Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Planning - 5 Characteristics of Great Goals

What are the five characteristics that great goals tend to have?

Great goals tend to have the following five characteristics:
1.     Specific—clearly targeted key results and outcomes to be accomplished.
2.     Timely—linked to specific timetables and “due dates.”
3.     Measurable—described so results can be measured without ambiguity.
4.     Challenging—include a stretch factor that moves toward real gains.
5.     Attainable—although challenging, realistic and possible to achieve.

Source: Management, 11th Edition - John R. Schermerhorn

Planning - Six Major Planning Tools and Techniques

Identify and briefly describe each of the six major planning tools and techniques that managers use. Give examples of how they are used.

The six major planning tools and techniques that managers use are identified and described below:
       Forecasting is the process of predicting what will happen in the future.
       Contingency planning involves identifying alternative courses of action that can be implemented, if and when an original plan proves inadequate because of changing circumstances.
       Scenario planning is a long-term version of contingency planning that involves identifying several alternative future scenarios or states of affairs that may occur, and then making plans to deal with each scenario should it actually occur.
       Benchmarking is a technique that makes use of internal and external comparisons to better evaluate current performance and identify possible actions to improve the future.
       Staff planners are persons who take responsibility for leading and coordinating the planning function for the total organization or one of its major components.

Source: Management, 11th Edition - John R. Schermerhorn

Planning - Compare & Contrast between Strategic and Tactical Plans

Compare and contrast between strategic and tactical plans.

Strategic plans are longer-term plans that set broad and comprehensive directions for an organization and create a framework for allocating resources for maximum long term performance impact. Strategic planning begins with a vision that clarifies the purpose of the organization and expresses what it hopes to be in the future. It involves determining the goals and objectives that will be pursued in order to accomplish that vision. Also, it specifies how the organization will be positioned for competitive advantage in its external environment to accomplish those goals and objectives.
Tactical plans are developed and used to implement strategic plans. They tend to be intermediate term plans that specify step-by-step means for using the organization’s resources to put strategies into action. In business, tactical plans often take the form of functional plans that indicate how different components of the enterprise will contribute to the overall strategy. Such functional plans might include:
       Production plans—dealing with the methods and technologies needed bypeople in their work;
       Financial plans—dealing with money and capital investments;
       Facilities plans—dealing with facilities and work layouts;
       Logistics plans—dealing with suppliers and the flow of raw materials and other product inputs.

Source: Management, 11th Edition - John R. Schermerhorn

Planning - Benefit Planning for Individuals and Organizations

Describe the benefits of planning for individuals and organizations.

The benefits of planning for individuals and organizations include the following:
       Planning improvesfocus and flexibility. Focus and flexibility are important to the performance of both people and organizations in highly competitive and dynamic environments.
       Planning improves action orientation. Planning keeps people and organizations focused on the actions that are needed to stay competitive and to become better at what they are doing. Planning helps make people and organizations more oriented toward results, priorities, advantages, and change.
       Planning improves coordination. Planning helps individuals, groups, and subsystems within organizations make meaningful contributions to the organization as a whole, even as they pursue their specific tasks and objectives.
       Planning improves control. Planning facilitates control by defining objectives and desired performance results, and identifying specific actions through which they are to be pursued.
       Planning improves time management. Each day, managers are bombarded by a multitude of tasks and demands. They work in a setting of frequent interruptions, crises, and unexpected events. Consequently, it can be easy to lose track of objectives and fall prey to “time wasters.”

Source: Management, 11th Edition - John R. Schermerhorn

Planning - Planning Process

Identify and describe the steps in the planning process.

The five basic steps in the planning process are:
       1. Define your objectives––Identify desired outcomes or results in very specific ways. Know where you want to go; be specific enough so that you will know you have arrived when you get there, or know how far off the mark you are at various points along the way.
       2. Determine where you stand vis-à-vis objectives––Evaluate current accomplishments relative to the desired results. Know where you stand in reaching the objectives; know what strengths work in your favor and what weaknesses may hold you back.
       3. Develop premises regarding future conditions––Try to anticipate future events. Generate alternative “scenarios” for what may happen; identify for each scenario things that may help or hinder progress toward your objectives.
       4. Analyze alternatives and make a plan––List and carefully evaluate the possible actions that may be taken. Choose the alternative(s) most likely to accomplish your objectives; decide step by step what must be done to follow the chosen course of action.
       5.Implement the plan and evaluate results––Take action and carefully measure your progress toward objectives. Do what the plan requires; evaluate results; take corrective actions and revise plans as needed.

Source: Management, 11th Edition - John R. Schermerhorn