A coherent planning framework introduces structure to the enterprise. Activities must be reviewed at regular times; performance is monitored; best practice is incorporated.
This is based on a formal planning cycle:
A formal planning system continually reviews whether structures are fit for purpose; emphasizes smaller groups and team approaches, defines authority/responsibility.
Planning and monitoring within an established framework develops key skills. These include project management, investment appraisal, team working and presentation. The combination of these skills makes plan development and monitoring a key mechanism for succession planning.
The creation of cross disciplinary planning and monitoring teams improves understanding of common enterprise goals and enhances formal networks.
Effective planning with its emphasis on bottom up development, team approaches, agreed goals, project achievement all add significantly to motivational levels and employee retention.
Effective planning demands that members of the enterprise stand back from the day to day focus on task completion to ask the three core questions:
Where are we?
Where do we want to be (and when)?
How are we going to get there as cost effectively as possible?
A business plan contains an essential review of risk and how it will be managed. Integrated monitoring identifies when action levels have been breached and a contingency plan needs to be activated.
Health and safety, corporate governance, certification, legal
An emphasis on planning concentrates the enterprise on what is important:
Common measurement criteria
A coherent plan sets clear objectives and methodologies for identifying the best routes to achieve those objectives.
The integration of planning with monitoring in a well structured plan ensures that change is continuous rather than intermittent; lessons are learnt and not forgotten.
The creation of planning teams and common measurement criteria (particularly investment appraisal) facilitates the introduction of internal competition for funds based on a free cash flow based plan.
Smaller planning units, cross disciplinary teams for planning and monitoring, clear and agreed objectives all significantly improve internal communication.