Planning is not an optional activity for managers.  And whether you are managing a front-line team or the Head of an organization, you are a manager. The head of the organization has the strategic plan which is also their personal  plan.

Everyone else in the organization who is accountable for a team must also have a plan.

Why?

Without a plan, the manager of a team is like a paper boat in a creek. That paper boat is subject to every change in current, wind or obstacle. The boat will end up where the creek pushes it. In to-days world, the moment you arrive at work you are being pulled in a myriad of directions. That agenda you laid out for yourself in the morning shower is soon out the window.

Yes, you have to respond to changing circumstances. But if you have a plan, you can respond to those changing circumstances within the context of that plan. You can also keep your focus on your goals and carve out more of the time you need for them if they stay top of mind.

Having a plan in place helps you to stay organized and on task. You can break larger goals into smaller, achievable steps that are easier to manage and track progress. Some of these smaller tasks can even be delegated to team members, because you can more easily see how everything ties together.

Having a well-defined plan also allows you to anticipate potential problems or challenges before they arise, allowing you to make adjustments or changes as needed.

Furthermore, having a plan in place allows you to track progress, allowing you to quickly recognize areas of improvement, take corrective action, or carve out more time when needed.

Having a plan provides you with a tool you can use with team members to provide them with clarity and direction, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working towards the same overall goals.

Need more convincing? Here are ten specific reasons why anyone who manages a team needs to have a plan.

1. Establish Priorities: A plan helps a manager to prioritize tasks and objectives, ensuring that the organization is always focused on achieving its most important goals first.

2. Forecast Resources: By creating a plan, a manager can anticipate future resource needs and make sure that they are adequately prepared for any upcoming challenges or opportunities.

3. Monitor Progress: With a plan in place, a manager can easily keep track of progress and make adjustments as needed to ensure that goals are met on time and within budget. A plan also provides an excellent platform for evaluating performance and identifying areas for improvement.

4. Provide Direction: By developing a detailed plan, managers can provide clear direction and expectations to their team members, helping them to stay focused and motivated.

5. Enhance Collaboration: A plan helps managers foster better collaboration among team members, allowing them to work together effectively towards a common goal.

6. Improve Decision Making: By having a plan in place, managers can make more informed decisions and minimize the risk of making costly mistakes. A plan also helps managers to think ahead and anticipate potential issues before they arise.

7. Reduce Stress: Creating a plan can help reduce stress by providing structure and clarity in an otherwise chaotic environment. This allows managers to focus their time and energy on the tasks that actually matter, instead of wasting it on needless distractions.

8. Achieve Goals: A good plan is the foundation of any successful endeavor, and can help managers achieve their desired results in a timely manner. It also helps to ensure that teams remain accountable for their performance and stay focused on what matters most.

9. Increase Efficiency: By having a plan in place, managers can make the most of their resources and optimize processes to improve efficiency and productivity. This helps to save both time and money while ensuring that goals are achieved.

10. Gain Buy-In: A well thought out plan can help managers gain support from stakeholders, team members, and other key individuals. A plan also provides an opportunity for managers to demonstrate their commitment to success and gain credibility with others.

These are just a few of the top reasons why managers should have a plan in place. With the right strategy, managers can ensure that their teams stay focused on achieving the organization’s most important goals.

If you would like to learn more about how effective managers plan, ask Dwight about the Value Added Planning process, developed specifically for managers of teams.