Planning in five minutes

Are you a manager?  If so, you are accountable for providing the organisation and your people with a plan for the work of your area.  It’s not a bonus thing to do if you get time for it, it’s actually one of the things you are paid to do.

So here’s how you do it.

Write down a) where your area needs to end up at a future point, then b) how it got there.  How far into the future?  Use this simple guide:

  • If you run a frontline team, write down what’s been completed at the end of the year, both in terms of business-as-usual volumes and any new stuff you’ve done.  Now write down what the team did to achieve that (what training, methods, techniques, layout, rosters etc. got them there).  Your job is about doing it better.
  • If you’re a middle or senior manager (run teams of teams), pick a point at least 18 months in the future, no more than two years, and write down how your area now gets it’s work done.  Now write down what the major developments were that lead to the new future being delivered.  Your job is about effectiveness and efficiency, think ratios, operational excellence.
  • If you’re a general manager (executive role), pick a point between 3 to 5 years in the future and write down what areas your business is now in, what areas your business has left behind, and what areas you have reinvested in.  Now write down what had to happen to make these changes.  Your job is about value – what are the best value markets, philosophies and approaches for the business.
  • And if you’re a CEO, write down what your business stands for in 7 year’s time.  Has the reason for existing changed?  The fundamental beliefs now different?  Your job is about ongoing viability and sustainability in the market.   You’ve got 7 years – that’s plenty of time to reconfigure the fundamentals of purpose to ensure what your organisation provides is actually a useful part of society.

Notice the above is in the past tense?  Do it like this – put yourself in the future, describe it and look back and explain how it got there.

OK – do the above.  It will only take you five minutes because all of this stuff is already in your head.  But now it will be in your people’s head too.

Much better.


Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

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