Checking – Part 2

 

Key Performance Factors

Introduction

1  of these notes defined checking (the measurement of something and a comparison of the result of the measurement with a standard), listed five stages in checking, and discussed the two major processes in checking (measuring and evaluating).

2 The notes listed the four inevitable activities involved in all checking and discussed some important ideas in measurement.

3 The Part 1 notes then discussed why check something, when to check, who should check, and who should receive the check.

4 These notes (Part Two) discuss what to check. Then the evaluation part of the checking process and cover purpose, the need for Subordinates to accept, and when they discuss – who should know of the check first and checking to controlling.

What to Check

Check a Plan and/or a Result

5 People can check on (a) a plan to achieve an (end) objective and/or (b) the results achieved with respect to an end objective or any stage along the way.

6 Check a Plan A Manager can ask a Subordinate to Plan how to achieve something and bring the Manager the Subordinate’s plan in writing.

7 In this case, the Manager can check the Subordinate’s plan (a perform­ance) against some standard.

8 The standard could include such things as (a) a set of ideas on the planned objective held by the Manager, (b) a plan used for a similar objec­tive in the past, (c) can the Manager see something missing, or (d) can the Manager can see some things in the plan which will ngt help to achieve the end objective or rate as impractical.

9 Check a Result A Manager can check results by finding out what someone has achieved and comparing this achievement with a standard.

10 If a plan exists, a Manager can obtain some standards by examining the different parts of the plan. Thus the check could include – compare re­sults with appropriate parts of the relevant plan.

Check an End Objective. a Stage. and/or a Method

11 Someone can also check on (a) the end-objective and (b) any level or number of sub-objectives which aim to help achieve the end-objective.

12 These notes use the term “stages” to describe the level of sub-objec­tives immediately below the end-objectives (i.e. broad sub-objectives).

13 Attempts to achieve these sub-objectives (a stage) would need to occur in a particular sequence. A plan could show the sequence as well as the sub-objectives.

14 Both the sub-objectives and the sequence of the sub-objectives provide areas for selecting standards to use in a check.

15 These notes use the term methods to describe the sub-objectives used to help achieve different stages. From one viewpoint they deserve the term sub-sub-objectives.

16 These sub-sub-objectives and their sequence also provide areas in which to select standards to use in a particular check.

17 The following list shows the three aspects -

(a)    End Objective

(b)    Sub Objectives (STAGES)

(c)     Sub Sub Objectives (METHODS)

18 Thus someone can check on the various parts of a plan (end-objective, stages, methods) to evaluate their usefulness. At the same time, once someone tries to reach the end-objective, a Manager can check on the stage reached and/or the methods used.

Check Quantity Aspects and/or Quality Aspects

19 An objective may rate as (a) specific and quantifiable (one Report 600 — Bolts, 50 Typed Invoices) or (b) non-specific and not quantifiable (e.g.. a useful filing system, a better, office layout).

20 With specific objectives, quantity checks can occur. With non-specific objectives a Checker must use quality checks – the degree of achievement or the goodness (efficiency) of (eg.) the method used or the sequence of stages selected.

21 The following diagram summarises the three groups of checking possibilities -

22 The relationship between checking on results of a stage and checking planned future results deserves highlighting.

23 Example. Someone has the objective: Make 50 units in 10 hours. A check after the first two hours shows a result of eight units produced. Thus the rate of performance equals four units per hour. If the Operator continues at this rate for the next six hours the Operator will not achieve the end objective.

24 A check allows people to project a past performance result into the future. Sometimes they will draw the conclusion that if the performance rate does not alter in some way then the end objective will not get achieved.

25 Thus a check on likely future results involves a re-check on the like­lihood of the plans helping to achieve the end objective.

26 Example. Following on the previous example, someone should replan. The new plan could employ more than one Operator until the achievement of the end objective occurs.

