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Leading and Controlling

The activities of life are similar to the four fundamental principles of management, which are Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. The most interesting thing is that sometimes people do not realize that they apply those principles on a regular basis although using these functions in everyday activities is very important as they boost creativity in the process of problem solving and decision making, and make individuals more skillful in achieving their personal and business objectives. Thereafter, the objective of the following paper is to discuss the real example from my own life when I can use the four fundamental principles of management.

Vacation will be a bright example of applying the fundamental functions of management in my own life. Planning is the first step of every activity, so once the idea to do something has flashed into one’s mind, the person starts to plan its implementation and achievement. The final objective of my vacation is to reach the destination place on a beach within a certain time limit. The process of planning is mainly consistent of certain stages, but the ‘journey’ begins with analyzing environmental factors. Thereafter, I need to manage my spending, adjust working schedule so it would be fitting with vacation and check other factors that might affect my trip, such as weather conditions and economic forecast in the destination country. After that, I need to establish an objective, which is choosing the final destination point and the timeframe of my vacation. In addition to that, it is important to consider an alternative option in case something goes wrong (for example, changing the destination point from beach to mountains hiking). Once I have analyzed the steps that I have planned to take in order to reach the beach, I need to do the evaluation of every activity and examine the possible hindrances that might negatively affect my objective to get to the destination point. I would state that vacation planning is more about tactical approach as it implies using rather specific means to reach the final objective.

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Applying the Organizing function in the course of vacation planning implies that I need to take necessary steps to ensure that my objective is achieved. I need to outline the specific actions I will perform and allocate my time as well as my skills in order to make sure that I will reach the destination point. In addition to that, I need to get other people involved: for example, my boss and HR department need to approve my vacation, and a travel agent needs to prepare the list of possible accommodations and flights that are available on the dates suitable for me. On this stage, I will ensure that all is in place and that everything is being done in the most effective manner. Thereafter, I should organize the time properly, so I could have a possibility to inform the HR department and at the same time, provide the travel agent with approximate timing, so she or he can provide me with possible options and adjust them based on the final dates.

Once the planning and organization stages are behind, I start leading my project. On this stage, I ask HR department to provide me with the dates when I can take a vacation and ask the HR to process my request fast in order not to adjourn my travelling. After I have got the approximate dates, I first call to the travel agent and then visit the travel agency by myself in order to explain what I expect from the vacation and what price range is suitable for me, as well as discuss the places I would like to visit. It is crucial to hold the conversation with the travel agent properly as any kind of miscommunication and misunderstandings could eventually negatively affect my vacation. For example, if I did not had enough time to visit the travel agent, she or he might be not interested in helping me, and when the deadline for my vacation will approach, I would be informed that there are only night flights available, or the hotels on the beach are fully booked. I addition to that, I need to organize my day smartly as I have my everyday job and working objectives to be accomplished. This means that I would have only limited amount of hours per day to plan the trip: for example, during the lunch time or in early hours after the working day is finished. It means that the leading function is applicable not only in managing others’ activities but in my personal time management. The motivation of the travel agent would be the bonus she or he receives once I purchase a trip from the travel agency, but I should be open and clear in my intentions and never be rude or disrespectful. By any means, subconsciously, I would try to apply of any kind of motivation theory that could work as I need to make sure that my objective is achieved by the certain deadline.

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After I have allocated the tasks to HR department and to the travel agent accordingly, I need to control their accomplishment. I need to make sure that my vacation dates have been clearly communicated because if something goes wrong (for example, HR has forgotten to put my vacation into the system), I can lose my job, which is unacceptable. In addition, if I do not control the travel agent and the way he/she searches for the vacation options suitable for me, I might fall a victim of poor service, or my destination point might be mistakenly replaced by a different place (due to miscommunication and unclear explanation of my preferences, which took place during the previous stages). It is obvious that I would use certain steps, which are establishing the standards of performance (I need to make sure that people who are involved in my vacation organization clearly understand what the expected result should be); comparing the actual performance with the set standards (I need to check if the options that the travel agent is looking for meet my requirements, which is why I would ask her or him to update regularly the available accommodation and flights in the expected destination point); taking necessary actions when needed (for example, if  the travel agent has not sent any information about the possible options or has sent the wrong information, I would take a visit to the travel agency to clarify the situation; in case I am disappointed with the service, I might either ask the management of the company to allocate another agent to address my needs, or change the agency).

I conclusion, it should be mentioned that planning and having a vacation are two totally different processes, which both imply applying the four fundamental principles of management. I believe that any kind of management experience is very important. In the case of vacation planning, the skills I acquired in the process of managing this situation will be useful even if I failed to achieve the desired objective. Managing life situations using the four fundamental management functions definitely improves decision making and problem solving skills and helps a person become an effective leader within his/her organization.