Competitive Exams: Steps In The Planning Process

Planning is an endless process. The process is constantly modified to suit changes in environmental conditions and changes in objectives and opportunities for the firm. As organizations differ in terms of their size and complexity, no single planning procedure is applicable to all organizations. However, all planning processes contain some basic steps.

Prerequisites For Effective Planning

Planning is an essential managerial function and should be given due emphasis in order to make it more effective. It forms the basis for other functions in the management process. The following measures help to make the planning exercise more effective.

  • Establishing the Right Climate for Planning
  • Clear and Specific Objectives
  • Planning Premises
  • Initiative at Top Level
  • Participation in Planning Process
  • Communication of Planning Elements
  • Integration of Long-term and Short-term Plans

Guidelines for Successful Planning and Implementation

Involve the right people in the planning process-While planning, it is essential to obtain inputs from those who will implement the plans and from representatives belonging to groups which will be affected by the plan. People who are involved in these plans should also be involved in reviewing and authorizing the plan.

Communicate the plan throughout the organization-As plans keep changing, it becomes difficult to remember who is supposed to do what and according to which version of the plan. Moreover, the key stakeholders may also request copies of the various plans of the organization. Therefore, it would be in the best interests of the organization to put its plans in writing and make them known throughout the organization.

Goals should be SMARTER-A SMARTER goal or objective is:

  • Specific-A goal should be specific, not vague and hard to understand.
  • Measurable-The outcomes of a goal should be measurable.
  • Acceptable-The goal should be acceptable to those who are to pursue it.
  • Realistic-The goals to be achieved should be realistic.
  • Time frame-The goal should specify a time frame for achieving it.
  • Extending-The goal should stretch the capabilities of the performer and motivate him to extend his capabilities beyond the usual limit.
  • Rewarding-The goal should be such that those involved in its accomplishment are rewarded.

Making people accountable-Plans should specify who is responsible for what results. The persons responsible should periodically review the status of the plan.

Redesigning the plan-Sometimes, it is necessary to deviate from the plan. The persons responsible for implementing the plan should note such deviations when they occur and make necessary adjustments to the plan.

Evaluating the plan-Feedback should be obtained regularly from the people implementing the plan. The feedback should address aspects such as how the planning process could have been made better, whether the goals are realistic, and whether sufficient resources are available for implementing the plan. This will help planners ensure that the plans meet the needs of the organization.

Acknowledging and Celebrating accomplishments-This step is frequently overlooked. It is often observed that new targets are set once desired results have been achieved. As a result, employees have to continually solve one problem after the other. In order to avoid cynicism and fatigue from creeping into the planning process, one must acknowledge the good work done and have a little celebration. This would boost the morale of the planners and would ensure their fullest efforts in subsequent plans.