The Five Management Functions Essay

The subject of this reflective paper is regarding the most critical organizational management functions. Critical management functions sit at the core of any organization and steer its leaders, managers, and employees toward success by utilizing the people and resources in the most effective manner. My intent is for the reader to be enlightened of how I helped manage a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) company by implementing some of the same leadership and management methods from our Management 330 college course.

Though many of the Theories from the text book are very valuable, I believe some the information is very vague and somewhat common sense in nature. In my opinion, I don’t believe Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Lee Iacocca, Mark Cuban, or Donald Trump used these EXACT theories of management to become successful owners of businesses and organizations. Think of how the main points and sub-headings pertain to your current job or another job you have held in the past.

My personal examples provide a simplistic version that proves with the right planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling, a tiny HVAC company could become an even larger success than what the owner had initially hoped for. Enjoy! The Planning Function Upon retirement from the USAF and a short term of employment at Sandia National Laboratories, I was hired to manage a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) company. I was not very familiar with HVAC systems, but as a home owner I knew enough about them that I was comfortable in that type of environment.

The owner of the company seldom communicated with the HVAC technicians because he wanted them out of the shop and either on their way to the job site or at the job site no later than 8:00 a. m. The company had seven HVAC technicians, an accountant and me, the company manager. A few of my daily tasks were to maintain the weekly service call, maintenance, and installation schedules. This required extensive planning and communication with the technicians. As the manager, I was responsible for enforcing the owner’s company goals then motivate the employees to reach those goals via several courses of action.

I used a variety of planning activities to include bi-weekly staff meetings, reviewing internal and external factors such as employee’s scheduled vacations, budget statuses, job site locations, and the weekly weather forecast. I also had to take into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of our employees. Some technicians had more experience and education than others, so I had to match jobs with installers or service technicians. There were some jobs our company was not qualified to do, such as electrical installation and hook up.

None of our technicians were licensed electricians, which was a handicap for the organization. If a job required electrical installation or upgrade, I would coordinate with one of our electrical sub-contractors to ensure they could be on the job site when the equipment was ready for electrical hook up and start up. Our accountant was responsible for all aspects of receiving and distributing monetary resources to complete the company’s goals. One of the many challenges we faced was keeping informed of the government incentives for households to install more efficient heating and cooling systems.

We were in constant communication with our system vendors to get the latest and greatest government rebates and installation incentives and deadlines. Economic and technological changes were another challenge because we had to stay abreast of new and emerging heating and cooling systems to stay competitive in the HVAC industry. Planning for an organization occurs with some degree of uncertainty because the end result is somewhat unknown. As the manager, I sometimes had to take certain risks with company resources to succeed in a job completion strategy.

The Five Functions of Effective Management; Introduction to Management: Achieving Form through Function, Chapter 1, Page 15). Even though this company was relatively small with less than 10 employees, the same planning fundamentals applied to that of a major employer or organization. The Organizing Function When the owner of the company had new tasks or company goals, I was always his go-to person to ensure the visions and processes he demanded were successful.

Our task and authority relationship (The Five Functions of Effective Management; Introduction to Management: Achieving Form through Function, Chapter 1, Page 15). as always very professional because we worked together to achieve the organization’s goals. Another important responsibility I was delegated was to decide the best way to organize the company’s resources. The owner usually determined the actual job requirements, what specifically needed to be done, and who he wanted doing the job(s). My role was to inform him of each employee’s status, who was available, who was qualified, etc. , The Staffing Function As an Information Technology geek by trade, my experience with the human resources and staffing functions was limited.

During my Air Force career, I was not able to choose who I wanted in my work center. It was my decision as to who would supervise who, but the hiring/firing and interviewing functions were pretty much non-existent in the military; you get who is allocated toward a specific vacancy, get the person trained, press on with the mission, and mold your troops to become leaders in their own right. If they mess up along the way, you reprimand them and hope they learn from their mistakes. As the HVAC company manager, staffing was also delegated to me.

Even with my lack of human resource experience, the owner wanted his manager to do the recruiting, selecting, evaluating, and hiring of employees. (The Five Functions of Effective Management; Introduction to Management: Achieving Form through Function, Chapter 1, Page 16). The Leading Function I was taught that to become a truly effective leader you must first be an effective follower and subordinate. I have been on both sides of the leading/following roles and know what it is like to be the low person on the totem pole or the “boss” making the tough decisions.

A key element when trying to motivate individuals to accomplish goals is to present clear tasks to those completing the organizations actual goals. The owner and I would constantly encourage our technicians to be great at what they do, not just be good at what they do, and that if they needed anything from us we were always available for support and mentoring. My boss had a tendency to get a bit excited and raise his voice when something didn’t go as planned. Once he calmed down, he and I were able to sit at the conference table to sort out the events that led to an unsatisfied customer or a derogatory employee internal issue.

I would open up the conversation with an open mind and allow the employee(s) to take their time to explain what went wrong or why a customer was dissatisfied. After listening to what had actually occurred, the situation was discussed thoroughly, and a plan of action to remedy the issue was agreed upon by all parties, I could always sense an increase of personal commitment to the organization. The Control Function After a few weeks as manager of the company, I noticed the technicians did not provide customer satisfaction/feedback forms to our customers.

I asked the boss about how he receives feedback from our customers and he told me that if there is a problem someone will call you and then you can report the problem to me. I asked how he received positive feedback from a job well done or when an employee goes above and beyond the norm to satisfy a customer. He told me that the employee would just tell him that their customers were very pleased with their service. That didn’t seem like a very accurate customer service measuring tool so I suggested we implement an easy, effective, and yet “voluntary” customer feedback system.

My idea was the next time we needed to order our company invoices, to have the printing contractor add a portion to the customer’s copy where the customer could fill in the survey/feedback form and mail it, fax it or e-mail their comments to me and the owner. Then, we would hold a monthly drawing from our customer feedback file, and one of our customers would receive free merchandise, such as a pocket knife with our company name and logo, a free HVAC inspection, free furnace filters, or a free spring or fall start-up of heating or cooling services.

After 30 days, the feedback forms, e-mails, and phone calls increased our customer relations by over 80 percent and business increased by over 25%! Within a matter of 90 days we had established an excellent customer service standard, and an employee performance metric that was created by external factors, not biased internal performance ratings. The owner was impressed with the new system and began to reward employees with free lunches, new tools, use of company vehicles (which helped with advertising), paid time off, and other tokens of his appreciation for a job well done.

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