General Principles On What To Check

27 The previous section classified some of the possibilities of what to check. Unfortunately the classification does not automatically tell Manag­ers what they should check to help them achieve better managing. They still have to choose the most appropriate thing to check. Even after identifying the possibilities, dozens of things exist in many jobs which Managers can check.

28 No one can say confidently what Managers should check without consider­ing specific jobs.

29 However, when deciding what to check the use of the following princi­ples should help Managers make wise decisions.

(a) Select things to check where good standards exist for the things

(b) Use easy/least-cost check points.

(c) Check significant and Important elements.

(d) Avoid spoiling a process because of a check.

(e) Avoid interrupting the process because of a check.

(f) Use a check which rates as representative. (Select a representa­tive sample).

(g) Use the right number of items in any one check. (Use the right sample size).

(h) Use check points relevant to the Manager involved.

Select things to check where good standards exist for the Things

30 Whatever someone measures, they must evaluate the meaning of the meas­urement or checking does not occur. Where no standards exist or the ones available rate as vague, uncertain, or inaccurate; people should consider whether a different check point (area) would prove more useful. This point assumes someone can find a different check point with better standards.

31 However even if a standard does not exist, this situation does not necessarily mean that it will prove difficult to set a standard. Thus Managers need not use this principle if someone can set/find good standards fairly easily.

Use Easy/Least-Cost Check Points

32 Ease of checking usually relates to the cost of checking. The easiest places to check usually prove the least costly. People should always choose easy check points, provided they measure up to the other specifica­tions discussed in this section.

Check Significant and Important Elements

33 Since checking takes time, Managers should check on something likely to give the best return.

34 Examples. (a) If a factory produces 90% of Product A and 10% of Product B, a Manager should spend more time on checking Product A than Product B. (b) If the factory changes so that it produces an equal amount of Product A and B but A gives more profit, then A deserves more checking. (c) A Sales Representative will more often check on the satisfaction and needs of his larger Customers rather than his smaller Customers. (d) An Accountant should check an invoice for $1,000 much more carefully than an invoice for $1. (e) A General Manager should check more on the performance of her Divisional Head as compared with (say) an Office Junior.

35 In selecting significant and important elements to check, Managers should appreciate that sometimes the importance or significance of some­thing will vary over time.

36 Thus something that causes a bottleneck at one time might deserve careful and extensive checking. At another time, if it does not cause a bottleneck, the activity should get far less checking.

Avoid Spoiling a Process because of a Check

37 Sometimes an attempt to check something will spoil the whole process.

38 Example. (a) A check on the progress of a “delicate” cake by opening the oven door caused the cake to spoil. (b) Checking people while they run a meeting, give a lecture, or make a sales call may so upset the people concerned that it spoils the process. (A direct-observation check.)

39 Where checking risks spoiling an activity, the Checker should balance (a) the probability of spoiling, or even ruining, the process with (b) the difficulty of obtaining a measure of performance which does not spoil the process.

40 In these cases, when checking a method can spoil a method, a Manager may find it easier to check the result of the method.

41 Example. Sales Managers may upset a Sales Representative if they observe the Representative making a sales call; but maybe they can settle for checking the Sales Representative’s results (sales).

42 Where the results check shows a satisfactory performance, little need exists to check the method used to achieve such a performance.

43 However if the result rates as unsatisfactory, someone who wants to improve performance will need to check the methods used which help produce the unsatisfactory result.

Avoid Interrupting the Process because of a Check

44 Any interruption of a process will cost money/time. However Managers will often find it better to interrupt something than let it continue in the wrong way.

45 In general, people will achieve a more economical check if they can check performance without any interruption. However if no other means of checking exists, probably an interruption will not prove of great impor­tance.

Use a Check which rates as Representative

46 Where a check involves taking a sample (i.e. a Part of the whole) this sample (or Part) should represent or tvpifY the whole.

