Planning is essential in our daily lives in order to create an outline not just for our daily grind but for the week’s, month’s, and even year’s schedule of activities. We plan so we can take control of our schedules and arrange our appointment so as not to miss any of them. Similarly, in a business entity, a plan is important to carry out the operations of the entity and to prepare for future activities.
Hence, whether you are an individual or in an organization, you need a plan not just to live but to survive and stand out among the competition. Your plan must be flexible enough to reflect unanticipated changes and to take into consideration other factors that might hinder the realization of your plans. Here are some plan templates and examples that may help you outline and plot your schedule.
Planning may be easy, but implementing the plan is quite challenging especially when your plans are not in detail. Hence, for your plan to be effective, it must comprise the following important elements:
1. Mission: What is your purpose? Why do you exist? These questions will lead you to identify your organization’s mission. Your plan must contain your mission statement which describes your overall intention and supports your vision. It serves to communicate your purpose to the people working in your company as well as to customers, suppliers, and stakeholders. Knowing and understanding your purpose will keep you aligned with your mission, which leads you to accomplish your goals.
2. Vision: After establishing your mission, your plan must also contain a vision statement. Where are we headed? What would we look like ten years from now? These are questions to consider when you are drafting your vision. Your vision creates a mental image of what your company desires to achieve. It is something that creates inspiration as well as aspiration to the people working in your company. It also addresses the problem that your company is seeking to solve and resolve.
3. Principles: Implementing guiding principles are important in a plan to define the proper and acceptable behavior that the people within an organization must possess. They also describe how those people must behave in order to have peace and harmony within the organization. The principles are also reflected in the way the company deals with the people outside the organization such as the customers, suppliers, and business partners.
4. Outcome: You are creating a plan to achieve something. So it is fitting and proper that you specify and clearly define the outcome of your plan. In this way, you will know what you want to achieve and how you achieve it. If you do not have a clear outcome outlined, it is like you are running in a rat race where you are running in circles and you do not know where to find an exit. Note that the steps that you would be taking will depend on what you are trying to achieve. Hence, make sure you clearly define your outcome.
5. Accountability: In your planning and preparation stage, designating accountability for the tasks is important for your plan to be perfectly executed. There must be someone who will be held responsible for a certain job so that it would be easy to track the progress and to know the details and other important information related to that specific task. In assigning accountability, it is vital that people are designated to their field of work and that they are working specifically in an area where they are good at. You might be interested in making an emergency care plan.
6. Strategies: Also included in a plan are your strategies on how you are going to take a step toward achieving your goals. These are the methods implemented by the entity ensuring that there is efficiency and effectiveness in the work of the team. It must contain detailed information and explanation on the specific actions that you are trying to undertake to arrive at your desired goal. The strategies will help the people working toward a certain goal achieve it in a smooth and efficient way. In this case, a strategic plan would be helpful.
Careful planning is important in every entity whether or not you are into business. Every organization needs to create a plan in order to run smoothly and to achieve organizational goals. It is vital that key personnel participate in planning to understand and execute the plan properly. How then will you create an effective plan? Below are the simple guides on how to do it
1. Meet with the team you will be working with: Firstly, it is important that you will do the planning with your team members not only to ask their ideas or suggestions but also to engage them in the execution. It has been observed that those people who participated in planning have higher tendency to take part in the execution of the plan than those who are not involved in the planning stage. Hence, see to it that key personnel or team leaders are present in the planning stage to be active in the execution as well as to disseminate correct information to their respective teams or subordinates.
2. Define the purpose of the plan: Among the important elements of a plan is its purpose which serves as the North Star for every organization. You need to clearly define what do you want to accomplish or achieve at the end of a certain time period. In this way, you will know what steps you need to make in order to attain your purpose. Members of the organization must be well aware of those purpose as well for them to carry out their tasks in line with the purpose. Without a purpose, your company will never grow and you do not know why you are running a company in the first place.
3. Write the executive summary: Your executive summary refers to the background or overview of your whole plan. It must explain the contents of the plan and provides a brief sum-up on what your plan is all about. Make sure that you are citing important and key points in your executive summary for this would be the first thing that people would commonly read through. It must also clearly present the purpose of your plan and why your company exists. It does not necessarily provide a comprehensive and lengthy company introduction or history.
4. Identify your goals and objectives: Goals are the broad primary outcomes and focus on the bigger picture of your plan while objectives are the small measurable steps to achieve a strategy that should be specific and tangible. It is important that you have short- and long-term goals as well as objectives that will lead you toward achieving the goal so you can measure your progress and track where you are in your plans. Remember that constant review and update of objectives is needed to inline your tasks with the company goals.
5. List the resources needed: You must list all the resources you need to accomplish the tasks in your plan. Different plans call for different resources, so you must identify the specific resources fitting for your goals and objectives. You must also consider the expenses in gathering and acquiring those resources and write them down in your plan so you can weigh different alternatives and choose the most feasible one. Resources may include materials and tools like books, buildings, rooms, consultants, budget personnel, and other manpower.
6. Identify the constraints and risks: Constraints pertain to circumstances that may hinder you from achieving your goals and objectives. You must identify these constraints so you can do something about it. On the other hand, risks are those that may expose your plan to danger or danger along the way. Not all risks can be totally eliminated, but you can make something in order to reduce it. Hence, after identifying the risks, it is best that you have a risk management plan where you can include the solutions to those risks and possible ways to refrain them.
7. Designate accountability: There must be someone who will be held responsible in different aspects of your plan. Your plan typically consists of a number of tasks that you need to accomplish and require different people handling them. It is vital that you properly designate responsibilities to those people who are appropriate to do such task. It is also easy to track and monitor each task when you have someone accountable for the achieving the specific task. More likely, tasks held by accountable persons can easily be accomplished since there is someone monitoring and keeping eye on the task. To avoid or minimize incidents of accountability, you can make an incident action plan to prepare you.
8. Explain the strategies: Now that you carefully drafted your plan, you must see to it that the plan is communicated well to the members of the team, that is, the key personnel, and everyone understands the discussion. In this way, they can also correctly disseminate the plan as well as the steps toward achieving the plan to their respective teams. Although you have written down the strategies, it is crucial that you explain those to avoid misunderstanding and possible mistake in the execution if not clearly explained. You can check out project management plan.
Different types of plans have different purposes. Knowing which plan you will be creating is vital in your start-up. Here are some discussions that may help you.
Having a plan provides the organization or an individual a sense of direction toward where they are heading. It also focuses the resources on goals and objectives which are important in utilizing the resources of the entity. Risks and constraints are also identified through planning, and proper actions to address those can be implemented. Moreover, the decision-making of the key personnel will also be guided through planning. Lastly, since planning involves all the members of the team, it builds and enhances teamwork, making the team more intact in achieving organizational goals. You may also see personal plan examples.
Internally, it guides the key personnel on strategic issues, defines performance standards, guides employees in decision-making, helps establish a framework for ethical behavior, and inspire employees to be more productive and focused on the company goals. Externally, it serves as a public relations tools and provide communication with several parties related to the company such as customers, suppliers, and partners.