Words are important

20 Dec 2022 | Methodology

We don’t manage by objectives: we pilot the objectives and manage the women and men.

MBO (management by objectives) has a negative image because the terminology used suggests that objectives take precedence over people.

This idea is reinforced by other dubious expressions such as “human capital” or “human resources”.

The expression “human capital” suggests that the company owns the people and that it uses this “asset” to achieve its objectives.

The expression “human resources” is no better: people prefer to be considered as “sources” of knowledge and inspiration rather than “resources” that are consumed and sometimes wasted by the company.

These words, deeply rooted in our daily vocabulary, seem anachronistic today.

They refer to the modern times of Charlie Chaplin where the mechanization of tasks sent the individual back to a role of executor.

They hark back to the older, darker days of slavery when the value of a cotton field was determined by the number of slaves who “worked” it.

And if we go back in time, the TRIPALIUM which is the origin of the word “work” was an instrument of torture.

On the other hand, managing objectives is a natural and indispensable component of any human activity: setting objectives collectively and individually, defining criteria to “objectively” measure the achievement of our objectives, establishing action plans and distributing roles, monitoring actions, controlling budgets, measuring results, adjusting objectives, reviewing priorities, etc.

Whether it’s going on vacation or sending a rocket to Mars, having goals is as necessary as making the journey together, showing solidarity in times of trial, learning, growing and celebrating, …

Between Taking and Undertaking, the subtlety is great because Undertaking Together is the very essence of any Company.

Missions, vision, values, culture (…): it is by putting the Human being at the center of the game that the most beautiful human adventures become formidable successes of Company.

This is the spirit of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract.