Monitor Your Success
All production orientated businesses often establish and maintain planning and monitoring centres variously referred to as "war rooms", "chart rooms", "planning centres" and the like. Distilled down to its essence, these are no more than structured systems developed to chart and monitor performance in line with present objectives.
In one such operation, functions and activities are organised by division and group, then broken down with the responsibility and accountability for master goals and sub-goals spelled out for each unit. When a new product is planned, for example, a chart (or a series of charts) is set up outlining various steps in the development process from the product's pre-design stages to completion of the finally approved product model.
Dates for the completion of each phase of the project are spelled out on the charts where entries are made periodically designating the goal's status and date of fulfillment. When target dates are not met, the individual who is responsible must explain why and spell out what actions are being carried out or planned to get back on target.
Key executives and supervisors meet regularly to determine if stated goals are being met as projected and, where problems are indicated, discussion is held to resolve them. If adjustments are required as a result of changing circumstances and conditions, they are made — with the goals revised accordingly.
If goals cannot be fulfilled because of human error or misjudgment, action can be taken to rectify the situation by improving communications or providing additional training when needed. In extreme situations it might be necessary to shuffle or reassign individuals on the project. The ultimate aim of the system is not to find fault or lay blame, but to keep the attainment of goals moving ahead according to schedule and plan.
In organisations where monitoring systems of this kind work smoothly and effectively, targets are set and automatically achieved. Where performance goes off track for any reason at all, this is signalled early in the game before damage can be done, and adjustments and corrections are made.
It is as close to a surefire system as one could imagine, and the key is the constant monitoring and assessment. The point being made here is this: Conceptually, the system is as applicable to an individual department or an individual executive (you?) as it is to a company-wide or plant-wide operation.
The highly successful chief executive of a large hardware manufacturing company says he was introduced to this concept in business school, and has been following it throughout his career.
He charted his personal career programme from production trainee through a series of supervisory and middle management jobs, rightthroughto histop management position. He had to make scheduling adjustments from time to time, pushing target dates back as well as ahead, but the plan kept him on his desired course.
He monitors people in his various departments and units today, helping them reach personal and company goals alike, and the programmes are usually very successful