Repeating processes in order to identify and incorporate improvements.
One facet of management is called controlling, and it is an important piece of the management puzzle. Control is observing current (and projecting future) processes and operational systems in order to avoid mistakes, identify improvements, ensure objectives are accomplished, and consider the big picture. Organizations are made up of operational systems, each of which can be iterated upon and optimized for improved performance.
The Four Elements of Control
The process of control can usually be divided into the following four components:
The process to be controlled - This is simply the aspect (or entirety) of a process being measured. For example, let's say getting customers to a website via online ads.
The sensor - The sensor is the component that measures the condition being controlled. In this case, Google analytics will provide the information of how many individuals see the ad and how many come to the website as a result.
The comparator - The comparator is the expectation the actual results will be compared to. In our example, let's say we're looking for 5% of people who see the ad to come to the website.
The activator - The activator is what will intervene to improve the process, if necessary. Let's say overall only 2% of people clicked the ad and came to the website. The activator will be the tactical changes management will take to get the current operational efficiency improved to the desired level.
The above example relates primarily to an operational process. Optimizing operational processes is often done at the mid-managerial level. At the upper managerial level, strategic control is a similar process in a broader context. Strategic control pertains to four elements as well:
Mission statements/vision statements/operational plans - the identification and communication of the strategic outcomes desired by the organization
Short and long-term objectives - the description of the strategic activities to be carried out (attached to specific managed resources) in pursuit of the above statements
Measurement and Tracking - the creation and implementation of a reporting system to track the progress and success of the objectives identified
Enabling Iteration - Once the operations are in place, the organization will begin pursuing the noted objectives. At this point, the organization needs systems to change and evolve the process for improvement.