27 मई 2010

Planning: core skill

Planning: core skill

Planning typically includes use of the following basic terms.

NOTE: It's not critical to grasp completely accurate definitions of each of the following terms. It's more important for planners to have a basic sense for the difference between goals/objectives (results) and strategies/tasks (methods to achieve the results).

1. Goals

Goals are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in some combination, in order to achieve some larger, overall result preferred from the system, for example, the mission of an organization.

2. Strategies or Activities

These are the methods or processes required in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals.

3. Objectives

Objectives are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals in the plan. Objectives are usually "milestones" along the way when implementing the strategies.

4. Tasks

Particularly in small organizations, people are assigned various tasks required to implement the plan. If the scope of the plan is very small, tasks and activities are often essentially the same.

5. Resources (and Budgets)

Resources include the people, materials, technologies, money, etc., required to implement the strategies or processes. The costs of these resources are often depicted in the form of a budget.

Basic Overview of Typical Phases in Planning

Whether the system is an organization, department, business, project, etc., the basic planning process typically includes similar nature of activities carried out in similar sequence. The phases are carried out carefully or -- in some cases -- intuitively, for example, when planning a very small, straightforward effort. The complexity of the various phases (and their duplication throughout the system) depend on the scope of the system. For example, in a large corporation, the following phases would be carried out in the corporate offices, in each division, in each department, in each group, etc.

NOTE: Different groups of planners might have different names for the following activities and groups them differently. However, the nature of the activities and their general sequence remains the same.

NOTE: The following are typical phases in planning. They do not comprise the complete, ideal planning process.

1. Reference Overall Singular Purpose ("Mission")

Or Desired Result from System

During planning, planners have in mind (consciously or unconsciously) some overall purpose or result that the plan is to achieve. For example, during strategic planning, it's critical to reference the mission, or overall purpose, of the organization.

2. Take Stock Outside and Inside the System

This "taking stock" is always done to some extent, whether consciously or unconsciously. For example, during strategic planning, it's important to conduct an environmental scan. This scan usually involves considering various driving forces, or major influences, that might effect the organization.

3. Analyze the Situation

For example, during strategic planning, planners often conduct a "SWOT analysis". (SWOT is an acronym for considering the organization's strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats faced by the organization.) During this analysis, planners also can use a variety of assessments, or methods to "measure" the health of systems.

4. Establish Goals

Based on the analysis and alignment to the overall mission of the system, planners establish a set of goals that build on strengths to take advantage of opportunities, while building up weaknesses and warding off threats.

5. Establish Strategies to Reach Goals

The particular strategies (or methods to reach the goals) chosen depend on matters of affordability, practicality and efficiency.

6. Establish Objectives Along the Way to Achieving Goals

Objectives are selected to be timely and indicative of progress toward goals.

7. Associate Responsibilities and Time Lines With Each Objective

Responsibilities are assigned, including for implementation of the plan, and for achieving various goals and objectives. Ideally, deadlines are set for meeting each responsibility.

8. Write and Communicate a Plan Document

The above information is organized and written in a document which is distributed around the system.

9. Acknowledge and Celebrate Accomplishment of the Plan

This step is frequently forgotten, which can lead to increasing frustration and skepticism on the part of those people who are responsible to carry out the plan.

Guidelines to Ensure Successful Planning and Implementation

A common failure in many kinds of planning is that the plan is never really implemented. Instead, all focus is on writing a plan document. Too often, the plan sits collecting dust on a shelf. Therefore, most of the following guidelines help to ensure that the planning process is carried out completely and is implemented completely -- or, deviations from the intended plan are recognized and managed accordingly.

1. Involve the Right People in the Planning Process

It is critical that all parts of the system continue to exchange feedback in order to function effectively. This is true no matter what type of system. When planning, get input from everyone who will responsible to carry out parts of the plan, along with representative from groups who will be affected by the plan. Of course, people also should be involved if they will be responsible to review and authorize the plan.

2. Write Down the Planning Information and Communicate it Widely

New managers, in particular, often forget that others don't know what these managers know.

Even if managers do communicate their intentions and plans verbally, chances are great that others won't completely hear or understand what the manager wants done.

Also, as plans change, it's extremely difficult to remember who is supposed to be doing what and according to which version of the plan. Key stakeholders (employees, management, board members, funders, investor, customers, clients, etc.) may request copies of various types of plans.

Therefore, it's critical to write plans down and communicate them widely.

3. Goals and Objectives Should Be SMARTER

SMARTER is an acronym, that is, a word composed by joining letters from different words in a phrase or set of words. In this case, a SMARTER goal or objective is:


For example, it's difficult to know what someone should be doing if they are to pursue the goal to "work harder". It's easier to recognize "Write a paper".


It's difficult to know what the scope of "Writing a paper" really is. It's easier to appreciate that effort if the goal is "Write a 30-page paper".


If I'm to take responsibility for pursuit of a goal, the goal should be acceptable to me. For example, I'm not likely to follow the directions of someone telling me to write a 30-page paper when I also have to five other papers to write. However, if you involve me in setting the goal so I can change my other commitments or modify the goal, I'm much more likely to accept pursuit of the goal as well.


Even if I do accept responsibility to pursue a goal that is specific and measurable, the goal won't be useful to me or others if, for example, the goal is to "Write a 30-page paper in the next 10 seconds".

Time frame:

It may mean more to others if I commit to a realistic goal to "Write a 30-page paper in one week". However, it'll mean more to others (particularly if they are planning to help me or guide me to reach the goal) if I specify that I will write one page a day for 30 days, rather than including the possibility that I will write all 30 pages in last day of the 30-day period.


The goal should stretch the performer's capabilities. For example, I might be more interested in writing a 30-page paper if the topic of the paper or the way that I write it will extend my capabilities.


I'm more inclined to write the paper if the paper will contribute to an effort in such a way that I might be rewarded for my effort.

4. Build in Accountability (Regularly Review Who's Doing What and By When?)

Plans should specify who is responsible for achieving each result, including goals and objectives. Dates should be set for completion of each result, as well. Responsible parties should regularly review status of the plan. Be sure to have someone of authority "sign off" on the plan, including putting their signature on the plan to indicate they agree with and support its contents. Include responsibilities in policies, procedures, job descriptions, performance review processes, etc.

5. Note Deviations from the Plan and Replan Accordingly

It's OK to deviate from the plan. The plan is not a set of rules. It's an overall guideline. As important as following the plan is noticing deviations and adjusting the plan accordingly.

6. Evaluate Planning Process and the Plan

During the planning process, regularly collect feedback from participants. Do they agree with the planning process? If not, what don't they like and how could it be done better? In large, ongoing planning processes (such as strategic planning, business planning, project planning, etc.), it's critical to collect this kind of feedback regularly.

During regular reviews of implementation of the plan, assess if goals are being achieved or not. If not, were goals realistic? Do responsible parties have the resources necessary to achieve the goals and objectives? Should goals be changed? Should more priority be placed on achieving the goals? What needs to be done?

Finally, take 10 minutes to write down how the planning process could have been done better. File it away and read it the next time you conduct the planning process.

7. Recurring Planning Process is at Least as Important as Plan Document

Far too often, primary emphasis is placed on the plan document. This is extremely unfortunate because the real treasure of planning is the planning process itself. During planning, planners learn a great deal from ongoing analysis, reflection, discussion, debates and dialogue around issues and goals in the system. Perhaps there is no better example of misplaced priorities in planning than in business ethics. Far too often, people put emphasis on written codes of ethics and codes of conduct. While these documents certainly are important, at least as important is conducting ongoing communications around these documents. The ongoing communications are what sensitize people to understanding and following the values and behaviors suggested in the codes.

8. Nature of the Process Should Be Compatible to Nature of Planners

A prominent example of this type of potential problem is when planners don't prefer the "top down" or "bottom up", "linear" type of planning (for example, going from general to specific along the process of an environmental scan, SWOT analysis, mission/vision/values, issues and goals, strategies, objectives, timelines, etc.) There are other ways to conduct planning.

9. Critical -- But Frequently Missing Step -- Acknowledgement and Celebration of Results

It's easy for planners to become tired and even cynical about the planning process. One of the reasons for this problem is very likely that far too often, emphasis is placed on achieving the results. Once the desired results are achieved, new ones are quickly established. The process can seem like having to solve one problem after another, with no real end in sight. Yet when one really thinks about it, it's a major accomplishment to carefully analyze a situation, involve others in a plan to do something about it, work together to carry out the plan and actually see some results. So acknowledge this -- celebrate your accomplishment!



Problem Solving and Decision Making

Much of what managers and supervisors do is solve problems and make decisions.

New managers and supervisors, in particular, often solve problems and decisions by reacting to them. They are "under the gun", stressed and very short for time.

Consequently, when they encounter a new problem or decision they must make, they react with a decision that seemed to work before. It's easy with this approach to get stuck in a circle of solving the same problem over and over again. Therefore, as a new manager or supervisor, get used to an organized approach to problem solving and decision making.

Not all problems can be solved and decisions made by the following, rather rational approach. However, the following basic guidelines will get you started.

Don't be intimidated by the length of the list of guidelines. After you've practiced them a few times, they'll become second nature to you -- enough that you can deepen and enrich them to suit your own needs and nature.

(Note that it might be more your nature to view a "problem" as an "opportunity". Therefore, you might substitute "opportunity" for "problem" in the following guidelines.)

1. Define the problem

This is often where people struggle. They react to what they think the problem is. Instead, seek to understand more about why you think there's a problem.

Defining the problem: (with input from yourself and others)

Ask yourself and others, the following questions:

a. what can you see that causes you to think there's a problem?

b. Where is it happening?

c. How is it happening?

d. When is it happening?

e. With whom is it happening? (HINT: Don't jump to "Who is causing the problem?" When we're stressed, blaming is often one of our first reactions. To be an effective manager, you need to address issues more than people.)

f. Why is it happening?

g. Write down a five-sentence description of the problem in terms of "The following should be happening, but isn't ..." or "The following is happening and should be: ..." As much as possible, be specific in your description, including what is happening, where, how, with whom and why.

Defining complex problems:

a. If the problem still seems overwhelming, break it down by repeating steps a-f until you have descriptions of several related problems.

Verifying your understanding of the problems:

a. It helps a great deal to verify your problem analysis for conferring with a peer or someone else.

Prioritize the problems:

a. If you discover that you are looking at several related problems, then prioritize which ones you should address first.

b. Note the difference between "important" and "urgent" problems. Often, what we consider to be important problems to consider are really just urgent problems. Important problems deserve more attention. For example, if you're continually answering "urgent" phone calls, then you've probably got a more "important" problem and that's to design a system that screens and prioritizes your phone calls.

Understand your role in the problem:

a. Your role in the problem can greatly influence how you perceive the role of others. For example, if you're very stressed out, it'll probably look like others are, too, or, you may resort too quickly to blaming and reprimanding others. Or, you are feel very guilty about your role in the problem, you may ignore the accountabilities of others.

2. Look at potential causes for the problem

a. It's amazing how much you don't know about what you don't know. Therefore, in this phase, it's critical to get input from other people who notice the problem and who are affected by it.

b. It's often useful to collect input from other individuals one at a time (at least at first). Otherwise, people tend to be inhibited about offering their impressions of the real causes of problems.

c. Write down what your opinions and what you've heard from others.

d. Regarding what you think might be performance problems associated with an employee; it's often useful to seek advice from a peer or your supervisor in order to verify your impression of the problem.

e.Write down a description of the cause of the problem and in terms of what is happening, where, when, how, with whom and why.

3. Identify alternatives for approaches to resolve the problem

a. At this point, it's useful to keep others involved (unless you're facing a personal and/or employee performance problem). Brainstorm for solutions to the problem. Very simply put, brainstorming is collecting as many ideas as possible, and then screening them to find the best idea. It's critical when collecting the ideas to not pass any judgment on the ideas -- just write them down as you hear them.

4. Select an approach to resolve the problem

When selecting the best approach, consider:

a. Which approach is the most likely to solve the problem for the long term?

b. Which approach is the most realistic to accomplish for now? Do you have the resources? Are they affordable? Do you have enough time to implement the approach?

c. What is the extent of risk associated with each alternative?

(The nature of this step, in particular, in the problem solving process is why problem solving and decision taking are highly integrated.)

5. Plan the implementation of the best alternative (this is your action plan)

a. Carefully consider "What will the situation look like when the problem is solved?"

b. What steps should be taken to implement the best alternative to solving the problem? What systems or processes should be changed in your organization, for example, a new policy or procedure? Don't resort to solutions where someone is "just going to try harder".

c. How will you know if the steps are being followed or not? (These are your indicators of the success of your plan)

d. What resources will you need in terms of people, money and facilities?

e. How much time will you need to implement the solution?

