Management by objectives


I would have to say that for me, management is one of the most difficult of subjects to tackle. You see, I find manipulation a disturbing human trait, and so often management requires a bit of manipulation. Still, it is probably very helpful to expose manipulation techniques, for then we might understand how to rightly manage human resources without playing the manipulation game.

So, first of all we need to expose the manipulation game. There are two ways of getting people to do what we want them to do. There is negative manipulation which employs force, mental abuse, psychological abuse, guilt...... This is the school playground game - you be my friend or I'm going to hurt you. Then there is positive manipulation which employs kindness for the sake of reward. The game is - you be my friend and I will give you a lolly.

Management is the business of organizing human resources toward the attainment of a particular objective. In fact, most things in life require the involvement of more than one person and so if we are to do it well, management techniques will need to be employed. Little is achieved by ourselves, much by the many. How do we then manage the many to achieve the much?

For a church, the effective management of such a diverse group of people is essential. The standard management technique is fatherly manipulation, usually in the form of emotional blackmail. Added to this is spiritual blackmail - "the bishop of the flock" has God on his side. The method requires making others feel insecure and vulnerable and therefore open to our dictates. I hesitate giving this quotation, but it is just so true. Charles Colson in his book "All the Presidents Men", speaks of the sign on his office wall, "If you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow." Pure manipulation!

One tried and true method of management does commend itself, namely, Management by Objectives. Once a group of people have decided on their objectives, it is easy for them to set short-term goals aimed at the objectives and then step out as individuals to achieve those goals without manipulation. It was certainly the way Jesus worked with his disciples. Most of the time that he was with them, he would work at expounding the truth - a truth that would set them free. When Jesus left the apostles, they were a group of empowered individuals with focused objectives. Thus, the gospel moved to the ends of the earth. So here is at least one method of management worth considering. Should we not be a people driven by truth freely accepted?