Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Management by Objectives

When I was a young teacher one of my principals decided that he would implement a management by objectives program in our school. At the beginning of each trimester (we were on the trimester system - three sessions between September and June) he asked each teacher to set some objectives and then at the end of the trimester this list was looked at again and the teacher needed to tell the principal if and how each objective was achieved.

We very quickly discovered if we didn't take any risks, that is, if we set objectives that we know we could meet we would make the principal happy. He could create a report that said something like: My teachers set 83 objectives for themselves and achieved 97% It would look like we accomplished something.

The reality was that we had set such inane objectives that we weren't progressing as a school. We weren't encouraged to take risks - why set an objective that you might not meet and then get criticized for not meeting your objectives? But there was 'peace' in the school.

That experiment ended fairly quickly - the principal was smart enough to recognize what was happening.

So what has MBO got to do with my blog? Well it has to do with my new year's resolutions. If you read my early resolution (to commit to writing in my blog on a regular basis) you know that I didn't meet that objective.

New Year's resolutions are like setting MBOs. Its hard to publicly set an objective that involves risks.

but I am a brave man so here goes.

1. I will make at least 300 entries to this blog during 2007
2. I will exercise at least three times a week ( I worked out today)
3. I will lose at least 20 pounds by June 1
4. I will use my new digital camera regularly and post some of the pictures on this blog

If I actually meet the first objective you will be kept up to date on the other three.

Wish me luck