A Comprehensive Guide to the Steps of Controlling in Management

Controlling is an essential aspect of effective management, ensuring that organizational goals are met and performance is optimized. It involves monitoring, evaluating, and taking corrective actions to ensure that plans are executed successfully.

In today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment, mastering the steps of controlling is crucial for any manager looking to steer their team towards success. From setting performance benchmarks to implementing feedback loops, controlling provides a systematic approach to keep teams on track and aligned with organizational objectives.

In this article, we will delve into the key steps of controlling, exploring how they can be implemented to maximize productivity, improve quality, and drive growth.

Whether you are a seasoned manager or aspiring leader, understanding the intricacies of controlling will empower you to navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and ultimately achieve sustainable success.

So let’s dive in and uncover the steps of controlling that will help you take charge and lead your team towards excellence.

💡 Features of a Good Control System:

 Suitable: A good control system should be suitable for the needs and nature of the organisation.

 Simple: A good controlling system should be easy to operate and understand.

 Economical: The cost of setting, implementing, and maintaining a control system should not be more than the benefits gained from it.

 Flexible: A good control system should have the ability to adjust according to the changing business environment and internal conditions. 

Forward Looking: A good control system should move in a forward direction so that the managers can easily determine the deviations before they actually happen in the organisation.

 Objective: The standards of the organisation, its measurement of performance, and corrective actions should be impersonal and objective. 

 Management by exception: A good control system should focus its attention on the significant deviations which are crucial for the organisation, instead of looking for the deviation which does not have much impact on the business. 


Why is controlling important?

Controlling plays a vital role in the management process as it provides a framework for evaluating and regulating performance. By implementing effective control measures, organizations can ensure that they are on track to achieve their desired outcomes and maintain a competitive edge in the market. Here are some reasons why controlling is important:

  1. Goal Achievement: Controlling helps in aligning employee efforts with organizational goals. It allows managers to track progress and take corrective actions if necessary, ensuring that objectives are met within the specified time frame.
  2. Performance Improvement: By monitoring performance, managers can identify gaps and areas for improvement. This enables them to provide timely feedback, offer training and development opportunities, and motivate employees to perform at their best.
  3. Resource Optimization: Controlling helps in optimizing the use of resources such as time, money, and materials. By identifying inefficiencies and eliminating wastage, organizations can reduce costs and improve overall productivity.
  4. Quality Assurance: Controlling ensures that products or services meet the desired quality standards. By implementing quality control measures, organizations can identify and rectify any deviations, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Overall, controlling provides a systematic approach to ensure that plans are executed effectively, risks are minimized, and organizational performance is continuously improved.

The four steps of controlling

To effectively control performance and achieve desired outcomes, managers need to follow a systematic approach. The controlling process typically consists of four key steps:

Step 1: Setting performance standards

The first step in the controlling process is to establish clear and specific performance standards. These standards serve as benchmarks against which actual performance will be measured. Performance standards can be quantitative, such as sales targets or production quotas, or qualitative, such as customer satisfaction ratings or product quality criteria. It is crucial for managers to set realistic and achievable standards that are aligned with organizational goals and objectives. By clearly defining expectations, managers provide a clear direction for employees and enable them to understand what is expected of them.

Step 2: Measuring performance

Once performance standards are established, the next step is to measure actual performance. This involves collecting relevant data and information to assess how well employees and the organization as a whole are performing. Performance measurement can take various forms, depending on the nature of the task or process being evaluated. For example, it could involve tracking sales figures, conducting customer surveys, or monitoring production output. The key is to use reliable and accurate methods to gather performance data that is relevant to the established standards.

Step 3: Comparing performance to standards

After measuring performance, the next step is to compare it to the established standards. This involves analyzing the data collected in the previous step and assessing whether performance is meeting, exceeding, or falling short of the set standards. The purpose of this step is to identify any deviations or variances and understand the reasons behind them. By comparing actual performance to standards, managers can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their plans, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions about the next steps.

Step 4: Taking corrective action

The final step in the controlling process is to take corrective action based on the findings from the previous steps. If performance is meeting or exceeding the established standards, managers can reinforce positive behavior and continue with the current course of action. However, if performance is falling short of the standards, managers need to identify the root causes of the deviations and take appropriate corrective actions. This could involve providing additional training or resources, reassigning tasks, revising plans, or implementing new strategies. The goal is to address the gaps and bring performance back on track towards the desired standards and objectives.

By following these four steps of controlling, managers can effectively monitor, evaluate, and regulate performance to ensure that organizational goals are achieved and continuous improvement is fostered.

Common challenges in the controlling process

While controlling is a critical management function, it is not without its challenges. Here are some common challenges that managers may encounter in the controlling process:

  1. Lack of reliable data: Accurate and timely data is crucial for effective control. However, managers may face challenges in collecting relevant data or have to deal with incomplete or inaccurate information. This can hinder the decision-making process and compromise the effectiveness of control measures.
  2. Resistance to control: Employees may resist control measures if they perceive them as intrusive or micromanaging. It is important for managers to communicate the purpose and benefits of controlling and involve employees in the process to gain their buy-in and cooperation.
  3. Changing business environment: In today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment, organizations need to constantly adapt to changes. This can make it challenging to set and maintain performance standards that remain relevant and aligned with evolving market conditions.
  4. Balancing control and autonomy: While control is necessary to ensure performance and goal achievement, it is equally important to strike a balance between control and employee autonomy. Too much control can stifle creativity and innovation, while too little control can result in chaos and inefficiencies.

By being aware of these challenges, managers can proactively address them and implement strategies to overcome them, ensuring that the controlling process is effective and beneficial for the organization.

The role of technology in controlling

Technology plays a crucial role in facilitating the controlling process. With the advancement of digital tools and software, managers now have access to real-time data, analytics, and reporting capabilities that enable them to monitor and evaluate performance more efficiently. Here are some ways in which technology can enhance the controlling process:

  1. Automated data collection: Technology allows for the automation of data collection processes, reducing the time and effort required to gather relevant performance data. This enables managers to have access to up-to-date information, making the controlling process more timely and accurate.
  2. Data visualization and analytics: Technology provides tools for visualizing and analyzing performance data, making it easier for managers to identify trends, patterns, and insights. This enhances decision-making and enables managers to take proactive actions based on data-driven insights.
  3. Communication and collaboration: Technology facilitates communication and collaboration among team members, enabling real-time feedback and information sharing. This promotes transparency, accountability, and alignment, further enhancing the effectiveness of the controlling process.
  4. Performance tracking and monitoring: Technology allows for the tracking and monitoring of performance metrics in real-time. Managers can set up dashboards and alerts to track key performance indicators and receive notifications when certain thresholds are exceeded or not met. This enables managers to take immediate corrective actions and ensure that performance stays on track.

By leveraging technology in the controlling process, managers can streamline operations, improve decision-making, and enhance overall organizational performance.


Controlling is a critical aspect of effective management that enables organizations to achieve their goals, optimize performance, and drive growth. By following the four steps of controlling – setting performance standards, measuring performance, comparing performance to standards, and taking corrective action – managers can ensure that plans are executed successfully and continuous improvement is fostered. Despite the challenges that may arise, technology can play a significant role in facilitating the controlling process, providing managers with the tools and capabilities to monitor, evaluate, and regulate performance more efficiently. By mastering the steps of controlling and leveraging technology, managers can take charge and lead their teams towards excellence, ultimately achieving sustainable success in today’s competitive business landscape. So, embrace the power of controlling, navigate challenges with confidence, and steer your team towards a brighter future.