Systematic planning is essential for the success and survival of any organization.
Systematic planning is essential
for the success and survival of any organization. Organizations fail not
because they don’t plan, but because they don’t plan in an effective way. An
understanding of the following principles helps one to achieve effectiveness in
planning, so that you can guard yourself against the possible mistakes that are
often committed by managers.
As the plan is a decision
regarding a future course of action, it specifies the sequence of events to be
performed. It involves the commitment of organizational resources in a
particular way. Therefore, if a plan is not conceived well, the resources would
be put to wrong use. It becomes a wasteful exercise resulting in agony and
frustration. To avoid such unpleasant outcomes, several probing questions have
to be asked. Planning in haste with incorrect information, unsound assumptions
and inadequate analysis of the environment has to be avoided by all means.
Otherwise, you may save some time in quickly developing a plan, but in the
event of things going wrong, you are hard pressed for time and resources to
correct yourself. It not only lands you in trouble, but the organization as
can be top down and bottom up
Normally in any organization
major enterprise plans are developed by the top management. These plans are
wider in scope and provide the direction to the whole organization. They spell
out what the organization wants to achieve over the years. The overall plan
thus formulated by the top management is split into departmental plans.
Accordingly, plans for production, marketing, finance, personnel and so on,
stem from the basic plan of the organization. The other operational
plans at various levels down the organization flow from the departmental plans.
This approach is called top-down approach to planning.
In contrast, bottom-up approach
involves information emanating from the lower levels – that is, top management
collects information from lower levels. On the basis of such information, plans
are formulated. The underlying assumption is that people at the operational
level are closer to the action and they possess valuable information. In this approach,
the initiative for planning comes from the lower levels in the organization.
This approach makes use of the rich experience of the subordinates. It also
helps to motivate the people and elicit commitment from them. However, the
choice of the method depends on the size of the organization, the
organizational culture, the preferred leadership style of the executive and the
urgency of the plan.
Involve and communicate with all those concerned
Modern business organizations are
so complex that various operations are highly interrelated. Such an
interrelation of activities requires the involvement of all the people
concerned with the achievement of goals. For instance, a plan to improve the
quality of the products (Quality control plan) may require the cooperation of
the people in the production. Such participation helps in instilling a sense of
commitment among the people. They also in turn gain a sense of pride for having
been a party in deciding the plan. Such an involvement makes possible the process
of sharing information. If concerned people are not involved, there may be
unnecessary gaps in the execution because of lack of understanding of the
Plans must be flexible and dynamic
Your managerial career indeed
would be a “bed of roses” if there are no unexpected changes in the
environment. Day in and day out, you are confronted with too many changes
forcing you into so many dilemmas or problems. Most of such problems are caused
by unexpected events in the environment. If the plan is rigid with less scope
for modifications as required by the changes in the environment, the
organization would ultimately sink. In a static environment, of course, there
may not be a problem with a rigid plan. But in a dynamic
environment, to meet the unexpected changes, adequate flexibility has to be
built into the plan. Otherwise, the plan itself becomes a limiting factor.
While building into the plans the
required flexibility, you should not lose sight of the additional costs involved
to buy such flexibility. You must also remember that flexibility in plans may
not be possible always. For example, a plan for a petroleum refinery may not
offer any flexibility because the machinery can hardly be used for any other
purpose. Evaluation of the plan at regular intervals is necessary to make sure
that it is contributing to the objectives. Like a pilot, who in the high skies
checks the course to make sure that he is flying in the right direction and at
the right altitude, the manager has to evaluate and review the plan. Such an
exercise enables to initiate the corrective measures at the right time before
it is too late. This depends on the accuracy of the information systems in the
Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Planning
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