PLANNING is your ability to see into the future and bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be to accomplish your employer’s goals.
This is done by achieving the optimum balance of needs or demands with available resources, outlining a course of action to achieve a desired result, developing a Plan Of Action outlining how the journey will unfold, setting unit goals and priorities to get there, and by delegating and coordinating assignments.
Extracted from The Effectiveness Guide:
“Plan for the future, because that is where you
are going to spend the rest of your life.”
– Mark Twain
This site will help you enhance your ability to Plan!
Planning is another core competency to your effectiveness in the workplace and is the process of achieving the optimum balance of needs or demands with available resources by identifying objectives, formulating strategies to achieve them, arranging or creating the means required, and implementing, directing, and monitoring all steps in their proper sequence.
Good planning bridges the gap between where you are to where you want to be. It helps you decide in advance what to do and how to do it. Planning also provides direction, reduces risk, reduces overlapping and wasteful activities, promotes innovation and creativity, sets objectives, and develops the appropriate courses of action for better decision making.
Here are a few suggestions to enhance your ability to plan.
Resolve all your Unresolved Issues
Unresolved Issues are any Questions, Unknowns, Issues, Concerns, Short-falls, Obstacles, or Problems that could slow or stop your progress.
To determine your Unresolved Issues, with the help of your team, answer these questions:
- What do I need to know, but don’t?
- What do I know for sure, but the answer is unsatisfactory or unacceptable to me?
- Who did this project last time and what problems did he encounter?
- What Questions, Unknowns, Concerns, Short-falls, Obstacles, and Problems could stop/delay my progress?
This is an example format to use to document all your Unresolved Issues.
Unresolved Issue List for Company Team Building Session
|Who is the best guest speaker?||Bill||May 6||
|How pay for 27 hotel rooms?||Joe||May 7||
Don’t delete anything from this list. You’ll need them later.
Just Strike Through them when known and acceptable to you.
Any questions concerning your project, that can’t be answered, should go on your Unresolved Issues List, until the answer is known for certain and acceptable to you.
When an answer becomes available, if it’s still unacceptable (the answer is still a problem), keep the issue on your Unresolved Issues List until the answer is both known for certain and acceptable to you.
Don’t be surprised when one issue is resolved, several new issues appear. Just add them to the Unresolved Issues List, delegate them to a team member, and have him create a POA to resolve them. When the issue is resolved, notify all team members.
Working to resolve everything on the Unresolved Issues List will dramatically increase your probability of success.
Action items (Unresolved Issues) should be stated as a one sentence question. This is done so your leader and his leader can review your list and provide you the answers or issue new guidance. Action items should be assigned to the team member who has the responsibility for the issue.
Delegate your ASSIGNED DUTIES
This section assumes you’re the leader with several team members.
Assigned duties are duties stated in the leader’s job description.
Have you ever struggled trying to determine which of your duties to delegate and to whom? First, you can’t delegate away your responsibilities.
The leader is responsible for everything that happens
or fails to happen within his unit.
But you can delegate your authority. The only question that remains is WHAT should you delegate?
Here’s the Secret to your long-term success:
Reassign all your assigned duties to your team members
as part of their Job Description.
Since the responsibility for all your duties (both assigned and inherent) still belong to you, delegate each assigned duty to a team member. Then, train them how to perform these assigned duties to standard. This may sound strange at first. But, if you don’t do this, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and lose your Flexibility to Respond.
What about new problems that come up?
Treat every problem the same as your assigned duties or a new project. Delegate problems to your team members, rather than trying to resolve them yourself. In some cases, these problems will become projects. If you get involved in solving problems yourself, without delegating them, you’ll quickly lose your Flexibility to Respond. So, be careful.
Which team member should receive the assignment?
As I see it, you have three options:
- First, assign the problem to someone who is most available
- Second, assign the problem to your most trusted member
- Third, and my favorite, is to assign the problem to the team member whose duties and responsibilities most closely align with the problem – even if that team member will now be overwhelmed.
