Monthly Archives: January 2016

What is Planning?

According to the web-based encyclopedia Wikipedia, planning (also called forethought) is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve these goal. It involves the creation and maintenance of a plan, such as psychological aspects that require conceptual skills.
Planning is very important as it naturally enquires about organizational goals and involves decision-making about desired ways and means to achieve these goals. Planning is the most basic of all managerial functions. It is the process by which managers establish goals and define the methods by which these goals are to be attained.

According to Weihrich and Koontz, “Planning involves selecting missions and objectives and the actions to achieve them; it requires decision making, which is choosing from among alternative future courses of action.” It is, therefore, a rational approach to achieving pre-selected objectives.

Planning is thus taken as the foundation for future activities. Newman has thus defined it as, “Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done; that is a plan is a projected course of action.” So, planning can be thought of as deciding about a future course of action. It may also be treated as a process of thinking before doing.

Benefits of planning as a manager
1.    Increases efficiency: Planning makes optimum utilization of all available resources. It helps to reduce wastage of valuable resources and avoids their duplication. It aims to give the highest returns at the lowest possible cost. It thus increases the overall efficiency.

2.    Reduces business-related risks: There are many risks involved in any modern business. Planning helps to forecast these business-related risks. It also helps to take the necessary precautions to avoid these risks and prepare for future uncertainties in advance. Thus, it reduces business risks.

3.    Facilitates proper coordination: Often, the plans of all departments of an organization are well coordinated with each other. Similarly, the short-term, medium-term and long-term plans of an organization are also coordinated with each other. Such proper coordination is possible only because of efficient planning.

4.    Aids in Organizing: Organizing means to bring together all available resources and is not possible without planning. It is so, since, planning tells us the amount of resources required and when they are needed. It means that planning aids organization in an efficient way.

5.    Gives right direction: Direction means to give proper information, accurate instructions and useful guidance to the subordinates. It is impossible without planning. It is because planning tells us what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Therefore, planning helps to give a right direction.

6.    Keeps good control: With control, the actual performance of an employee is compared with the plans, and deviations (if any) are found out and corrected. It is impossible to achieve such a control without correct planning. Therefore, planning becomes necessary to keep good control.

7.    Helps to achieve objectives: Every organization has certain objectives or targets. It keeps working hard to fulfill these goals. Planning helps an organization to achieve these aims, but with some ease and promptness. Planning also helps an organization to avoid doing some random (done by chance) activities.

8.    Motivates personnel: A good plan provides various financial and non-financial incentives to both managers and employees. These incentives motivate them to work hard and achieve the objectives of the organization. Thus, planning through various incentives help to motivate the personnel of an organization.

9.    Encourages creativity and innovation: Planning helps managers to express their creativity and innovation. It brings satisfaction to the managers and eventually success to the organization.

10.  Helps in decision-making: A manager makes many different plans. Then the manager selects or chooses the best of all available strategies. Making a selection or choosing something means to take a decision. So, decision-making is facilitated by planning.
Therefore, planning is necessary for effective and efficient functioning of every organization irrespective of its size, type and objectives.
Harold K, Heinz Wehrich, 2010 (Series in Management) Page 34-50
McGraw Hill 1988.
Wikipedia accessed January 2016
<> 25th October 2015
Edunote Accessed January 2016
Kalyan-city accessed January 2016

The Art of Planning

“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” Richard Cushing
The human brain processes 400 billion bits of information per second which is an extraordinary and powerful feat when compared to a household computer. However, as human beings we only utilise 2000 bits of this information per second.

The neocortex, the most recently evolved part of the brain, translates this information within three main elements. These elements are described as the observation of ourselves, the observation of our direct environment and the concept of time within these observations. This drastic difference between the processed and utilised information is the result of surrounding complexity, space and time that human beings experience.

In order to simplify the complex realities in which we exist, the art of planning has become not only an art form but also a necessity. Planning is an essential tool to effectively manage time and events. For instance, if one embarks on a journey, the first step is to be sure of where you are going. The end point in relation to the start point will formulate a current location and a pre-set destination.

In order to specify your route from your current location to your destination, a detailed plan needs to be drawn up in order to ensure that you arrive successfully at your destination. The concept of planning has evolved into more than an art form and has become an integral part of managing organisations effectively.

The four functions of management include planning, organising, controlling and leading. Planning as one of these four functions is utilised in modern management and has become critically important to organisations and toward the completion of their strategy.  

As stated in many sources of literature, there are four kinds of planning for sustainable organisations. These include strategic planning, tactical planning, operational planning and contingency planning. Not limited to these are other forms of planning which include succession planning and financial planning.

A strategic plan is a long-term and high-level overview of the organisation which includes its dream, purpose and vision. The strategic plan consists of key objectives which serve as drivers in ensuring that the long-term vision is met.

Tactical planning refers to the planning of activities that contribute toward the achievement of the organisations strategic plan. Operational planning refers to the day-to-day operations and serves as a roadmap to ensure the completion of activities as set out in tactical planning.

Contingency planning is set out to configure an appropriate ‘plan b’, in the event that certain tactics cannot be achieved in the necessary format. Similarly, succession planning promotes thinking and setup of plans to recover from any absence of dedicated resources of these operations.

In order to ensure that an organisation can effectively achieve strategic, tactical and operational tasks derived from the plan, efficient financial resources need to be allocated and, therefore, planned for.

In conclusion, the current realities that the human race face are those of technological and innovative disruptions. The world is changing on a daily basis and agility is needed in order to survive in these existing competitive markets.

However, if we are to face and conquer such complexities of a changing world, the art and science of planning is fundamental in ensuring that we overcome these challenges.

By Storm Thomas
Communications Manager: The Da Vinci Institute
January 2016