The four functions of management are planning, organizing, influencing, and controlling. These functions are interrelated because the performance of one depends on the performance of its predecessor. While each is equally important on its own, I believe that the functions are a part of a process that must be viewed and implemented as a whole. First, planning involves choosing the tasks that are to be performed to meet the organization’s goals. Next is organizing, which is the process of assigning the tasks to the people responsible for getting the job done. Then there is influencing which is the guiding of the activities of the people assigned toward a desired end. And finally, there is controlling – the process of gathering and comparing information to determine whether a project, or organization, is on track or needs improvement.
Once you have done the planning, and organized the players to complete the tasks, you must influence the players by getting them to buy-in your plan. In this function you are being more of a “coach” than anything. A manager’s influence over the personnel assigned and how they approach the organizations goals is key. How to motivate, lead, or direct them toward the goals is the primary goal. In a sense, influencing is a way you can obtain the fourth and final function, controlling. The fourth function, controlling, involves possible modification to existing plans, organizational structure, or the motivation system used to develop a more successful effort.
Being able to measure the performance of the personnel who have responsibility for the assigned tasks, will enable one to compare this to expected standards, then either influence them towards more positive gains, plan additional tasks, or continue to monitor progress towards goals. As you can see, each of the functions, while separate, are inextricably intertwined and necessary for the effective management of a project, or the organization as a whole.