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Get the "big picture"

Making plans in a narrow, isolated context is a sure path to disaster. "Big picture" thinking is the ideal. It is difficult however to know if one has taken into account all of the relevant factors in a planning situation, but that should be the planner's goal.

Plans for business functions like marketing and finance cannot be developed in isolation from each other. Rather managers and planners need to reach beyond their comfort zone and get out of any planning "ruts" that constrain their thinking.

In general, understanding the "big picture" leads to "big plans". Most really interesting planning situations are complex, multi-causal, and "wicked". Such situations demand that planners get the "big picture".

Developing a "bird's-eye-view" of a situation is always a helpful first step. It is also a step that will provide direction for subsequent planning. Before begining any detailed planning, it is important to ask the following three questions:

  1. What do you know about the situation?
  2. What do you need to find out about the situation?
  3. Why is this planning task important?

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