If you do not plan, you will not be as successful as you could be. That is true in business and in your personal life. Planning is about looking at your options, about making decisions, and about being in control.
Planning is a formal process that requires a commitment of time, energy, and thought. You would think that everyone in business knows how to plan. Unfortunately, that is only partially true. Are there people who know how to do a business plan, or succession plan, or a strategic plan? The answer is yes. If they do not and the plan is critical to the company’s success, they will go to the marketplace and hire someone who does know how to complete the plan. This is not where I see a weakness in planning.
The weakness in planning is with the day-to-day activities of the people on the front-line, the people who manage other people. In this regard, company size does not matter. If you have less than 10 employees or more than 10,000 employees, the planning weakness can still exist.
Description of the Problem
The problem is with the undertakings that managers must accomplish that are not simple repetitive tasks. Undertakings like delegation, coaching, goal setting, and performance management. Although, management roles and responsibilities can vary from industry to industry they all have one thing in common. That is, the manager’s ability to plan an undertaking that has a high degree of risk that is not traditionally considered something you would spend your time planning for before you took action.
Where formal processes exist for things like strategic planning, formal processes may not exist for some of the things managers must accomplish on a daily basis. To reduce the risk of failure, managers may need to create their own planning process and then be willing to use the insight tool they created on an as needed basis.
Sally wants to delegate one of her current responsibilities to a subordinate. Currently, she spends five or six hours a week overseeing what is entered into the CRM by the sales team. Because of her workload, she is sometimes not as diligent as she would like to be. The risk associated with delegating this task is high because if the information is not up-to-date and accurate it will negatively affect the monthly sales forecast, and that would make her look bad in front of her boss. She decided to do some planning before she scheduled the meeting with her subordinate.
Sally recognized that planning means she has to schedule the time to sit down and go through the formal planning process. She decided to use the Delegation Planner, an insight tool that she designed just for that purpose. The tool is a one-page Word document that looks like a form. In a little less than forty minutes, she completed the Delegation Planner. Below is a description of the steps she completed.
- Describe the task you decided to delegate.
- Why do you want to delegate this task?
- Whom will you delegate this task to?
- What are the benefits to this person for taking on this new responsibility?
- What is the timeframe for completing this plan?
- Write the training program for teaching the individual to do the work.
- What is the target date for completing the training program?
- When will you hold a meeting with the individual to explain your intentions?
- When will you hold one or more supervision meetings after training?
- What is the target date to release the person from training and oversight?
Some of the tasks you must accomplish are not frequent and repetitive. You should evaluate those assignments for risk. If the risk is there, do not wing it. Schedule time to plan for what you must accomplish. The result will be well worth your time, energy, and thought.