For any manager, the essence of success is careful and effective planning. Planning is one of the most crucial management functions. The success of any manager is mostly defined by how good he plans. While managing a roadside assistance services I had to effectively plan to ensure everyone sticks to objectives, guarantee sales, and boost of profits for the business. In simple terms, planning involves determining
- What is to be done
- How it should be done
- When it is to be done
- Who to do it.
Any good planning needs to be goal-oriented, requires time and actions, must be flexible, must be modifiable, and must result in decision making. There are key steps that should be followed to realize effective planning. This short guide looks at those steps, and they include the following.
Establish the opportunities
The first step of any effective planning process starts by being aware of opportunities being pursued, both external and internal. There needs to be a foundation from which plans are based on. It is an awareness stage considered to be a precursor to the actual planning process.
The second stage of the planning process is to identify and establish objectives. It involves determining goals and objectives for an enterprise as well as other tiers. When you are aware of opportunities in terms of strengths and weaknesses, it will help you establish reasonable goals and objectives.
The third stage of the planning process is to establish premises or assumptions on which statements and actions are built upon. The success of any planning process will depend on the assumptions being made. Wrong assumptions will lead to poor and unrealistic decisions. The assumptions are based on the environment in which the plan is to be carried out. Forecasting will play an important role in ensuring the premises of assumptions are realistic to plans being made.
The fourth step is to determine the alternative course of action. Managers must decide how to move forward with their plans, should anything go against original plans. There should be some alternatives set in place, to ensure a plan goes ahead to materialize. However, ensure you narrow out these alternatives to reduce confusion and getting overwhelmed.
Setting a course
After you have identified all alternatives and evaluated their merits and demerits, the next step in management is to adopt a plan and select a course of action. A plan is identified at this point and forms the real point of decision making. Planning will not be complete when a decision has been made, and this called for another step, which is formulating derivative plans.
Formulating derivative plan
Managers need to develop one or more supportive plans so as to stand a better chance of meeting objectives and bolstering their initial plan. The derivative plans are essentially needed so as to support the general plan. There are normally two types of derivative plans. The first involves changing the existing supportive plans, and the second is a subsidiary plan that involves creating a new support plan.