Why? Because it’s good to keep problems, changes, and new projects with the team member whose responsibilities most closely fit. This ensures that the team with the greatest expertise, institutional knowledge, and experience receives the assignment. In other words, keep things where they belong. And, if a team member becomes overwhelmed, you can reassign or reposition others who are less engaged to assist temporarily. That’s what leaders do. That’s why you should always protect your Flexibility to Respond.
Conduct your Leader ONLY INHERENT DUTIES
What are your duties? As a leader, you have two categories of duties: Assigned duties which are stated in your Job Description and Inherent duties.
Inherent duties are generic leader ONLY duties expected and
performed by all leaders that cannot be reassigned.
The most important Leader ONLY Inherent Duties that will consume 90% of your time are:
- Traveling and attending meetings you’re required to attend
- Conducting your own internal meetings and following up
- Briefings those you’re required to brief
- Responding to emails, voicemails, and other correspondence
- Delegating actions/problems to team members to resolve
- Training team members how to successfully complete projects
- Solving problems only you can resolve
- Conducting interviews and performance reviews
- Checking, inspecting, re-inspecting, and visiting
- Planning, organizing, building teams, training, delegating, and setting goals and priorities
- Enforcing standards, correcting, counseling, reprimanding, retraining, and punishing
- Inspiring, motivating, praising, encouraging, consoling, challenging, coaching, and promoting
As you consider these Leader ONLY Inherent Duties, realize they’re the most important things you can do. This is why all your assigned duties should be delegated (assigned) to your team members (on their Job Description).
Also, remember that when it comes to delegating, treat problems the same as assigned duties and projects. Delegate problems to your team member, as well as assigned duties and projects. In most cases, the problem will become a project or a duty requiring the efforts of others to resolve. If you get involved in solving problems yourself, without delegating them, you will quickly lose your Flexibility to Respond. So, be careful.
This is why all your assigned duties should be delegated (assigned) to your team members (on their Job Description).
Be Careful when
“ACCEPTING” New Assignments
In the workplace, if you accept an assignment, this starts the Planning Phase of the Project Process. Here, your leader has asked you to do something (task or project) and you accepted. If you accepted, you’ve promised to deliver, but will you?
Do you have to accept every assignment your leader gives you?
Actually, No. You have several choices. However, if you accept an assignment, or don’t say anything, you just made a promise to deliver. A promise also includes when you tell someone you’ll do something or when you’re asked for help and you say you’ll help. If you’re not going to help, then say so!
Keep your word, especially to yourself, or
don’t make the promise in the first place.
Whether you promise a friend, associate, your leader, a total stranger, or yourself that you’ll do something by a certain time, you’ve already created a debt. And, if you’re poor at keeping your promises, this will destroy your credibility. The toxic effect of this debt is catastrophic to your relationships, as well as your self-image. If it’s a bad habit, own up to it and make the change. Do you deliver on what you said you’d do? If you tell someone, “I’ll get back to you,” do you?
Your greatest personal power is your word.
Under promise and over deliver!
The person doing the asking could be a superior (your leader in most cases) or it could be a peer or even a subordinate. However, just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean you must accept.
Here are the five Options you have when asked to do anything:
If you Accept, you begin the process of receiving the project. Receiving a project means you’ve been selected by someone (normally your leader) to be In-Charge of making something (the project) happen and you agreed to accept. Do not accept if you cannot deliver. Stop and think. If you have any concerns or reservations, say so. When you first receive a project, it’s important you identify two things: what needs to be done and the deadline?
Be careful not to accept too much, which will burn you out. Accepting too much and being afraid or too proud to say NO or ask for help, is the recipe for disaster. If you intend to remain effective over the long haul, ensure you know your limits and your workload.
Part of being effective is knowing when to say NO,
and when to ASK for HELP.
If you Accept with Conditions, state your reasons and negotiate the conditions. Negotiating is the most underrated skill a person can have and one of the most productive. When you consider that most human communication is some form of negotiating, you’ll quickly come to realize how important this skill is to your ability to influence others. Can you say NO to your leader? Of course, just make sure you have a good reason. Now the negotiations begin.
If you Delay, by telling someone that you’ll get back with them, do you? Remember, your integrity and credibility are being tested here. Keep your word.
