The management process is a constant cycle in which executives define and control the business processes in their organizations. It may relate to the management of the entire organization, but also to the management of individual departments or projects. Typically, the management process consists of four phases: setting objectives, planning, implementation, and control.
Setting objectives helps to focus the company on specific goals over a period of time and can motivate staff to meet the objectives set. Types of objectives include financial, strategic, operational, innovative, and learning objectives. One way to develop effective objectives is to use the SMART approach, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed. SMART objectives describe a specific outcome, are quantifiable, realistic to achieve, and relevant to the organization, and include clearly defined finish and/or start dates. Planning is the mental anticipation of actions necessary in order to achieve the desired objectives. A distinction can be made between short-term operational planning, mid-term tactical planning, and long-term strategic planning (LINK). The result of planning is a plan which may or may not be a written document. Once decisions have been made, they need to be implemented. This involves mobilizing and utilizing qualified staff and resources, establishing appropriate lines of authority and communication, setting time schedules, and defining means of action. Finally, the results of a plan need to be measured and evaluated, with changes made if necessary to keep the desired direction.
Effective communication is a crucial link between these phases and a prerequisite for a well-functioning management process.