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  • Writer's picturePeak Frameworks Team

Management by Objectives: The Key to Achieving Corporate Goals

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What is Management by Objectives?

In today's fast-paced and highly competitive business environment, companies need to stay focused on achieving their goals. In finance and corporate settings, this means setting clear objectives and finding ways to ensure that everyone is working towards them. One popular method for achieving this is Management by Objectives (MBO).

Management by Objective Process
Source: Hub Spot

Management by Objectives is a management technique that was first introduced by Peter Drucker in the 1950s. It is a process that involves setting goals and objectives for an organization, department, or individual, and then monitoring and evaluating progress towards those goals.

The MBO process typically involves three stages: goal setting, developing action plans, and reviewing performance. Goals are set based on specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) criteria. The goals are then broken down into smaller objectives, and specific action plans are developed to achieve those objectives. Performance is then reviewed periodically, and feedback is provided to help individuals or teams improve performance.

How does Management by Objectives work?

The MBO process involves several key steps, including setting objectives, developing action plans, and reviewing performance.

Setting Objectives

The first step in the MBO process is to set clear and specific objectives. This involves defining what needs to be accomplished, creating a hierarchy of objectives, and setting measurable objectives. For example, a finance team might set an objective to reduce costs by 10% over the next year.

Developing Action Plans

Once objectives have been established, the next step is to create a detailed plan to achieve those objectives. This involves assigning responsibilities, setting deadlines, and identifying the resources needed to achieve the objectives. For example, the finance team might assign specific tasks to each team member, set deadlines for completing those tasks, and identify the resources needed to achieve the 10% cost reduction objective.

Reviewing Performance

The final step in the MBO process is to periodically review performance and evaluate progress toward objectives. This involves conducting reviews, evaluating results, and providing feedback to help individuals or teams improve performance. For example, the finance team might conduct a monthly review of progress toward the cost reduction objective, evaluate the results achieved, and provide feedback to help team members improve their performance.

Benefits of Management by Objectives

Benefits of Management by objective
Source: Business Study Notes

Implementing MBO can have several benefits for finance and corporate settings, including:

Alignment of Individual and Organizational Objectives

MBO helps to ensure that everyone in the organization is working towards the same goals and objectives.

Clarity of Expectations

MBO provides clear guidelines for what needs to be accomplished and how it will be accomplished.

Improved Performance

MBO helps to improve performance by providing a structured process for setting and achieving goals.

Increased Employee Engagement and Motivation

MBO can increase employee engagement and motivation by providing a clear sense of purpose and direction.

Improved Communication

MBO promotes better communication by ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Better Decision-Making

MBO can lead to better decision-making by providing clear guidelines for what needs to be accomplished and how it will be accomplished

Challenges of Management by Objectives

While MBO can be an effective management technique, it can also present several challenges, including:

Difficulty in Setting Measurable Objectives

Setting measurable objectives can be challenging, particularly in complex organizations or industries.

Resistance to Change

Implementing MBO can require changes in how work is done, which can be met with resistance.

Lack of Commitment

MBO requires commitment from all levels of the organization, from top management to frontline employees. Without commitment, the process may fail to achieve its intended objectives.

Overemphasis on Short-term Goals

MBO may lead to an overemphasis on short-term goals, which can lead to neglecting long-term strategic planning.

Inadequate Resources

MBO requires adequate resources, including time, money, and personnel, to be successful. Without sufficient resources, the process may fail to achieve its objectives.

Implementation of Management by Objectives

Implementation of Management by Objective
Source: MInd Tools

To implement MBO successfully, several steps should be taken, including:

Steps for Successful Implementation

These include defining objectives, creating a plan of action, assigning responsibilities, setting deadlines, reviewing performance, and providing feedback.

Role of Management and Employees

Managers should provide guidance and support throughout the process, while employees should be actively involved in setting objectives and developing action plans.

Training and Development

Employees may need training and development to effectively implement MBO, particularly in areas such as goal setting, action planning, and performance evaluation.


Management by Objectives is a powerful management technique that can help finance and corporate teams align individual and organizational objectives to improve performance and achieve success. However, implementing MBO requires commitment and resources and can present several challenges. By following the steps outlined in this article, finance, and corporate teams can successfully implement MBO and reap the benefits of this powerful management technique.


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