A New Leaf, Part Two: Planning


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Last week, I wrote about understanding your business environment and developing a strategy that takes advantage of the levers you can use to succeed. I hope you were able to take a few minutes and reflect on the questions that I posed, and I hope that some of you found comfort in having some positive answers to those questions!

Following our framework for organizational excellence, today’s post is all about planning. Good planning practices create a bridge between high level strategies and operational realities, here are some key questions to reflect on when you think about how you might take this transitional opportunity to strengthen your planning practices:

Strategic Plans can provide the long-term direction required to succeed, including a vision, mission, values, objectives and approaches for achieving those objectives.

  • Does your team have a rich understanding of your business environment, your vision and your mission?
  • Have you described the key goals that will lead to “Mission Accomplished”?
  • Have you identified specific objectives that will help you achieve your goals?
  • Have you described the approaches and resources that are required to achieve your strategic objectives?

Operational Plans provide a medium-term road-map for work groups to operationalize a strategy and achieve specific objectives.

  • Does your team have a clear understanding of your strategic objectives?
  • Have you described the short and medium term operational milestones that will lead to the successful achievement of strategic objectives?
  • Has your team worked together to identify a sequence of activities, dependencies and timelines?
  • Do team members know their roles and responsibilities to complete work and deliver on milestones?

Project Management provides ongoing support to project teams involved in specific initiatives that aren’t part of your organization’s typical business process. This could include marketing and communications campaigns, organization improvement projects, “tiger teams” addressing specific issues or risks, or research projects.

  • Are projects proposed and approved in a consistent manner?
  • Are approved projects planned and initiated using a common and accepted approach?
  • Do project managers use a common suite of tools and supports to execute projects?
  • Are projects reviewed to identify opportunities for improvement?

Communication and Coordination of your plans is critical for the successful achievement of your mission, strategic objectives and individual projects. Effectively engaging with the right people, regularly communicating expectations and signal checking on your plan can maintain focus and increase morale and performance.

  • Do you engage with the right people to develop your plans, programs and projects?
  • Is input from stakeholders, management and colleagues incorporated into your plans?
  • Are approved plans effectively communicated to appropriate players internally and externally?
  • Do you regularly signal check with your team and other stakeholders on progress?

Hopefully these few thoughts help you to reflect on opportunities that can help you along your journey to excellence. Please get in touch or leave a comment if you have any further thoughts that you’d like to share on these ideas around planning.

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