The topic is a valuable statement from the management thought leader Peter F Drucker. This can be looked both from the management parlance as well as from a personal mastery perspective.

Planning

Planning is all about the steps to be taken towards achieving a vision. Vision is future imprint that an organization or a team or an individual visualized as a goal. Thus planning considers the current conditions in which the team operates or the individuals execution capabilities. The planning takes into account different factors. For an organization it considers,

  1. The market in which they operate.
  2. The economic conditions of the market.
  3. The competitors and their competitors.
  4. Their customers.
  5. Forecasts.
  6. Critical contingencies.

When it comes to individuals, the above factors do apply, but within their area of execution. For personal mastery seekers or budding entrepreneurs, the points that needs to be considered are

  1. The capability of the individual.
  2. The subject they are passionate about.
  3. The evolving opportunities and the influencers.
  4. The knowledge bearer.
  5. Their adoption window.
Personal mastery assessment framework

The main purpose of planning is to establish objectives. The goals that needs to be achieved and by when to be achieved. When planning, you would also need to take into consideration, what can be the alternative course of action, incase you face challenges. Planning should also have the steps or the task breakdown at a higher level.

Let’s assume that you would like to start blogging and to reach larger audience. Then you need to plan for the next fortnight, what would be the topic on which you would write the blogs, the frequency in which you would release the blogs and where these blogs fits in, with respect to your overall vision about you. Also, are there any backup blog drafts in place, incase for some reason, you are not able to focus on this blog.

Similarly, in an organization, a team has to plan for their task delivery. Let’s assume as case where in the team has to collect the the feedback from the employees related to CoVID situation. So, the team has to split and own, the following: The employees to be targeted across various departments, the channel in which the survey could be conducted, the time duration during which the survey is being planned, what is the end result the organization is looking from this survey and hence the kind of questions that needs to be framed, how the survey can be launched, if there is some system issues how would we mitigate.

The most important step about planning, is that at every progress stage you have to check, how much it is aligned with respect to the plan, what is needed to be tweaked or re-aligned, when its not aligned towards the original goal. Also, you need to do an impact analysis, What if, I leave halfway of my goal or what if the team fails to deliver.

The planning can be of different types depending upon the stage at which they happen.

Strategic Planning – This happens as an actionable item, once the vision is formulated. Strategic planning generally has long time window, generally from 3 years to 10 yrs. However for individuals, you can consider from anywhere 6 months to 2 years. Strategic planning be it for the organization or the individual can change their course of growth completely. When John F Kennedy announced in 1961, within a decade we will have a man on the moon – This is a vision statement. They were able to land successfully on the moon, as they started to plan for each and every step along with a fall back scenario. Two things that I would like to relate here are

  • JoAnn Morgan, the instrumentation controller in Launch Control at the Kennedy Space Center, recalls that there were 23 critical things that had to occur perfectly for the mission to be successful. That is a strategic plan to achieve a goal.
  • Collins who was part of the crew in the lunar mission, orbiting the moon in the mother ship, clearly know that if something happens to the crew which lands on the moon, ie to Neil Armstrong & Edwin Aldrin, he has to comeback leaving them on the moon. That’s the fallback option if a catastrophe occurs.
The view of Earth from the surface of the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Source: –https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/07/apollo-missions-nasa-lunar-moon-landing/

Tactical planning – This for an organization is of intermediate range like one to three years. For personal mastery, it can be considered anywhere between 90 -180days. For example, you would like to publish a book of poems. Then you start writing minimum 2 poems per day for the next 90 to 180 days. That brings you to 180 or 360 poems. Now you have a collection of poems, which you can further be amended and corrected to be launched as a book

Operational planning – This is short form of delivery towards the tactical milestones. In operational planning in an organization, you can generally find the department teams or the project units working on their day to day tasks aligned with the wider goal of half yearly or the annual goals. An individual should refer to this as his or her weekly or day to day tasks. Relating to the same example above, in order to write two poems every day, you need to identify the topics or category in which you would write poems for this week. Say for example the poems in week one relates to nature, week two relates to humanity etc. You are likely to spend everyday 2-3hrs to write couple of poems on this topic. This helps to design and develop steps that is aligned with the larger vision through the strategic and tactical plans.

As this being a 5 part series blog, you can follow up on this topic every thursday.

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