47 A representative sample (= part) avoids bias and will have the same or similar characteristics as the whole.

48 Example of bias: A bag contains 100 balls, 20 of them white and 80 of them black. If the black balls lie on the lower part of the bag and the white balls lie above the black ones, people would probably choose white balls if they take a sample from the top of the bag. If they take a sample of 5 they might select all white balls. This result would lead someone to believe that the bag contained all white balls. In this case the selection does not achieve a representative sample and would rate as biased. If someone thoroughly mixed the black and white balls, then a sample of five would have a much greater chance of rating as a represen­tative sample.

49 It proves easy to make errors when trying to select a representative sample and these notes only touch on the problem.

50 However in the day-to-day problems of any business, especially on the production side, reports come to Managers that will include unrepresenta­tive samples.

51 If Managers base their decisions on such unrepresentative samples, probably they will make bad decisions – until they discover the poorness of the sample.

52 Thus, sometimes Managers learn to select representative samples by trial and error.

Use the Right Number of Items in any one Check

53 Sometimes people make a bad check because they check too few items in their check.

54 Example. Using the bag-of-marbles example, should the sample contain five balls or ten or thirty?

55 Managers who have little knowledge of the two areas of the representa­tives of a sample and the right size should seek expert advice. They should seek people who have studied these subjects in a course such as Statistics, Engineering, or Psychology.

Choose check points relevant to the Manager involved

56 Different Managers have different abilities and methods of managing. A check which will prove very useful to one Manager may not prove so useful to another. However Managers should take care in using this factor. Sometimes a Manager’s favourite method will not provide a useful check.

Standards And Their Relationship To Evaluation

57 Checking has two major parts. First, someone measures something and second, they evaluate what this measurement means (i.e. they compare the measurement with a standard and draw a conclusion based on the comparison).

58 Readers should distinguish between measurement and evaluation. Meas­urement compares something with a scale. Evaluation compares this measure­ment with a standard and draws a conclusion about the comparison.

59 No evaluation can occur without a standard.

A Meaning for – Standard

60 Standard -  a point on, or part of, a scale which someone believes will help evaluate progress toward an objective*.

The Objective of Standards

61 People use standards to evaluate progress toward an objective. Meas­urement and Evaluation will allow someone to determine if a need exists for additional actions, over and above the actions already planned and due for, or in the process of, implementation.

* Many management books discuss types of standards. However, according to the definition used in these notes, many of them really discuss types of scales.

A Relationship between Standard and Objective

62 All Objectives belong to the class: standards. (This point assumes that someone tries to achieve the objective – and the usual meaning of the word implies this assumption.) However all standards do NOT become objectives.

63 Examples. A standard may exist for (a) height to enter the police force, (b) the amount of money to pay to stand for parlia­ment or (c) the speed of writing shorthand to become a Court Reporter. However, unless someone aims to achieve (or go close to achieving) any of these particular standards, they do not rate as objectives.

64 A standard becomes an objective when (a) someone tries to meet it or (b) someone believes someone else should try to meet it.

65 Briefly, Standard + Intention to Achieve = an Objective. Objectives provide two -point Scales

66 Once a person has determined an objective* a two-point scale exists. The scale consists of the following two points: the achievement of the objective or the non-achievement of the objective. Thus one point provides a standard.

67 Provided someone defines the objective clearly; they and others can measure whether someone has achieved the objective or not.

68 However once someone concerns themselves with the degree of success or failure of an objective they will need a scale with more than two points. Further they will find it much harder to establish a scale or (more cor­rectly) establish the units on a scale to measure the degree of success (or failure).

A Definition for – Good Standard

69 The definition of a good standard listed below probably rates as spe­cific. However Readers may have difficulty understanding it if they do not understand the ideas involved in a Hierarchy of Objectives.*

70 Good standard – : the point on, or part of, a scale for a particular factor which (if the performance reaches the specified point (or band)) will help to achieve the next-higher-level objective in the .*

71 Example. A Factory produces Widgets and has an order for 100 Widgets to leave the factory by Day “20″. The following sub-objective** if achieved will help to achieve the end objective of 100 Widgets – Produce 10 “Bits” by Day 15. (A “Bit” rates as an essential tool for making a Widget).

