The effective work of any organization requires a clear definition of goals and objectives of activity. On the basis of these, a program is drawn up, which helps the company to follow the planned path and rationally use resources. Plans can be long-term and current, for the entire organization and for its structural divisions. To understand this topic, it is worth understanding what the term “planning” means.
This is a certain type of activity, which is associated with the setting of goals, objectives, which will be implemented by certain actions in the future. It is also possible to refer this concept to one of the most important functions of management. But the performance of this function is impossible without defining the main levels of planning.
The stages of the characteristic of planning
A total of four levels, on which this concept is based, can be distinguished:
- Setting the main goals and objectives.
- Drawing up a program for accomplishing the goals set, as well as defining the levels of planning processes.
- Identification of all necessary resources and their sources, which will be necessary in the process of achieving the goal or task.
- Assigning performers and communicating plans to them.
These are the levels of planning that exist. The primary function is the formulation and adoption of a specific ordinance that is intended for whoever is the subject of management and will be given a specific task or goal. It is called this decree (whether verbal or written) – a management decision.
Planning can be defined as one of the methods by which management can direct the efforts of the entire team to achieve common goals. It is with this function that any management process begins, and the end result of the work depends on the quality of the tasks.
The essence of this management function is to provide answers to the paramount questions without which it is impossible to move forward:
- Where are we now? In answering this question, all the strengths and weaknesses of the organization in the main areas of its functioning should be evaluated. This is primarily the financial side, marketing, and personnel. After analyzing these areas you can already talk about what prospects the organization has.
- What do we need to achieve? At this stage it is necessary to assess the capabilities of the organization, to determine the levels of planning management, as well as the weaknesses. Based on these, we should determine the main goals for the given period of time, and what could be a threat that would prevent their achievement.
- How will we achieve the intended results? This step determines the list and algorithm of actions by which the members of the organization will implement the goals.
Only by answering these questions can a clear planning system be built.
The problem of implementation
Practice shows that many managers, on whose shoulders the function of systematic planning is entrusted, are reluctant to do it. It’s all about the tendency to act rather than sit in one place and analyze. Many people think that planning is boring and tedious, so they may not develop any strategies, but proceed immediately to direct action.
Another problem faced by those who have to deal with the improvement of management systems, whether entrepreneurs or managers, is the issue of inconsistency between the company development program and the mechanism of its implementation. This is called the strategic gap. A considerable amount of research is devoted to solving this problem, so there are specific methods that can bridge the gap. For example, you can refer to the book by M. Coveney entitled “The Strategic Gap: Technologies for Bringing Corporate Strategy to Life”.
The author in his work describes a multi-step process, which is just aimed at the implementation of the organization development program by integrating the best practices of business management with the latest information technology. The main task is to create a mechanism that connects strategic performance indicators of its activities through a system of cause-and-effect relationships with initiatives and specific actions aimed at implementing this program.
The support of global planning by information technology is growing as well. The number of software products is growing daily. New systems of both domestic developers and localized foreign applications are constantly appearing.
What is the role of planning in management?
The task of the organization in this process is to determine its actions for a certain period of time, as well as to consider their nature and sequence. Experts note that management and planning work in close connection with each other. The effective work of one is impossible without the other. The main function of management is to achieve set goals, which, in turn, are determined by planning.
This process must be constantly monitored, in order to ensure maximum efficiency. If you summarize, the planning is intended in order to precisely formulate the main goals and objectives of any organization, enterprise and so on. And also to distribute them between departments and performers and define a clear sequence of activities to address them.
What levels of planning system are there?
In any organization, the program of goals has a certain number of mandatory levels. There are a total of three. These are strategic, operational and business planning. Let’s look at each of the levels in more detail, because they are the basis for the successful achievement of goals.
What can be the level of strategic planning? It is the initial stage during which the long-term goals to which the organization will aspire are defined. In order to set them correctly, you must first identify the mission of the company. Exactly in the process of defining it the most important questions are touched, because it is necessary to understand the sense of existence of the organization, its necessity and benefit for the society. Strategic goals just define what needs to be achieved globally and how it can be done.
The program does not touch the details, but reveals only the general method of achieving the desired result. The set of strategies is oriented to the dynamic nature of the processes that occur in society. Usually one of the paths is basic, but the others are implemented only in certain situations. The main task of a strategy is to give direction and point to the boundaries of the implementation of the main activity of a certain business planning, and we can also talk about creating the basis for the daily task setting.
Let’s move on to the second level. The task of this level of planning is to link the activities aimed at achieving certain results to the resources received. The first thing worth mentioning is the competent allocation of finances. In parallel, a plan for the use of human, informational, intellectual resources must be evaluated and created. At this stage you can already see if it is possible to achieve the intended result. Also in the process of realization of the program, the general ideas are transformed into clear indicators.
Operational level of planning
We move on to the third stage, in which a generalized vision of goals and prospects passes to the stage of daily tasks. The basis of operational planning is to specify actions, procedures, deadlines, real costs. The difference of this level from others is that the program indicators are measurable and easier to control and manage.
Here the human factor plays a great role. At this stage there is an active analysis of the work done and adjustment of plans. Only the comparison of the operational program, the analysis of its implementation gives a correct picture of the implementation of the organization management.