If you Redirect, ensure you direct them to someone or somewhere that can help the asker. Helping others builds relationships. If you can’t help them or they can help themselves, direct them to the solution. Be helpful.
If you Reject, ensure you have a good reason. Can you reject your leader? Sure, but he’ll need a good reason. Also, be prepared to negotiate because your leader may have no other choice. Be assertive and tell your leader specifically what you need, along with the consequences and effects of what won’t get done.
Note: All these actions assume that you are the Project Leader for an important project.
How Complex & Important is your Project?
Here are the most important questions to ask to determine the complexity and importance of any project:
- What’s the most important task for the success of this project?
- What must be ordered or started now
- Who needs to know about this right now?
- Who has conducted a project like this before?
- What does being In-Charge mean?
- What do you have the authority to do?
To be continued: If you’d like to learn more about enhancing your ability to PLAN, you can do so by adding this book to your professional library, today!
YOUR GUIDE TO
Here you’ll learn these skills:
CHAPTER 1: BY CREATING A PLAN OF ACTION (POA)
CHAPTER 2: BY USING FORMATS AND CHECKLISTS
CHAPTER 3: BY USING PREVENTIVE ACTIONS
CHAPTER 4: BY EXAMINING YOUR ASSUMPTIONS
CHAPTER 5: BY TAKING “IMMEDIATE ACTION”
CHAPTER 6: BY NOT FORGETIN NOTHIN!
CHAPTER 7: BY GIVING & RECEIVING “BACKBRIEFINGS”
CHAPTER 8: BY GIVING & RECEIVING “PROGRESS BRIEFINGS”
CHAPTER 9: BY ASSESSING THE CONSEQUENCES & EFFECTS
CHAPTER 10: BY UNDERSTANDING RISK
CHAPTER 11: BY CONDUCTING A RISK ASSESSMENT
CHAPTER 12: BY MITIGATING YOUR ANTICIPATED RISK
CHAPTER 13: BY MITIGATING YOUR UNANTICIPATED RISK
CHAPTER 14: BY DEMONSTRATING GOOD JUDGMENT
CHAPTER 15: BY MANAGING A BUDGET
CHAPTER 16: BY ASSESSING PROJECT SUCCESS
CHAPTER 17: BY INSPECTING WHAT YOU EXPECT
APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY OF TERMS
APPENDIX B: BY RESOLVING ALL YOUR UNRESOLVED ISSUES
APPENDIX C: BY LEARNING FROM MISTAKES & FAILURE
APPENDIX D: CONDUCT A BRAINSTORMING SESSION
APPENDIX E: MAKING CORRECTIONS
APPENDIX F: MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR PROJECT
This is your chance to invest in your copy of this book – guaranteed to make you a more effective PLANNER tomorrow than you are today.
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Here’s what you’ll learn:
CHAPTER 1: BY BECOMING A BETTER FOLLOWER
CHAPTER 3: BY BECOMING A BETTER PLANNER
CHAPTER 4: BY BECOMING A BETTER ORGANIZER
CHAPTER 5: BY BECOMING A BETTER COMMUNICATOR
CHAPTER 6: BY BECOMING A BETTER PROBLEM SOLVER
CHAPTER 7: BY ENHANCING YOUR AWARENESS
CHAPTER 8: BY BECOMING A BETTER TRAINER
CHAPTER 9: BY ENHANCING YOUR ABILITY TO MOTIVATE
CHAPTER 10: BY ENHANCING YOUR CHARACTER
APPENDIX A: PLAN OF ACTION EXAMPLE
APPENDIX B: REAL WORLD PROBLEM SOLVING EXAMPLE
APPENDIX C: ADVANCE PROBLEM SOLVING WITH VUCA
APPENDIX D: CAREER ADVICE
APPENDIX E: CREATING MISSION AND VISION STATEMENTS
The Effectiveness Guide will be the best investment you’ll ever make in your career.
Also, if you feel this information could help someone else, please take a moment to let them know. If it turns out to make a difference in their life, they’ll be forever grateful to you – as will I.
Let’s make a difference together – one person at a time!
All the best!
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