We all know that planning is essential in order to achieve overall organisational and departmental goals, but many plans I see when dealing with management development are, quite frankly, not worth the cigarette packet they are written on.
So how do you make sure that, not only are your plans logical and well-defined, but also motivating and integral to the results you are trying to achieve?
Here are some strategic guidelines that will help you achieve those end goals that will make your planning effective and results-oriented:
1) Identify the overall objective. What exactly are you trying to achieve? What’s the end goal? Manage your goals like you would your sat nav; that is, set the overall destination first.
2) Carry out a SWOT analysis. Analyse the environment you will be working in, consider the strengths and weaknesses surrounding the project, identify the opportunities and threats and work on the resources that you have available to you.
3) Consider the strategies to achieve the end goals. The strategy should serve to complete the big picture by considering the opportunities that exist within the company. Think of the strategy as being the route that the sat nav comes up with.
4) Implement strategies properly. Evaluate and control people’s performances to achieve the goals. Communicate what needs to be done effectively and efficiently so that everyone is singing from the same song sheet.
5) Evaluate the results you have achieved. Are the results what you expected? What adjustments, if any, should be made for future projects?
Remember that your competitors will be working on new products, technological advancements will make current production processes obsolete, changing consumer trends will reduce demands for certain products and services, while building demand for others. So when you identify these ongoing changes, you will be able to make the necessary plans for changes in all areas of the business.
Head of Training
Building a development plan, whether for your personal use or to outline a training program, is no simple task. A considerable amount of thought must go into each aspect of the plan, but where most managers, trainers, and individuals go wrong is in believing that their development plans have to be perfect on the first try. This just isn’t so.
It’s important to remember that your development plan is a guide to help you jump start your personal growth, training seminar, or project. There’s no way to predict changes, roadblocks, or setbacks and there’s no reason to feel bad about abandoning parts of the plan if necessary later on down the line.
Another mistake people make when outlining their personal development plans is in choosing too many goals. It’s perfect acceptable to have a lengthy list of goals, but it’s impossible to focus on all of them at the same time. Choose two favorites (no more than four) and focus on them until you’ve achieved your goals; then move on to the next one on your list.
Finally, make sure the goals you’ve chosen are things you really care about and want to achieve. So many people get caught up in the “development plan” cycle and end up “borrowing” ideas from other sources. In the end, they certainly make progress but it doesn’t really mean anything – they’re simply crossing items off of their “to-do” lists instead of completing tasks that have personal meaning. It’s OK to browse sample development plans or ask your mentors, supervisors, and peers for suggestions, but in the end you need to make sure the goals you include are personalized and mean something to you.
These reminders apply more to your personal develpment plan than anything else, but knowing what your goals are as a manager or trainer are just as important as your plans for your classes. In the near future we’ll talk a bit about how to tailor effective development plans for your employees and training sessions. Until then, take a look at your personal agendas and let me know what you think! Are you on track or do you need your goals a bit more?