26+ Plan Examples & Templates in Word
It is easy to come up with things that you want to do or thing that you want to achieve; however, achieving them is another story. In order to be successful with your endeavor, you need to have a guide that will help you keep your focus and be on the right track.
Having a plan with anything that you do is always a good idea. Although some plans are only kept in mind especially when only about simple everyday chores, it can still help you achieve the outcome that you want. A plan lists the steps and requirements in order to achieve your goal/s. It basically maps out the your strategies in order to be successful in your endeavor.
Elements of a Plan
A plan is only effective if made right; thus, it is important that you know and understand what should be included in your plan. However, a plan can be used for various of things; the purpose with which the plan will be used will determine what will be the required contents. Remember to stick to what is needed or required for your plan in order for it to be effective. Listed below are the basic elements every plan should have:
- Mission/Vision: Your plan should have a goal/objective that you want to achieve. An effective plan must have a clearly defined mission/vision: what you want to do/achieve, where you want to go, etc. Having a strong sense of purpose will help you stay aligned with your primary mission/vision. Defining what your mission/vision for your project or company/organization will help you create related and cohesive goals.
- Guide principles: If you and/or the people taking part in the plan is not doing what you’re supposed to, then having a plan is simply useless. Thus, it is important to include guiding principles in your plan that will define which types of behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors will not be tolerated within the working force. Simply put, they describe how you should behave while within the organization or company.
- Defined outcome: A plan is there for a reason: to help you achieve your mission/vision or your goals/objectives. However, a plan can only be effective when you clearly define what you want to achieve. It is important to have a clear definition of the outcome you want to achieve; otherwise, you will be working in circles not knowing what will be the best thing to do or what step to take. Remember that the steps, process, or strategies in your plan will depend on what you want to achieve.
- Task accountability: In order for the plan to be perfectly executed, there should be a clear accountability for the tasks. The plan should include who is responsible for the tasks or segments in the plan. Tasks or activities should be effectively designated in order to ensure that every step is well taken cared of. This way, you also ensure that people with the right skills are working specifically where they’re good at to ensure maximum efficiency.
- Focus/Strategies: Your plan should provide information as to how you’re going to get to your ideal destination or who you’re going to achieve your desired outcome. It should be well explained what will be the focus of your plan in order to arrive at your end point. Aside from that, a plan should also explain the strategies that will be employed in order to achieve the ultimate goal/objective.
26+ Plan Template in Word
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How to Make an Effective Plan
As mentioned, a plan can be used for anything, but majority of the time it is used for corporate or business purposes like a business plan, strategic plan, management plan, etc. Although they are used for different purposes, a plan basically follows the same principles. Since you now have an idea about the essential elements your plan should have, you can proceed to making your plan, be it for personal or professional use. Here is an easy guide on how you can make an effective plan:
1. Identify the purpose of the plan:
In order for a plan to be effective you must be able to clearly identify what the purpose of your plan is. As mentioned, you need to have a concrete grasp of your mission/vision in order to perfectly incorporate in your plan. Ask yourself what you want to achieve or accomplish, what outcome do you want to have by the end of a certain period of time, etc. This way you can proceed to determining the steps or strategies you need to employ to achieve them.
2. Write the background/executive summary:
After identifying the purpose of your plan, make sure to write a background or executive summary to formally explain what the is for. It should be able to clearly explain the contents of the plan, basically sum up what it is all about, why it’s necessary and so on. Most of the time, the background/executive summary is the only part of the plan your audience reads through; thus, it is important to provide basically a summary of every part of the plan in order to explain its main purpose.
3. Determine goals and objectives:
A plan can only be made when you have clearly determined the goals and objectives that you want to accomplish. Thus, it is important to include the goals and objectives for your plan; what you want to do, what you want to accomplish, when you want done, and so on. However, you should remember that your goals should focus on the bigger picture while your objectives should be specific and tangible. You have to identify your short-term and long-term goals and objectives so you can easily track and measure your progress.
4. Identify resources:
You need resources in order to accomplish tasks in your plan. Write down the resources you will need that is essential in achieving your goals and objectives. Depending on the purpose of your plan, the resources you will need may vary. The resources for your plan can include things like financial budget, personnel, consultants, buildings or rooms, and books. Including the resources you may need for your plan ensures that you prioritize fulfilling them as you start to work on each tasks in your plan.
5. Determine constraints/risks:
There is no guarantee that everything will go your way just because you have a plan. That it why it is important to determine constraints that may hinder you from achieving your goals and objectives and identifying the risks as you go along the way. This way you can prepare for them and find good solutions before they even arise. In order for it to be more effective, it is best to also include the solutions you prefer to use when you encounter such constraints or risks just like in a risk management plan.
6. Delegate accountability:
Having a plan means you also have quite few number of tasks you need to accomplish, that’s why it is important to have people you can easily and efficiently work with. In the same sense, tasks can only be accomplished when delegated properly. You need to assign each task to people you’re working with that has the appropriate skill set. You need to assign responsibilities and ensure that there is accountability for the success of each task.
7. Write and explain your strategy:
After, look at your plan and decide how you will use your resources to overcome constraints or risks and how you can efficiently accomplish your goals and objectives. In this part of the process, write down the best actions to take in order to accomplish tasks; it is best to include what should be done daily or weekly in order to complete your objective along with the people who should carry out the tasks. It is also best to create a schedule to ensure you are not falling behind on your tasks.
Tips in Creating a Plan
Here are some additional tips you can refer to when creating a plan:
- Be sure to determine and clearly define your goals and objectives; otherwise, a plan will be useless.
- Know and understand why there is a need for your purpose, i.e. your business, project, etc., before making a plan.
- Know what should be included in your plan; it usually varies on what the plan will be used for.
- Outline the contents of your plan before writing its entirety.
- Make sure you prepare for variables that may affect your overall plan.
- Record and track all the progress you make with your plan.
- Review and modify the plan regularly.
Types of Plans
Plans can be used for different reasons, which means the inclusions are also different depending on what the plan will be used for. To help you know and understand various types of plans, the types and their definition are listed below:
1. Operational plan: An operation plan is commonly used by managers in order accomplish his/her responsibilities. Operational plans are made by supervisors, team leaders, facilitators, etc. in order to support a tactical plan. In addition, it can be a single‐use plan or an ongoing/standing plan.
2. Tactical plan: A tactical plan is designed to focus on what lower level units in each division should do, how they should do it, and who is in charge in each level. This plan is concerned with shorter time frames and narrower scopes and has a usual span of one year or less since they are considered as short-term goals.
3. Strategic plan: This is a plan that outlines the steps needed to achieve the goals of the organizations as a whole. A strategic plan normally looks over the next two, three, five, or even more years to move the organization toward where it wants to be. This plan requires unity and harmony within every level of management in the organization.
4. Contingency plan: This plan involves identifying alternative actions that can be used by the organization when the original plan becomes inadequate due to ever changing circumstances. The main goal of a contingency plan is to allow the organization to become adaptive, flexible, and master the changing conditions.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about plans:
Why is a plan important?
In general, a plan is important because it helps you outline the steps and actions you need to in order to achieve your goals and objectives. It gives you a sense of direction since it basically maps out a direction you can follow to reach success. Businesses use a business plan to help them document their goals and objectives as well as the strategies they’re going to employ. There are still other types of plans that are more appropriate for other purposes.
What are the benefits of using a plan?
Here are some of the benefits of a using a plan:
- Gives a sense of direction
- Focuses attention on goals and objectives as well as the results
- Establishes teamwork
- Anticipates risks and helps cope with challenges
- Provides a guideline for decision making