How to align your day-to-day activities towards what you want to achieve in life?
Answer: Using a tool called ‘Management by objectives (MBO) or Management for Objectives (MFO)’!
Oh! WoW! Such a short answer?! So, what is this about?
MFO / MBO, a concept from Total Quality Management (TQM), aligns ‘Vision’ of a company to its daily tasks, across various departments & its personnel. This is a very crude and lay man explanation. [TQM gurus please bear with me!].
If this tool can align the individual employee’s tasks with that of the entire company’s vision; few years back, when I was in a tight spot, I was thinking if this tool can align my daily tasks (personal) with that of what I want to achieve in life. The answer that I got was a splendid, ‘YES’. So, it would help you too*.
[*conditions apply J]
Now that I have asked the question, given the one line answer & its background, let me dwell on the following three things: 1) Situation, 2) Impact and, 3) Resolution / solution. [Thanks to Gartner analysts for this framework].
What is the situation?
As a student (college or school) or as an fresher just out of college working for a company or as a fresh post-graduate searching for a job or working, or it could be anybody (even CEOs); for most part, we might not know what we are doing & how it is going to impact our life (whether personal or professional).
Is this true? Yes. Think about this:
– How many of your friends, have done under graduation in Mechanical & landed in an IT company as an engineer and crib. Man…I did Mechanical for four years & now I am writing code. Why? If only I had known that I would enter IT field, I would have done Computer Science!
– Did under graduation (U.G.in Engineering), then worked for few years, did MBA and joined an Investment Bank in US. Why? [I know this question was asked in the Hindi movie 3idiots].
– Did UG, then my PG, moved to academics, then jumped into industry and from there jumped to take up a different profile. 5 to 10 years have gone by, till now I have not seen ‘Manager’ designation or I have not monetarily achieved anything. God, what should I do!
The above are just few situations or scenarios that we come across in our day to day life. So what is the pattern here?
No one is sure of what they want to do in life. In other words, no one is sure of ‘What they want to stand for?’.
What is the excuse we have for the above questions? The minute I was born, my training to fit into this world started. Pre-school, school, college, join a top company…etc. In all these years, I did not have time to think of where all these activities were leading me to. Some people will say, I thought about this problem, but did not know what to do about this…so I am continuing to do what I have been doing!
What is the impact of the above situation?
The impact, to be precise, the negative impact(s) this creates for an individual:
– Lack of job satisfaction.
– My peers, college buddies are getting twice my salary (this doesn’t mean they have happy either).
– Post my UG, it’s been four or five years in corporate life, I am not sure what I want to do or how to charter from career growth.
– I am doing 10 different things, but, I do not have a collective picture as to how these are going to impact my personal or professional well being.
– I am bogged down by day-to-day transactions but have not done anything impactful.
– I am working twenty hours a day, completely drained and not satisfied either personal or professional life.
– I am totally confused!
In the first part, I had outlined the situation & the negative impact it has on life. In this section (final), I have presented the solution. [I am not claiming this is my thought. Due credit goes to TQM Gurus].
Management For Objectives (MFO)
As you can see from the diagram, there are four components to understand and implement. The four components are: Vision, Mission, Objectives and Action Items.
Why do you need these four components? These components would help one bring focus in what his daily activities are and how it will fit into the bigger picture.
High level explanation:
Things that fall under Vision category should necessarily be long term (10+ years or more).
Have two to four vision items. Like…
1) What you want to be known for? (Ex: The best marketing person)
2) Things related to Financial Independence, health, character, spiritual etc
Time frame: 5 years [Less than the number years in Vision category]
List down 10 things that are linked to your Vision and choose 5 from them.
If my vision statement is ‘I want to become the best Marketing professional’, then, the mission category to have two or three items linked to Marketing. Like, ‘become an expert in B2B marketing’, ‘Become an expert in B2C marketing’, ‘Become a certified Social Media Marketing professional’
Map these items with the appropriate vision statement.
Time frame: 2 years
Repeat the process. Identify 5 areas which are linked to the listed mission statements.
Mission statement: ‘Become an expert in B2B marketing’.
Objective 1: ‘Gain work experience in B2B services marketing’.
Objective 2: ‘Gain work experience in B2B product marketing’.
Time frame: 6 months to 1 year.
For you to achieve the identified objectives, you need to have a short-term plan. ‘Action items’ are for the same.
Objective statement: ‘Become an expert in B2B marketing’.
Action Item: ‘Crack GMAT and gain admission in a top B-School’.
[One can split the above into two action items as well].
Once the chart is filled up:
The above exercise (only to fill the chart) is tough and as we think of filling up this chart, we will understand the amount of ‘clarity’ we have about our life!
But once the chart is filled up, 50% of the work is over! Rest is just execution J
Here I am using ‘execution’ in a very low tone. Management Guru, Ram Charan, has written an entire book on ‘Execution’. I hope you got the drift…execution is not easy. It takes discipline. [I am lagging big time here…need to work on it].
Good news is, you can execute 100% just by focusing all your efforts / activities as identified by you in the chart.
From an earlier state of ‘No clarity’, ‘No plan of action’, ‘I am shooting in the dark state’ etc…now we are better placed. We are equipped with a game plan and we know what to do…
Post this follow, do PDCA. Plan (chart), Do (execute what you had taken as activities), Check (Plan vs Actual goal), and Act (course correction).
Just a thought in ‘House of Thoughts’.
If you find this interesting or useful or feel otherwise…feel free to drop a comment.