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HOW TO USE OBJECTIVES

Objectives are not fate; they are not direction.

If objective are only good intentions, they are worthless. They must degenerate into work. And work is always specific, always has – or should have – clear, unambiguous, measurable results, a deadline, and a specific assignment of accountability. But objectives that become a straitjacket do harm. Objectives are always based on expectations. And expectations are, at best, informed guesses. The world does not stand still.

The proper way to use objectives is the way an airline uses schedules and flight plans. The schedule provides for the 9AM flight from Los Angeles to get to Boston by 5PM. But if there is a blizzard in Boston that day, the plane will land in Pittsburgh instead and wait out the storm. The flight plan provides for flying at thirty thousand feet and for flying over Denver and Chicago. But if the pilot encounters turbulence or strong headwinds, he will ask flight control for permission to go up another five thousand feet and to take the Minneapolis-Montreal route. Yet no flight is ever operated without a schedule and flight plan. Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are a means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.

ACTION POINT: Set and use objectives the way an airline uses schedules and flight plans.

THE MANAGEMENT LETTER

Managing managers requires special efforts not only to establish common direction, but to eliminate misdirection.

Setting objectives is so important that some of the most effective managers I know have each of their subordinates write a “manager’s letter” twice a year. In this letter to his superior, each manager first defines the objectives of his superior’s job and of his own job as he sees them. He then sets down the performance standards that he believes are being applied to him. Next, he lists the things he must do to attain these goals – and the things within his own unit he considers the major obstacles. He lists the things his superior and the company do that help him and things that hamper him. Finally, he outlines what he proposes to do during the next year to reach his goals. If his superior accepts this statement, the “manager’s letter” becomes the charter under which the manager operates.

Mutual understanding can never be attained by “communications down,” can never be created by talking. It can result only from “communications up.’ It requires both the superior’s willingness to listen and a tool especially designed to make lower managers heard.

ACTION POINT: Write a management letter to your superior twice a year.

Anybody who plays the stock market not as an insider is like a man buying cows in the moonlight.

Daniel Drew

Gambling with cards or dice or stock is all one thing. It’s getting money without giving an equivalent for it.

Henry Ward Beecher

October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens

The man who begins to speculate in stocks with the intention of making a fortune usually goes broke, whereas the man who trades with a view of getting good interest on his money sometimes gets rich.

Charles Henry Dow

One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.

William A. Feather

The reality is that business and investment spending are the true leading indicators of the economy and the stock market. If you want to know where the stock market is headed, forget about consumer spending and retail sales figures. Look to business spending, price inflation, interest rates, and productivity gains.

 

Mark Skousen

One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.

William Feather

Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds – it’s the production of food and fiber from the world’s land and waters. Without agriculture it is not possible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy.

Allan Savory

I don’t know where the stock market is going, but I will say this, that if it continues higher, this will do more to stimulate the economy than anything we’ve been talking about today or anything anybody else was talking about.

Alan Greenspan

One of the very nice things about investing in the stock market is that you learn about all different aspects of the economy. It’s your window into a very large world.

Ron Chernow

Once the brokerage house, rather than the bank, became the locus for American savings, that money would find its way into the stock market, because the broker was someone with a much higher tolerance for risk than the banker.

Ron Chernow

I am not criticizing investing in the stock market; I am an investor.

Grace Napolitano

I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.

Warren Buffett

Every portfolio benefits from bonds; they provide a cushion when the stock market hits a rough patch. But avoiding stocks completely could mean your investment won’t grow any faster than the rate of inflation.

Suze Orman

If stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice.

Norman Ralph

I hate weekends because there is no stock market.

Rene Rivkin Hate

Because of the love affair between the American public and the stock market, it is possible for entrepreneurs, technological visionaries and inventors of every sort to get financing.

Ron Chernow

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