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Organizational planning: The ladder to an organization’s success

Learning and Development | 8 Min Read

Organizational planning: The ladder to an organization’s success

What is organizational planning?

Organizational planning is a set of strategies and activities to streamline a business’s day-to-day operations. It includes setting priorities and goals, mapping the utilization of resources and assets, evaluating and modifying the organization’s business path to keep up with the changing environment, and ensuring that all employees/stakeholders work toward a common objective- more extensive organizational success. Organizational planning is among the critical practices necessary to guide a company in the right direction and prevent fatal blunders that could jeopardize business in the long run.

This blog delves deep into the various nuances of the topic, elaborating on the fundamentals, offering a sneak peek into case studies that prove the importance of this business development activity, and highlighting the necessary tools and methods to help you formulate your strategies for success.

 

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Components of an organizational plan

A typical organizational plan comprises four key components, each with its sub-components:

  • Workforce planning includes leadership development, high-potential identification and succession planning.
  • Financial planning covers budget decisions and strategic resource utilization across departments.
  • Products and services planning ensures that the organization is at par with industry trends and upgrades catering to the target market’s needs.
  • Expansion planning envisions a sustainable future for the organization across geographies and product lines/offerings.

Workforce planning

 

Workforce planning is all about analyzing and planning the future of your workforce. As the people-centric part of the organizational plan in business plan, workforce planning comprises three critical elements:

  1. Leadership development
  2. High-potential identification
  3. Succession planning

These elements are vital to the success of other organizational planning components. So, let’s take a detailed look at the way they impact business.

1. Leadership development

A leadership culture is one where everyone thinks like an owner, a CEO or a managing director. It’s one where everyone is entrepreneurial and proactive.

Robin S. Sharma

Leadership development is fundamental to the long-term success of organizations. An effective leadership development strategy helps organizations achieve the following objectives.

a. Achieving business goals: It helps nurture leaders who can acquire new abilities to realign strategies relevant to developing business scenarios.

b. Improving the work environment: Dedicatedly curating behavioral patterns of leaders is imperative to promote a culture of learning and development.

c. Futureproofing: Leadership development helps organizations appropriately adjust to changes in people, procedures and innovation that could influence them in a not-so-distant future.

Areas of focus in leadership development

Culture

A positive culture impacts the organization in the long term. Keeping employees updated with workplace technology, providing them greater flexibility and a clear career trajectory, recognition and appreciation all count in building a positive work culture.

Product

Leaders should have astounding vision and instinct about where the market is going, how client inclinations will develop, every bit of product knowledge, its updates and how to impress clients with greater usability.

Industry

Organizations and the people within them, particularly the leaders, must constantly re-invent and recalibrate themselves to remain competitive in the industry. Sustaining success does depend on a company’s ability to adapt to a changing environment.

2. Succession planning

The Cambridge Dictionary defines succession planning as the “Process of finding suitable people and preparing them to replace important executives in an organization when these executives leave or retire.

Succession planning is a strategic organization planning approach to ensure that necessary talent and skills will be available when needed. It has been identified as a key initiative for addressing several critical human resources issues, including increasing turnover rates, fast-paced changes in work, and a need for a diverse workforce at all levels. With the help of succession planning, an organization recruits superior employees, develops their knowledge, skills, and abilities, and prepares them for promotions into more challenging roles within that organization.

3. High- potential identification

High–potential identification refers to assessing and recognizing employees who have the potential to learn fast, grow consistently and do justice to the new roles and responsibilities with which they are trusted. The process helps cut hiring costs, saves time and ensures lasting organizational success with a loyal workforce working more dedicatedly. Therefore, high-potential identification is crucial to the overall organizational plan in business plan.

 

Financial planning

 

Financial Planning is estimating the capital required in business initiatives and procedures and determining its competition. It involves framing monetary policies around an enterprise’s procurement, investment and administration of funds.

The objectives of this organizational planning component are to:

  • Determine the total capital requirements during a specific time.
  • Work out how to raise and allocate the required funds.
  • Explore various investment opportunities and formulate a feasible capital expenditure plan.
  • Ensure that the business has sufficient funds to run its operations smoothly.
  • Reduce uncertainties which can be a hindrance to an organization’s growth.
  • Ensure stability and profitability in business.
  • Facilitate growth and expansion programs.

 

Products and services planning

 

The products and services section of your organizational plan in business plan outlines your product or service, its need and demand in the market, and how it will compete with other similar businesses.

Products and services planning includes:

  • Key features, advantages and sales/performance of the product/service portfolio.
  • Required upgrades and modifications based on competitor analysis, trends research and market changes.
  • Strategies to improve marketing and boost demand and sales of the offerings.
  • Reasons to launch, relaunch or discontinue specific products/services based on performance/sales data and relevant information.
  • Predictions and the way forward.

 

Expansion planning

 

Expansion planning is a futuristic, growth-driven component of the organizational planning process. It helps create a roadmap for product development, market penetration and diversification.

However, you should initiate expansion planning if the business is already successful and profits in its current market. In addition to new product/service launches, this component of an organizational plan could also include strategies to conquer foreign markets.

 


Why is organizational planning important?

The importance of organizational planning is evident in the way it helps a company uncover approaches to enhance performance. It can, for instance, unveil insights about how to restructure the organization so it can perform to its maximum capacity. In addition, developing new products and expanding operations- a comprehensive strategic organizational plan helps a company react to various circumstances and challenges better.

Planning is choosing ahead of time, what anyone can do. At the point when a manager plans, he anticipates a strategy for the future, endeavoring to accomplish a reliable, facilitated structure of operations aimed at the desired results.

According to the author Theo Haimann

The importance of organizational planning extends to how it helps prepare a company to respond to changes in the workplace better. Furthermore, it clarifies the roles, responsibilities and expectations for everyone in the company. Finally, it helps management make sure they’re meeting the determined benchmarks.

Furthermore, organizational planning:

 

Increases the efficiency of an organization

It focuses on the work and resources of the entire organization, creating a clear and convincing vision that the team and board wish to progress with proper coordination.

 

Identifies genuine client needs

It involves getting input from clients to guarantee that their requirements are understood and fulfilled. Again, it helps companies expand and enhance their services.

 

Reveals what not to do

A strategic plan uncovers what an organization needs to quit doing to be more effective and client-focused.

 

Enables optimum resource utilization

A well-articulated organizational plan shows to the general public, funders and key partners that the company is making the ideal utilization of its assets to the advantage of the clients it serves.

 

Enhances decision-making

A good organizational plan in business planning reveals what you want to accomplish in the given time frame, what the future holds and what your goals should be.

A robust organizational plan is essential to understanding the:

 

Infographic 3

 

 

Case studies to demonstrate the need for organizational planning

 

Why did Sun Microsystems fail?

 

Java, one of the best programming languages for development, run in more than 3 billion devices in some form, was introduced by Sun Microsystems in 1995. But did you ever hear about the company thereafter?

Well, Sun Microsystems, the computer startup started constructing high-end servers just as the computer revolution was accelerating. Its Java programming language turned into an industry standard just as the internet arrived, helping make Sun an industry monster by the late 1990s. But the dot-com bust wiped out many of its customers and changed the way organizations meet their technology needs.

Former CEO of Sun Microsystems, Scott McNealy’s loyalty to Sun’s hardware culture scammed its software initiatives and eventually, destined the organization for fading into oblivion.

As PCs (Personal Computers) turned out to be all the more capable, fewer clients required Sun’s costly servers and the company spent most of the decade scaling back and saving. With Sun’s fairly estimated worth, only a fraction of what it had been once, