Seven Reasons Why Managers Fail to Plan

Is Planning Dead?

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Some believe that planning is dead!  They say that today’s environment changes too often and too quickly. Despite the disruptive and unrelenting pace of change, planning is still an important function in the workplace. A good plan provides a framework for organizing company resources and it provides direction for employees on how they can help the company fulfill its strategic goals.

The key difference in planning today is how this function is viewed and implemented.  Effective planning is less rigid now than it was in the past.

An effective plan provides principles for taking action and direction for achieving company goals. Click To Tweet

Why Plans Fail

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As I coach managers, I often find that many neglect the planning function. Seven common reasons why many of them fail to plan are the following:

• Some managers dislike constraints of any kind. It is important for managers to keep options open to encourage creativity and innovation. Taken to an extreme, however, the lack of any sensible constraints creates confusion. Employees are unsure of the strategic direction of the company as they are constantly switched from one project to another. They eventually become frustrated and organizational productivity declines.

• Some managers assume crisis management is inevitable. There’s an element of truth to this view particularly as the scope of a manager’s job increases. Unrelenting crisis management is often a sign of insufficient planning, however.

When I work with managers in these environments, I challenge them to probe deeper for the root causes behind these crises. Often, these managers are revisiting the same organizational problems because they lack a plan.

• Some managers lack the time in their schedule to plan. This is always a challenge.  In working with managers, I encourage them to improve their time management skills. Taking a time management seminar from a reputable training organization is a great way for a manager to free up more time for planning.

• Some managers have been successful without any real planning. This success becomes harder to repeat as a manager’s responsibilities increase. Planning is a critical function for middle and senior level managers as they execute organizational initiatives through others.

Managers who fail to plan, risk creating a chaotic work environment that harms workplace motivation. Click To Tweet

• Some managers do not have a system for planning. A good plan defines what needs to be done and how it is to be done. Senior managers develop strategic plans that apply to the entire organization. Middle and front line managers develop operational plans to implement the strategic plans.

There are many tools used in planning including SWOT Analysis, vision and mission statements, environmental scanning, resource analysis, etc. Since many managers are promoted for their technical ability with no real training in management, this is another area where managers can take a management seminar from a reputable company to learn how to plan effectively.

• Some managers lack self-discipline. The managers I have known who have effectively addressed this area first admitted they had shortcomings, identified realistic goals for themselves, and then committed to meeting their goals. They kept practicing self-discipline until it became routine for them.

• Some managers are solely focused on results. For these get-it-done and get-it-done quickly managers, I coach them that they need to be effective as well as being efficient. Getting things done does not always mean that the right things are being done. Well designed plans address what needs to be done in the organization (effectiveness) as well as how it is to be done (efficiency).

Despite what some may say, planning is not dead! Plans today must be living documents that adapt to changing market needs. To plan effectively, managers develop relevant plans and then adapt them as necessary to the ever-changing business landscape. No matter the reason, the familiar management saying is still true: If you fail to plan, plan to fail! It’s also difficult to have motivated and engaged employees when the organization is in chaos due to poor planning.

Let’s make planning alive and well. The following video provides tips on how to plan effectively:

It's still true that if you fail to plan, you can plan to fail. Click To Tweet
Written by Robert Tanner | Copyrighted Material | All Rights Reserved Worldwide

This article is accurate to the best of the author’s knowledge.
Content is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional advice in business, management, legal, or human resource matters.

Robert Tanner, MBA

Welcome to my leadership blog. I'm the Founder & Principal Consultant of Business Consulting Solutions LLC, a certified practitioner of psychometric assessments, and a former Adjunct Professor of Management. As a leadership professional, I bring 20+ years of real world experience at all levels of management.

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