* These notes on (a) and (b)  define an objective as: a result in the future which someone believes someone should try to achieve.

it The  notes on Objectives provide information on “

** Other sub-objectives exist which someone has to achieve to achieve the end objective but the example does not include them.

72 The sub-objective uses the factor or scale “Number of Bits”. On Day 15 the performance measured shows 10 bits. A comparison with the standard of ten shows the factory has achieved what it needed to do on this sub-objective. But does ten rate as a good (correct) standard? In the past while using the “Bits” to produce Widgets one in every ten “Bits” has failed.   This failure also happens on this occasion – a “Bit” fails and nine Bits will not allow the completion of 100 Widgets by Day 20. Thus the Factory Manager used the wrong standard for the number of “Bits” to pro­duce.

73 People who want to achieve an end objective will need to achieve sub-objectives. Further they will need to achieve sub-sub-objectives to achieve the sub-objectives (and so on down the Hierarchy of Objectives).

74 A check can start with someone measuring performance in relation to a sub-objective. But the check also needs a standard for that sub-objective. If the performance achieves that standard, that performance will lead to achievement of one or more sub-objectives on the next level.

75 Similarly checks also need standards for sub-sub-objectives to help ensure that the performance on the sub-sub-objectives – if it reaches standard – will really help to achieve higher-level sub-objectives.

76 In summary, if a measure of performance rates as accurate but the standard rates as wrong, a check which uses such a wrong standard will not rate as a good (useful) check.

77 In many cases. people will find difficulty in finding good standards.

78 Example. For the end objective: “Construct a new factory by a certain time”, a whole variety of sub-objectives exist such as: Select the site, Design the building, Lay foundations, Build various parts, etc. Alongside these objectives others exist such as: Motivate people to – work hard, design well, plan well, direct others well, and check others correctly. However what minimum standard of work, design, plan, direct, and check will make it possible to achieve a higher-level objective such as – Pour foun­dations on time.

79 People will find it much easier to select good standards for tangible factors than intangible ones. This situation occurs because of the poor­ness of the scales available to measure many intangible factors.

80 Examples. Consider the difficulty of measuring co­operativeness, team spirit, assertiveness, intelligence, potential for Senior Management and deciding a standard for these different things. In other words how much (= what standard of) co-opera­tiveness, or team spirit, or intelligence etc. does a section or person require in order to ensure achievement of a higher-level objective such as – Manage the Section well?

Effectiveness and Efficiency Standards

81 Two aspects exist with respect to progress toward an objective: (a) effectiveness and (b) efficiency.

82 Effectiveness describes whether an activity has achieved an objective. Thus a check can occur on one stage which (if achieved) will help achieve an end objective. The check can show the achievement of the stage. Thus the work done for that stage rates as effective.

83 Efficiency describes the amount of resources (e.g.. the time or cost) involved in achieving an objective.

84 Examples. A man travels from one town (A) to another town (B).  If he reaches B then his activity rates as effective. However he may achieve his objective (B) by using varying amounts of resources. He may walk fast and take 5 hours or walk more slowly and take 6 hours. Thus he uses a shorter amount of his time (a resource). He has a different efficiency but the same effectiveness. He may ride a bike and take 3 hours and use less of his time but spend more money resources by paying to hire the bike. Again a different efficiency exists but all the different methods rate as effective.

85 Efficiency had no meaning with respect to an ineffective activity. However, as the examples show, someone may carry out an effective activity (achieving a result) but with varying degrees of efficiency.

The Cost of using Effectiveness & Efficiency Standards

86 Probably Managers will find it less expensive to determine end-result standards since they only need a two-point scale: has someone met the objective or not?

87 Standards for efficiency aspects often cost more to determine. People usually find it fairly easy to agree that something will help progress the objective (i.e. its effectiveness), but find it difficult to assess how quickly people should do the job (i.e. an efficiency aspect).

