Determine What To Control
The first step in the control process is determining the major areas to control. Managers usually base their major controls on the organizational mission, goals and objectives developed during the planning process.
Managers must make choices because it is expensive and virtually impossible to control every aspect of the organization's activities. In deciding what to control, the organization must communicate through the actions of its executives that strategic control is a needed activity. Without top management's commitment to controlling activities, the control system could be useless.
Set Control Standards
The second step in the control process is establishing standards. A control standards is a target against which subsequent performance will be compared.
Standards are the criteria that enable managers to evaluate future, current, or past actions. They are measured in a variety of ways, including physical, quantitative, and qualitative terms. Five aspects of the performance can be managed and controlled: quantity, quality, time cost, and behavior. Each aspect of control may need additional categorizing.
An organization must identify the targets, determine the tolerances those targets, and specify the timing of consistent with the organization's goals defined in the first step of determining what to control. For example, standards might indicate how well a product is made or how effectively a service is to be delivered.
Standards may also reflect specific activities or behaviors that are necessary to achieve organizational goals. Goals are translated into performance standards by making them measurable. An organizational goal to increase market share, for example, may be translated into a top-management performance standard to increase market share by 10 percent within a twelve-month period. Helpful measures of strategic performance include: sales (total, and by division, product category, and region), sales growth, net profits, return on sales, assets, equity, and investment cost of sales, cash flow, market share, product quality, valued added, and employees productivity.
Quantification of the objective standard is sometimes difficult. For example, consider the goal of product leadership. An organization compares its product with those of competitors and determines the extent to which it pioneers in the introduction of basis product and product improvements. Such standards may exist even though they are not formally and explicitly stated.
Setting the timing associated with the standards is also a problem for many organizations. It is not unusual for short-term objectives to be met at the expense of long-term objectives.
Management must develop standards in all performance areas touched on by established organizational goals. The various forms standards are depend on what is being measured and on the managerial level responsible for taking corrective action.
Commonly uses as an example, the following eight types of standards have been set by General Electric :
- Profitability standards : These standards indicate how much profit General Electric would like to make in a given time period.
- Market position standards : These standards indicate the percentage of total product market that company would like to win from competitors.
- Productivity standards : These production-oriented standards indicate various acceptable rates which final products should be generated within the organization.
- Product leadership standards : Product leadership standards indicate what levels of product innovation would make people view General Electric products as leaders in the market.
- Personnel development standards : Personnel development standards list acceptable of progress in this area.
- Employee attitude standards : These standards indicate attitudes that General Electric employees should adopt.
- Public responsibility standards : All organizations have certain obligations to society. General Electric's standards in this area indicate acceptable levels of activity within the organization directed toward living up to social responsibilities.
- Standards reflecting balance between short-range and long-range goals . Standards in this area indicate what the acceptable long- and short - range goals are and the relationship among them.
Critical Control Points and Standards. The principle of critical point control, one of the more important control principles, states: "Effective control requires attention against plans". There are, however, no specific catalog of controls available to all managers because of the peculiarities of various enterprises and departments, the variety of products and services to be measured, and the innumerable planning programs to be followed.