Step 9: Monitor and Adjust

by John P. Hewlett, University of Wyoming

Although good, solid operational plans may be developed, which well-support the accomplishment of objectives, execution of such plans seldom go exactly as envisioned. Delays in receipt of raw materials, failure to make progress as intended, unforeseen weather events, or changes in markets can all cause plans to change. These are some of the events from which risks in agricultural enterprises derive. The second step of the operational level of the SRMP is intended to minimize these risks through monitoring resource performance and making mid-course adjustments as needed.

Referring to the model presented in Figure 2.4 (on page 8), we see that the monitor and adjust step provides two types of control – informational control and behavioral control. Informational control is focused on doing the right things. Behavioral control is concerned with doing things right or that tasks are completed on time, by the right people, and in the most effective way possible.

While these two types of control are listed separately it is not meant to imply that they can be separated or that they might be assigned to different individuals. Rather, separating the two functions allows for discussion of each individually. As a matter of practicality, each type of control would be used when and as often as management deems it necessary, usually on the fly in the thick of day-to-day decision making.

Informational control describes the responsibility of management to constantly check that the day-to-day activities of implementation are following the operational plans, leading to accomplishment of the tactical objectives, on the way toward achievement of the strategic goals, while honoring the spirit of the mission statement and core values of the people in the organization. Informational control describes both the action of checking that the right things are being accomplished and adjusting activities as needed to keep on course.

Behavioral control is focused on making sure things are accomplished in a manner in keeping with the philosophy of the organization. It is concerned with how things are done. Behavioral control can be broken into three, separate dimensions: culture, rewards, and boundaries. Each of these dimensions must be in balance and be consistently applied for effective behavioral control.