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What are the prerequisites to successful planning?

by Dan Power

Let's start with six issues that once they have been addressed can improve the results from planning activities. The six include:

1. Create and cultivate a planning culture that values rational, systematic planning. Too often managers focus only on day-to-day management and forget about the long-term direction of the business. This short-sighted approach can lead to an anti-planning culture.

2. In the planning process involve people who have a stake in the future of the business/organization. Planning should be a team effort and not the role solely of planning staff or a "planner".

3. Focus on current and future customer needs. Businesses are rewarded for satisfying customer wants and needs so keep the customer at the center of planning activities.

4. Reward those who implement a plan. Results come from action and planning only serves to direct action. The doers are more important than the planners.

5. Document the plan, but change plans as frequently as seems needed. Make sure the plan is a "dynamic" document. Plans can be changed as deficiencies are discovered in the plan. Regular planning is appropriate and desirable, but events create change that must be incorporated into plans.

6. A plan is not intended to solve problems, rather a plan is intended to help reach goals and to help anticipate and minimize problems associated with striving for goals. A great plan won't necessarily lead to success. Remember success is a function of plans, intentions, effort, actions and responses of the environment.


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