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It is difficult to be efficient without clear objectives

How clear are your objectives in your organisation?

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After 16 years of teaching personal efficiency and planning, I still get surprised (or even chocked) when I see how many employees do not have a clear picture of their work related objectives. Off course they do not go to work every day without knowing what to do. But a surprisingly large part of the employees are uncertain about what the objectives are.

My question is always: How do you prioritise without clear objectives?

In the book ”Den effektive leder” (The efficient manager), I interview 20 managers, who all are conscious about working with efficiency, and I always ask them about their specific objectives. Liselotte Astrup, IT manager in Folketinget’s (the Danish parliament) administration, says:

”I do my best when both objectives and results are clear... Both for myself and my employees.The objectives must be clear and visible. Clear objectives are a basic premise for working efficiently. I actually meet managers, who think it is a waste of time formulating objectives. ”We know what we are supposed to do”, they say. It may be that the manager knows the objectives, but how should the employees know, if you do not visualise them? … The objectives must be pinned out and follow up on, so both manager and employees can make sense of them, what they do and see the use-value in the big picture", Liselotte says.

Here are a few questions as inspiration. If you are a manager, you could consider asking your employees:

  • How are you measured?
  • How do you let yourself measure? Number of hours, visibility, availability, results ?
  • Are the objectives realistic?
  • Do your surroundings know the objectives?
  • Is the road to follow clear?
  • How do you visualise the objectives and results you create?

If you have difficulties answering the questions, it may be time to match expectations with your immediate manager…

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Trine Kolding
Expert i planning og efficiency, Trinekolding.dk

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