9 Keys To Effective Planning

business data planning | Photo Courtesy of Corporate Traveller http://www.flickr.com/photos/corporate-traveller/7155941630/Where do you fall in the planning spectrum? Are you the super planner who makes elaborate plans without following through? Or the person who thinks that plans are limited to scheduling vacations?

When you have a plan, you need a due date and someone assigned to take responsibility for it, according to an article on Industrial Supply magazine’s website. You can’t just make a plan without a way to measure, define and refine it.

This author is not talking about strategic planning, per se. He’s talking about making business plans and getting things done in the company. Here are the nine keys to making a plan profitable.

1) Make solid deadlines: Don’t assign things with the vague “it will be finished in the future” label. That’s not a real due date. Instead, assign milestones, like the third quarter or a certain month.

2) Assign a point person: Committees won’t take action unless there’s a chairperson. Someone needs to take the responsibility for results.

3) Document your plan: Plans will get lost if they aren’t written. Employees will forget their roles and commitments will be broken — unless you have an archived plan.

4) Review your plan: Regular reviews are the only way to take accountability for a plan’s implementation. Reviews are necessary for employees to be serious about taking action.

5) Brace for failure: Not every plan works. Good management takes the time to find out why the plan failed. Accept that some plans don’t work and have to be revised.

6) Remember that there is no best plan: The right plan for your company depends on your specific needs. Don’t model your plan based on another company’s success.

7) Enforce consequences: Review employee responsibility regularly and deal with employees who fail to perform.

8 ) Bring in outside help: Ask this question: Why aren’t we better in our planning? Outside resources can help.

9) Anticipate pushback: “The most common phrases heard in the trenches of wholesale distribution sound remarkably close to these: ‘I’m too busy to plan right now.’ ‘I already have a plan, it’s just not designed in a formal way,'” the Industrial Supply magazine article explains. “And the omnipresent favorite, ‘Listen, do you want me out selling or sitting in the office planning?'”

Source: Industrial Supply, Nov./Dec. 2012

Angela Goldberg

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