A goal without a plan is just a wish ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Planning is the skill of predetermining an action. Planning is also the managerial activity that establishes the objectives of the organisation and determines the best means of achieving these objectives.
Planning is also deciding the following in advance:
- What needs to be achieved;
- How will we achieve it;
- By when does it need to be achieved;
- Why does it need to be achieved;
- Who will be part of the team that will achieve it.
Remember: Planning is not forecasting; Planning is thinking ahead.
Let’s look at what Planning involves:
Firstly, you need to identify the company’s objectives. You also need to consider what means you would need to achieve it. This includes finding the necessary resources (funding, manpower, etc) for your project. Lastly, you need to provide systematic feedback to the relevant stakeholders against the expected progress or results of the objectives.
Every company should have two strategies when planning its objectives, namely long-term and short-term.
Long-term planning looks ahead as far as possible and builds a picture for the desired outcome in the distant future. Remember to have some form of flexability in your long-terms because you are not always in charge of what happens on your journey.
On the other hand, short-term planning determines what needs to be done in the immediate future. It calls for an immediate commitment of resources. It also sets in motion a series of events that is difficult to slow down or stop. It is very important to communicate your plan properly because of the short-term nature. Bear in mind that short-term planning is not very flexible and is most times very costly to change.
The Benefits of Planning
Looking at the benefits of planning, these include:
- Increasing your ability to think ahead;
- Encouraging you to think analytically and carefully;
- Improving your decision-making ability;
- Ensuring that individuals work towards departmental objectives;
- Ensuring the department work towards organisational objectives;
- Assisting in identifying an area where future problems could lie;
- Providing the basis of measuring individuals, department and organisational performance;
- Encouraging involvement from everyone who in turn increases individual commitment and motivation.
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare!