Some believe that planning is dead! They say that today’s environment changes too often and too quickly. Despite the disruptive and incessant pace of change, planning is still an important function in the workplace. A good plan provides a framework for organizing company resources and it provides direction for employees on how they can help the company fulfill its strategic goals.The key difference in planning today is how this function is viewed and implemented. Effective planning is less rigid now than it was in the past. Many leaders neglect the planning function, and here’s why:
1. They dislike constraints of any kind. It is important for managers to keep options open to encourage creativity and innovation. Taken to an extreme, however, the lack of any sensible constraints creates confusion. Employees are unsure of the strategic direction of the company as they are constantly switched from one project to another. They eventually become frustrated and organizational productivity declines.
2. They assume that “crisis mode” is inevitable. There’s an element of truth to this view particularly as the scope of a manager’s job increases. Unrelenting crisis management is often a sign of insufficient planning, however.
3. They have been successful in the past without any real planning. This success becomes harder to repeat as a manager’s responsibilities increase. Planning is a critical function for middle and senior level managers as they execute organizational initiatives through others.
4. They have not been adequately trained in how to plan. Have you invested enough in your managers’ professional development to ensure that they really know how to create and execute plans? A good plan defines what needs to be done and how it is to be done. Senior managers develop strategic plans that apply to the entire organization. Middle and front line managers develop operational plans to implement the strategic plans. There are many tools used in planning including SWOT Analysis, vision and mission statements, environmental scanning, resource analysis, etc. Since many managers are promoted for their technical ability with no real training in management, this is another area where managers can take a management seminar from a reputable company to learn how to plan effectively.
5. They lack self-discipline. Successful managers increase self-awareness of their own shortcomings, identify realistic goals for themselves, and commit to meeting their goals. They keep practicing self-discipline until it becomes routine for them. Are you one of those managers? If not, consider how you can increase your own personal effectiveness by recognizing areas where you need to improve.
6. Some managers are solely focused on results. For these “get-it-done and get-it-done quickly” managers, there is a need to be effective as well as efficient. Getting things done does not always mean that the right things are being done. Well designed plans address what needs to be done in the organization (effectiveness) as well as how it is to be done (efficiency).
Despite what some may say, planning is not dead! Plans today must be living documents that adapt to changing market needs. To plan effectively, managers develop relevant plans and then adapt them as necessary to the ever-changing business landscape. No matter the reason, the familiar management saying still holds true: If you fail to plan, plan to fail!
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.
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