88 As discussed above (paragraph 84), a check may show a stage as effec­tive. However a check could occur on the efficiency with which someone carried out the stage.

The Likely Use of Efficiency Standards

89 Managers will tend not to check on efficiency when -

(a) no standards exist for measuring efficiency* – and it will pot prove easy to obtain good standards

(b) only poor standards exist – and it will pot prove easy to obtain good standards

(c) they do =I feel confident that they know how to reach an end objective

(d) they do not anticipate having to achieve the end objective in the future or only very few times in (say) a year.

* Little value will come from measuring how long it took someone to walk from Town A to Town B, if no-one knows how long it should take i.e. no time standard exists.

90 Managers will tend to check on efficiency when -

(a) they feel confident they will achieve thd end objective and they will have to achieve the same end objective again (many times) in the future

(b) they have good standards and the likely benefits from improved efficiency will outweigh the cost of checking and making changes to improve efficiency

(c) they want to choose between different stages and/or methods

(d) they want to choose a correct sequence to use in trying to achieve sub-objectives. (One sequence may help to achieve an end objective or a stage faster than another sequence.)

91 Checks on efficiency aspects of a stage or a method tend to occur more in the planning stage.

92 Example. Someone estimates that two or more stages (or meth­ods) will both achieve the next-higher-level objective (i.e. rate as effective). But they consider the efficiency aspects in order to choose the stage (method) to use.

93 Once someone has achieved a result, a check on the actual efficiency (as well as the effectiveness) will help to plan better when trying to achieve the same or a similar end objective again.

No Need to measure accurately except Close to the Standard

94 A measuring device (a scale) can consist of many points. Some scales do not measure very accurately (eg. a scale of co-operativeness). However, in some situations, Managers only concern themselves with the point or band on the scale used as a standard. As long as the measurement shows some­thing exceeding the standard then sometimes it will not matter by how much. In such cases Managers only need an accurate scale close to the standard they use.

95 In practice, Managers often use a two-point scale to check some charac­teristics of their staff. Thus either a Subordinate does, or does not, have sufficient interest in their job. If the Subordinate has sufficient interest, the Manager will not have any need to measure the degree of interest over and above the standard.

96 The phrase “hurdle requirement” aptly describes this approach; people have, or have not, jumped the hurdle.

97 In this type of situation, Managers measure and evaluate to determine whether or not to take action i.e. they make a yes/no type of decision.

98 Sometimes they use a three point scale for the factor measured. •

99 Example. Manager A uses Inadequate, About Adequate, or Above Adequate. Manager B uses Unsuitable, Doubtful, or Suitable.

100 Probably Managers take the two or three-point approach because of the difficulty of measuring the type of things considered, i.e. the lack of a useful (accurate) scale.

101 If Managers could quantify (measure) these intangible and qualitative factors more accurately probably they would use more-accurate measurements and standards. Then they could use a number of different standards on a scale according to the particular problem under consideration.

102 Example. The degree of interest of particular Employees would rate as an important factor in distinguishing who should do a particular job. A Manager would use Person “A” with a high degree of tact and diplomacy under some circumstances. Other circumstances would call for Person “B” who has less tact but more ability to implement unpopular ideas. However to take this ap­proach, Managers need a scale which measures different amounts of tact.

The Need For Subordinates To Understand And Accept Standards

103 When checking, Managers should remember they should communicate care­fully the standards used to check others. Two aspects stand out: Do the people concerned (a) understand the standard and (b) accept it.

104 If Subordinates do not understand and/or accept the standard used for a check, often it will have a bad effect on the Subordinate’s desire (motivation) to work towards a particular objective.

Unfair Standards

105 Managers should ask the following questions to help check whether people will accept a standard: “Does this particular person have the position authority to alter some of the matters which I use to check on that person’ performance?”

106 Senior Managers often check on the profitability of a Manager’s Sec­tion. However sometimes they forget that the particular Manager in charge of a section does not have the authority to alter some of the expense items included in their section’s expenditure.

107 Example. Mary, a higher-level Manager than Tom, introduces a particular maintenance plan (or some new procedure or a new product) into Tom’s section and Tom does not have the right to reject the plan (procedure or product).

108 The above idea does not mean that Chief Executives or Senior Managers should not issue instructions for the good of the Organisation as a whole. However they should realise that sometimes such instructions lead to the m -acceptance of standards to evaluate the results of a particular section by people within the section. Such people know (or, at least, believe) that they cannot do much to affect the section’s results they control ­with respect to the areas influenced by the instructions of the Chief Executive.

109 In these cases, Senior Managers should try to obtain an answer to the following important question. Does Manager “A” feel so annoyed at a stand­ard which “A” rates as unfair that it has a bad effect on the way “A” goes about tackling their whole job (or a major part of it)?

Will a particular scale produce a useful check?

110 These notes have already mentioned the need to select the right scale for checking the achievement of a particular objective. This point deserves re-emphasis. If Managers chose the wrong scale (factor) as their basis for a check they will make a poor check.

111 Example. Most businesses need new Customers to keep going ­old Customers die, change, move away, and so on. Managers should realise this point and check something which reflects this problem and help achieve the objective of overcoming it.

112 Sales Managers may chose the scale: number of new Customers obtained per Sales Representatives. They may arrange for each Sales Representative to supply information which will help to check this factor. They may choose two new Customers per Sales Representative per month as a suitable standard. On the surface this standard appears useful until the Managers realise they have the wrong scale. They find that they really needs the VALUE of new business from new Customers, not the number of new Customers. Once they realise this point they will change the scale used to the value of sales from new Customers per month per Representative and choose a standard on this different scale.

113 The previous example illustrates the point that Managers should choose the right objectives on which to check. Drucker (a Management Writer) has summed up the point by contrasting: (a) doing the right thing with (b) doing things right.

114 Examples. (a) A Company should desire to make profitable sales, not just sales at any price. (b) Maintenance people should not want to cut down costs if by reducing maintenance costs now they will increase the costs in six month’s time. (c) Managers should not just “put out the fires”; they should spend time think­ing about how to eliminate the causes of the “fires”.

115 Most Managers know that they have to check, but they should not check wrong things simply because they find it easier to get a scale for one aspect than for another. The correctness of an objective to check must receive higher importance than easy access to a scale.

116 Which scales will produce useful checks poses a difficult question.

117 A scale provides a method of measuring a particular factor. A meas­urement will produce a result which indicates a point or band on a scale.

118 Thus the question becomes more useful if changed to – “Well reaching a particular performance (result) help to achieve the next higher level objective?”.

119 Example. In all the examples which follow the second objec­tive rates as the next-higher-level objective (a) Will sales of 1,000 widgets produce a profit. (b) Will a reduction in mainte­nance costs produce lower expenses for the next six months. (c) Will putting out a fire produce fewer fires.

120 If a result helps to achieve the next-higher level objective, then the scale used will provide a useful check.

121 However this answer has its limitations – what if achieving the next-higher level objective does not help to achieve the objective on the second

level above the original objective. Thus a check rates as useful only within certain limits. *

Which should come first – set a standard or measure performance?

122 A Manager may set standards (a) before measuring performance or (b) after, measuring performance.

123 Sometimes setting standards before measuring performance helps show up unclear objectives and leads to actions to make them clearer.

124 Sometimes standards before performance make it easier to communicate to others what the Manager wants the others to achieve.

125 Sometimes Managers (try to) set standards after they have measured performance.

126 As an illustration, Managers often ask a Subordinate how much they have done (of a job). At this stage, the Manager tries to assess whether the Subordinate has moved in the right direction and at an appropriate speed.

127 In this case, Managers often use standards from their own experience.

128 Sometimes they use an inaccurate standard. Managers will find out they have done so if they make some critical remark and the Subordinates can justify the direction and speed of their efforts.

129 However, on other occasions, the background experience of the Managers allows them to do a good job of checking. In such cases setting standards before performance measurement would not prove worth the cost as compared with using a Manager’s experience.

130 Summary. Checking does not necessarily start with setting standards and then measuring performance. Except for the end-objective, a Manager may measure a performance first, then “set” a standard, then make an evalu­ation.

Who should set standards?

131 A standard must rate as useful in showing that a performance which reaches the standard will help to achieve the next-higher-level objective.

* The notes on objectives defines a good objective. This topic rates as similar to determining a good check.

132 But if no-one tries to achieve such a good standard it will have little value.

133 Two possible sources of standards exist -

(a) The Manager sets an objective and communicates it to the Subordi­nate. The communication states or implies that the Manager wants the Subordinate to accept the standard and work towards achieving it.

(b) A Subordinate sets a standard. Presumably the Subordinate be­lieves the Subordinate should try to achieve the standard.

134 In the second case, the Subordinate agrees with the standard – al­though the process does not necessarily make it a rood standard.

135 In the first case, three broad possibilities exist. The Subordinate can -

(a) agree with the objective

(b) feel neutral about the objective

(c) disagree with the objective

136 The Subordinate will not need to play a part in setting the standard where the Subordinate agrees with the objective (the first class).

137 Whether Subordinates will try to achieve the standard in the last two classes will depend on the relationship with their Manager.

138 The idea of a Zone of Acceptance has usefulness in this case. The Zone of Acceptance* specifies the hypothetical area which describes the objectives which a person will accept they should try to achieve, because the person rates them as reasonable, normal, or non-controversial for the relationship held with the giver of the objective(s). Subordinates will try to achieve objectives which fall within the Zone of Acceptance.

139 In cases where an objective lies close to the boundary of the Zone of Acceptance, a Manager should arrange that the Subordinate play a part in setting the standard.

140 People who help set a standard have a higher probability of believing that they can achieve it. Unless they have such a belief, probably they will not try hard to achieve the standard.

141 Thus these people should either set the standard or play a signifi­cantly large role in setting the standard so that they will accept the standard.

Should managers set standards at all?

142 Managers will gain little value from setting a standard for a stage, if they do not intend to take a measurement at that particular stage.

* For further information on the Zone of Acceptance, see the notes “

144 The setting of standards usually takes time. Managers should assess the cost of this time in relation to the advantages of having (or not having) a particular standard for a particular perfdrmance measurement.

145 Managers will find it uneconomic to set standards for every stage and every method used to achieve an end result.

How well will people check themselves?

146 Some people who check themselves will make excuses for themselves and defend their performance as at least satisfactory.

147 Probably if people have Supervisors above them who know both the performance measurement and the related standard, this arrangement will offset this tendency. The very fact that someone else will check the same evidence that a person uses for checking themselves will help to ensure a realistic check.

Who should check first?

148 A person who measures the performance of others should consider who should have the first chance to check their results.

149 In most cases, the person who does the actual work should have the

first chance to check it.          Managers should not place the “Doers” in a
situation where an outsider checks their work and has evidence which the “Doers” do not have.

150 From a broader viewpoint, the actual “Doers” should have the first opportunity to control themselves.

151 If “Doers measure their performance and evaluate their result, they have a chance to correct themselves. However what if they do not check themselves very wisely? A system which reduces this problem specifies that the “Doers” must report the check to a higher organisation level. This system allows them to report not only the result of the check, but also the action they have taken (or propose to take) to correct the situation (if required).

152 Example. An Internal Auditor looks at the accuracy a Sec‑

tion’s accounting and its compliance with procedures.         Ideally
such an Auditor’s report should go first to the Manager of the Section and then the Manager can discuss the report with the Auditors. Next the Manager can take action to fix any error. In such a case the Manager has a greater chance of welcoming the Auditors as an aid to the Manager’s own managing, rather than as a spy from Head Office.