Write a schedule that includes the start and stop times, and when you expect to see certain indicators of success.

f. Who will primarily be responsible for ensuring implementation of the plan?

g. Write down the answers to the above questions and consider this as your action plan.

h. Communicate the plan to those who will involved in implementing it and, at least, to your immediate supervisor.

(An important aspect of this step in the problem-solving process is continually observation and feedback.)

6. Monitor implementation of the plan

Monitor the indicators of success:

a. Are you seeing what you would expect from the indicators?

b. Will the plan be done according to schedule?

c. If the plan is not being followed as expected, then consider: Was the plan realistic? Are there sufficient resources to accomplish the plan on schedule? Should more priority be placed on various aspects of the plan? Should the plan be changed?

7. Verify if the problem has been resolved or not

One of the best ways to verify if a problem has been solved or not is to resume normal operations in the organization. Still, you should consider:

a. What changes should be made to avoid this type of problem in the future? Consider changes to policies and procedures, training, etc.

b.Lastly; consider "What did you learn from this problem solving?" Consider new knowledge, understanding and/or skills.

c. Consider writing a brief memo that highlights the success of the problem solving effort, and what you learned as a result. Share it with your supervisor, peers and subordinates.

साधना में विघ्न

साधना में विघ्न कई प्रकार के हो सकते है .मूल रूप से कुछ प्रकार को जान कर उसके प्रति सचेत रहा जा सकता है.निम्न लिखित कुछ विशेष विघ्न है जिनसे साधक को सचेत रहना है :-

स्वास्थ्य : स्वास्थ्य अच्छा रहेगा ,कोई रोग नहीं होगा तो ही तो व्यक्ति साधना भली भांति कर सकेगा .इसलिए स्वस्थ रहने के लिए व्यायाम योग आसन इत्यादि करना चाहिए.

आहार : साधक को अपने आहार का ध्यान रखना चाहिए .आहार से कई प्रकार के मनो भाव आते है इसलिए ऐसा आहार लेना चाहिए जो साधक को प्रमाद के ओर मत ले जाये .

शंका :गीता में कृष्ण ने कहा है "संशयात्मा विनश्यति ". साधक को गुरु मन्त्र और इस्ट पर अटूट श्रद्धा होनी चाहिए .श्रद्धा साधक को साधना की उर्जा के प्रति ग्रहण शील बनाती है.श्रद्धा से साधक को गुरु ,मन्त्र ,इस्ट की कृपा मिलती है .शंका से मन और बुद्धि ,दिव्या उर्जा को ग्रहण करने की क्षमता खो देते है .

सदगुरु : किसी भी प्रकार की विद्या को प्राप्त करने के लिए गुरु के मार्गदर्शन की जरुरत होती है . सदगुरु के निर्देश के अनुसार ही साधना सफल हो सकती है .खजाने के रास्ते का पता गुरु को ही होता है .

प्रतिस्ठा मानसन्मान:  कुछ सफलता मिलने पर साधक को मान सन्मान मिलने लगता है जिससे उसका मन और और की इच्छा करता है .साधक का अहंकार बढ जाता है और वह पतन के ओर जाने लगता है .

परनिंदा : साधक दूसरों की बुराई निकल कर निंदा करता है .साधक स्वयं तो अच्छे मार्ग पर चल रहा होता है पर दुसरे की बुराई निकल कर निंदा करने से साधक का बड़ा भरी नुकसान   होता है .यह विघ्न साधक का पतन ला देता  है .

बर्म्ह्चार्य : साधक को अपनी काम वासना के ऊपर नियंत्रण पूर्ण रूप से रखना  चाहिए. कामवासना का गड्ढा इनता बड़ा है की उसमे गिरने से साधक पूरी तरह से साधना से विमुख हो सकता है .

भौतिक इक्षाएं :अनेक प्रकार की कामनाएं मन में  होती है. इन कामनाओं को विवेक का उपयोग करके बचना चाहिए .मन तो इतनी कामनाओं का अम्बर लगा देगा की साधक उसी में उलझ कर साधना के मूल स्वरूप से भटक जायेगा .मन को बार बार इस बारे में चेताते रहना चाहिए .    

साधकों के लिए सबसे अच्छा है की वो सदगुरु का सत्संग करते रहे तो गुरु आपको इन विघ्न बाधा से लगातार बचाते रहेंगे .

साधो ,गुरु के अलावा और कोई मार्ग नहीं है .