MBOs? Should I pull out my scrunchies and legwarmers, too? Okay, MBOs (Management By Objectives) may be a little old school, but they are in the “oldie, but goodie” category.

Here’s why:

Clarity Creators: I like to use these with W-2s employees – people that are full-time and have a lot of stuff swirling around them.  They really enable the person (and me, as their supervisor) to understand that they have to keep their eyes on a loftier goal beyond just the day to day.

Career Pathing: With both junior as well as veteran folk, using the MBO process as a way to prompt a discussion about where the person wants to go and what the next job looks like is very powerful.  You get to show that you are not only realistic (who really thinks a person is going to stay in the same role at the same employer till they retire these days?) but that you care about the person (i.e., let’s work together to figure out how to get you to where you want to go, hopefully, within the same company).

SMART: Done correctly, MBOs should be specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound.  For example, Person X has been asked to take on responsibilities within the sales arena.  This might look like:

  • Specific: Adding opportunities that are matched to the company’s Ideal Client Profile into the company’s CRM
  • Measurable: 50 per month
  • Achievable: Ensuring that the proper training has occurred so that they are able to perform the function
  • Results-focused: The 50 per month should generate some subset that go to the next step in the sales pipeline process
  • Time-bound: The activity should take no more than 10% of Person’s X time on a weekly basis.

Use the tool that works best for you and your organization and the culture that exists…but use something.  You and your employees deserve the clarity of knowing whether you are succeeding or failing.

An Atlanta native, Alex graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor's degree in Management and received a Master's degree in Information Systems from George Washington University. After a 15-year career in manufacturing, health information management, and financial services, Alex broadened his experience even more by working in diverse industries ranging from multiple professional service verticals (e.g., law, medical, engineering, etc.) to the non-profit sector. He was instrumental in the turn-around of a public company which subsequently sold for $300MM. Alex's root's run deep through the Atlanta community he serves. He is a mentor in the Georgia Tech Mentor Jackets program, President Emeritus of the Georgia Tech Intown Alumni Network, and an event sponsor for the George Washington University Alumni Association Atlanta Club. He currently serves on the boards of Pinecrest Academy and Lifecycle Building Center, a nonprofit community resource whose mission is to make the lifecycle use of the built environment increasingly efficient and sustainable.