What a manager needs to know about planning

Managers are very important leaders. In fact, they are the drivers of the execution of an organization’s key strategies. With this power comes an even greater responsibility of effective management of human, material, and virtual resources. Without a feasible plan, one can jeopardize the entire organization’s success and even existence.

This paper highlights on the most important aspects that any manger should know. It points out steps a manger can take to ensure that stakeholders appreciate their role as ‘partners’, rather than ‘helping hands’ (Richardson 1). This way, they can be ‘consulted’ on important decision-making occasions and not just ‘informed’ about what is going to happen from then henceforth.

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Planning is an essential tool for effective mangers. The strategy they decide to employ in pursuit for success: achievement of long-range goals should be iterative and fluid. Key factors that should be considered in charting these plans include products, customers, and operations (Richardson 1). It all begins by goal setting.

This refers to the prioritization of the organization’s objectives in a bid to yield the maximum benefits in terms of increased value of the firm to stakeholders. This process can include the formulation of a mission statement, and the plans that are set out should be flexible. Next is the development of the proposed plan.

This stage involves an analysis of the current positioning of the firm based on current performance, the target destination that the firm hopes to land at; here, it is advisable to execute SWOT analysis- asses the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the firm (Richardson 2), which also includes looking into the various options of strategies that are available. Finally, evaluation of how the organization follows to arrive at its destination through measuring; resources, requirements, risks, and returns.

The third step is customer analysis, which involves knowing who one is producing for, what they like, and why others buy from the competition is essential for strategizing development plans. This can be done through regular surveys or focus groups to obtain valid information.

With this information, a manager then needs to conduct an internal business analysis from which the firm is operational: an assessment of available talents, functions, and relationships (Richardson 2) and financial positioning can be gauged. Such an analysis enables a manger to make strategic choices on what to produce and how (direction) to go about it. This comes in well through teamwork where a manager seeks answers from the team that will solve their current problems.

Examples of thoughtful strategies here include asset optimization, which involves devising the most effective plan to develop the firm’s available assets. It also takes into account core business thinking: finding out what business is fundamental to the success of the firm then maximizing on it, and trying to work with a ‘Best Practices List-a summarized list of tried and tested highly effective generic approaches for strategizing such as consolidation and bypassing (Richardson 3).

Finally, implementation of these strategies or plans can be testy, to be effective, a manager should utilize a balanced scorecard, which liberates them from the domination of financial measures by integrating: finances, consumers, business processes, and learning and growth (Richardson 3). They thus avoid dealing with superior attitudes that can prove detrimental to the process. These tips can at least assist in solving some of the common challenges most managers face due to lack of planning.

Works Cited

Richardson, Bill. What Project Managers Need to Know about Strategic Planning. International Institute for Learning (2008): 1-4.

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