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Steps in Planning

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Essay title: Steps in Planning

Steps in Planning

The practical steps listed below, and diagramed in Figure 4-2. are of general application. In practice, however, one must study the feasibility of possible courses of action at each stage.

1. Being �Aware of Opportunities

Although it precedes actual planning and is therefore not strictly a part of

the planning process, �art awareness of opportunities* in the external environment as well as within the organization is the real starting point for planning. All managers should take a preliminary look at possible future opportunities and see them clearly and completely, know where their company stands in light of its strengths and weaknesses, understand what problems it has to solve and why, and know what it can expect to gain. Setting realistic objectives depends on this awareness. Planning requires a realistic diagnosis of the opportunity situation.

The word problems might be used instead of opportunities. However, a state of disorder or confusion and a steed for a solution to achieve a given goal can more constructively be regarded as an opportunity. In fact, one very successful and astute company president does not permit his colleagues to speak of problems; they must speak only of opportunities.

2. Establishing Objectives

The second step in planning is to establish objectives for the entire enterprise and then for each subordinate work unit. This is to be done for the long term as well as for the short range. Objectives specify the expected results and indicate the end points of what is to be done, where the primary emphasis is to be placed, and what is to be accomplished by the network of strategies, policies, procedures, rules, budgets, and programs

Enterprise objectives give direction to the major plans, which, by reflecting these objectives, define the objective of every major department. Major departmental objectives in turn control the objectives of subordinate departments, and so on down the line. In other words, objectives form a hierarchy. The objectives of lesser departments will be more accurate if subdivision managers understand the overall enterprise objectives and the derivative goals. Managers should also have the opportunity to contribute ideas for setting their own goals and those of the enterprise.

3. Developing Premises

The next logical step in planning is to establish. Circulate, and obtain agreement to utilize critical planning premises such as forecasts, applicable basic policies, and existing company plans. Premises are assumptions about the environment in which the plan is to he carried on:. It is important for all the managers involved in planning to agree on the premises. In fact, the major principle of planning premises is this: the more thoroughly individuals charged with planning understand and agree to utilize consistent planning premises. The more coordinated enterprise planning will be

Forecasting is important in premising: What kinds of markets will there be? What volume of sales? What prices? What products? What technical developments? What costs? What wage rates? What tax rates and policies? What new plants? What policies with respect to dividends? What political or social environment? How will expansion be financed? What are the long-term trends?

4. Determining Alternative Courses

The fourth step in planning is to search for and examine alternative courses of action, especially those not immediately apparent. There is seldom a plan for which reasonable alternatives do not exist, and quite often an alternative that is not obvious proves to be the best.

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