantly leaning on their
manager, Stacey.  In Bill’s role as
director of operations, he needs to organize each of the departments he is
responsible for.  When asked how he uses
the organizing function, he replied “Some projects in various departments
require many employees and determining who is responsible for what aspects of
the project is among my first steps when organizing my teams and development
groups. Along with the employees who are working on a project, other company
assets are usually required and determining what those assets are is vital.  My projects often include several departments
and managers. The manager’s all work together to organize assets from their
respective departments in an effort to achieve their goal. Organization is very
important to the daily routine of every department. Establishing and enforcing
Standard Operating Procedures SOP’s is a good way to organize
responsibilities of any department. Using SOP’s also helps to maintain
consistency.”  The main difference between
Stacey’ sand Bill’s style of management in the organizing function is that
Stacey must keep a team of individuals organized while Bill must keep his teams
of departments organized, in a sense Bill has teams of teams.  They both use the same style of organization
in the way that they delegate what the task at hand is, and the best way to go
about achieving their goal. 

            Directing requires managers to motivate their employees to
achieve assigned objectives, goals, and tasks. It uses the sense of authority
to achieve those ends as well as the ability to communicate effectively and
efficiently.  Effective directors are
managers who can relate to their employees as well as have positive motivational
communication.  By being personable, they
can easily influence their personnel to view situations from their
perspectives.  Supervision of employees
and their work is also an attribute of the directing function.    When I
asked Stacey to describe how she uses the directing function in her management,
she replied “my mission as a manager is to be a resource my team can count on.  I make my team members aware that I value and
appreciate their efforts and that I am invested in their success.  I define clear expectations and provide the
necessary support and empowerment to aid my team in reaching their goals.  I am knowledgeable of my territory and its
specific needs and challenges.  I
encourage a sense of teamwork and push my reps to build on their strengths and
to continue to refine and perfect their skills.”  Stacey mentioned an important note in her
response which was that she pushes her reps to build on their strengths.  This is important to do as a manager because
without that constant push, the team members have nothing to work for.  Bill’s sense of directing is very similar in
the sense that he believes as a manager you need to empower your
employees.  Bill answered my question as
follows “one of the most important things that I have learned is that
being a good leader starts with knowing who you are leading. Every person is
different, therefore; every person is motivated differently. For example, some
employees thrive on praise and need to receive it for a job well done more
often than others. I have also learned that knowing who you are leading is not
about being their friend. Being a friend and being friendly are two different
things.”  Bill’s way of management reflects
a very positive way of thinking in the fact that he has been able to figure out
what his employees needs are in the sense of how much motivation and praise
they need in order to be successful. 
Bill added to his statement by saying  “being a good manager does not necessarily
make someone a good leader. A person can excel at the other three basic
functions but fail miserably at leading. Not knowing who they are leading is
one way to be an ineffective leader but not being able to see the perspective
of the employees is another way. I have found that while they may be good
managers, those individuals who have never held any lower level positions are
less effective leaders because they cannot relate to their employees. It is
hard to get someone to see things from your perspective when you cannot see
things from theirs.”  I believe this last
point he made to be the most important. 
In order to be en effective director with the respect of your employees
it is absolute necessary that you relate to them as well as assist them. 

            Controlling is the
management function that involves measuring achievement against set objectives,
goals, and tasks. It requires managers to identify sources of deviation from successful
accomplishment and provide a corrective course of action. Managers will establish
objectives and goals, then measure their employees’ achievements of them.  After, they will identify anything that is
keeping them achieving the said goals, and provide means of correction if it is
necessary. Controlling does not necessarily involve achieving only monetary
goals and objectives. Stacey describes her way of utilizing the controlling
function of management by “performing quarterly reviews of each rep.  This involves an analysis of the rep’s
ability to reach their quotas, their adherence to company expectations, and
their overall success level in their territories.  If performance deficiencies are identified,
the rep is given direction and provided coaching.  If the deficiency continues the rep is places
on a formal action plan that identifies quantifiable goals within a 30-day
period.  If the rep fails to reach those
goals, they are then placed on a Personal Improvement Plan PIP which is
similar in structure, but failure to meet those goals will result in
termination.”  Stacey and her sales team
use a form of controlling that is similar to a strike system in the way that
her reps are given multiple chances to meet their goals and quotas, and if not
they are terminated.  She mentioned that
this strategy works very well and very few reps reach the level of
termination.  When I asked Bill how he
uses this function he responded “This
function involves the use of the other three functions to be done properly but
it can also be considered the final step. As a manager I need to stay involved
with and be aware of the objectives and goals of each department and company as
a whole. I also must know when projects, assignments, and goals go off track
and be able to redirect in order to get back on course. There are many
variables that affect the course of a project but being able to adapt and
overcome the variables is a necessity. Some variables may be obvious from the
beginning of a project and they are easier to compensate for since they were
part of the equation from the beginning. The unknown variables are the ones
that often cause a project to veer off course. This is why it is important to
collaborate with other departments when working on projects, especially when
you work for a larger company like Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Some projects
may seem to be isolated to a single department but when completed and
implemented there are effects on other departments. Being able to identify when
projects are off course is only one part of it. Adaptability is key to
controlling. A good manager must be able to redirect the resources at hand but
also be able to determine if additional/different resources are necessary.”  Bills last statement is what I believe to be
most important in his answer.  To be a
successful manager you must be able to realize when your project or team is
using their resources to their best ability and if not what resources they need
in order to make the project go smoothly. 

            Every manager needs to develop and
implement the four basic management functions – planning, organizing,
directing, and controlling. Although both Bill and Stacey work under Medical
Diagnostics Laboratory, they manage different things– Stacey is a team sales
manager while Bill manages departments.  From their answers on their management
functions, you can see the relationship being that they are both effective and
efficient managers, but they vary greatly because of the type of management
they are doing.  This is extremely import
to realize and learn because not all management styles can be brought into
different fields. 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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