By Peter Muturi
Many people admire the titles of a managing director, CEO or president of a company. How do these titles come to be? They all start as a career in management. Management is an art and a science of planning, organizing, directing and monitoring factors of production so that they are more effective in production. Starting a career in management will require you to decide which field in management you wan to specialize. Is it project management, business management, change management or performance management? In any field you choose to specialize you will have some benefits and some challenges too. On the positive, management careers are associated with a good salary, great power, a prestigious status and a sense of personal accomplishment if you are successful. On the other hand you will always have someone eyeing your job, you will morally and legally be responsible for the decisions you make, the feedback to your input is not immediate and you can also be quite lonely at the top.
To be a success story in management you have to be aware of the four pillars of management. These are planning, organizing, directing and monitoring. What you do at each stage and how you do it is what matters. Let us look at each stage very briefly to see what it entails.
The saying that prior preparation or planning prevents poor performance applies to management in full swing. Planning primarily involves having a goal and then strategizing on how to achieve it. You need to develop several methods that you can use to achieve your goal and then choose the most effective one. It is at this point that you also have to look at all the possible scenarios and develop strategies of dealing with them if they ever arise.
After planning you have to organize. Organizing will involve making sure that you have the right resources that you need to carry out your plan successfully. The resources may be in form of manpower or machinery. If it is people, you need to make sure they are well trained and that they have the necessary competence to deliver. If you are working with machines they should be in proper working condition and the spares should be available in case of anything. The equipment should also get to you in time.
Now that your people are well equipped and the machines are set, you need to tell them what to do by directing them. Share the long term goal with your staff and let them know you want to achieve. This way they will be able to collectively work towards this goal. Let each of them know that their contribution is important to the success of the entire project.
Finally, you will now need to monitor the progress of the project and intervene where necessary. Problems are bound to arise, and when they do, you need to make use of the plans you had made at the beginning to solve them.