Reducing The Amount Of Checking Needed

153 One way to reduce the amount of checking needed in an organisation involves obtaining better personnel (at both the Operating and various Managerial levels) and encouraging these people to take more care about carrying out their work effectively.

Even Good Checking Cannot Overcome Major Uncertainties

154 A Manager’s environment will include many elements of uncertainty (eg. war, large-scale economic recession, etc.) and these elements will spoil otherwise excellent managing. Thus even good standards and good checking will not ensure the achievement of objectives.

the relationship of checking to controlling and effective controlling checking – a part of controlling

155 The following paragraphs show that checking rates as one part of Controlling. In brief, checking plus re-planning and re-directing equals controlling.

A Definition of Controlling

156 These notes use the definition of controlling given below in order to explain the relationship between checking and controlling.

157 Controlling: The Process Of Trying To Achieve An Objective

158 This definition does not describe effective controlling because of the word “trying”.

Controlling refers to People (Oneself or Others) and Non-People

159 Probably most people believe the word controlling refers to activities which attempt to ensure progress towards a particular objective. This meaning refers to the following three different possibilities.

160 People control themselves toward objectives.

161 Examples. If Harry aims to draw a line down the centre of a page then unless he checks that the line has not moved off the centre line (by looking at the distance from the sides of the page) he will probably lose control of the direction he wants his hand to take and not achieve the objective.

162 People (eg. Managers) use other people to achieve an end objective and (try to) control others toward achieving the particular objective.

163 Example. Leonie asks Mary to achieve objective ”X”. Suppose Mary does not try to achieve the objective or does it badly. If Leonie does not check she cannot change the situation and control Mary toward the achievement of “X”.

164 A non-personal device does the controlling.

165 Example. A Thermostat controls the temperature of a refrig­erator so that it achieves the objective of a certain temperatures within given limits despite the heat or coldness outside the refrigerator. A part of the thermostat checks the current temper­ature of the refrigerator and compare it with a standard tempera­ture set on the thermostat.

Good Checking does not necessarily achieve good Controlling

166 A good (effective) check will MI necessarily lead to good controlling.

167 Suppose a good check occurs; but it shows an unsatisfactory situation. Thus someone (or something) must stop or alter the situation in some way to make future activities contribute towards the objective.

168 Examples. (Refer to the examples paragraphs 143, 145, and 147 above.) (a) Drawing a line down the centre of a page. Move the pencil to the right so that it moves toward the centre of the page. (b) Achieve Objective X. Get the Subordinate to do some­thing different or faster or provide him with assistance from another Subordinate. (c) Refrigerator Temperature. Stop (or start) the device which cools the refrigerator.

169 These new objectives mean that further direction must take place.

170 Examples. The brain must direct the hand. The Manager must direct the Subordinate. The thermostat must turn on, or off, the cooling device).

171 In order to direct, some planning must take place to decide the best instruction or direction. (Example. Should the hand move quickly or gradually back to the centre of the page?)

172 The above shows that the following activities must occur in attempting to control anything; checking, planning, and directing.

173 Summary.            Controlling involves checking plus re-planning and re‑

directing. Thus checking rates as one part of controlling and by itself will control nothing. Action must occur as a result of the check (which shows an unsatisfactory result) for controlling to occur. But controlling must involve checking.

Conclusion*

174 These notes look at a basic activity of managing – checking – which often receives little attention.

175 If a check shows – everything on course, then few people will gain much satisfaction from checking.

176 Checking fits into the class of insurance – It offers an uninteresting element which costs a significant amount of money and, if not required, gets little attention or praise for having it. But when (eg.) a fire oc­curs, the insurance proves very important. However people will not tend to praise the person who took out the insurance, but certainly they will criticise strongly if insurance does not exist.

177 The same points apply to checking: if Managers do not check and some­thing goes wrong then they have managed poorly. If they do check and have to do nothing, few people even know. If they check and have to change their plans then observers will tend to say that they have only done what they should do and they do not deserve any special praise.

* This section equals the section at

Return to top of page

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s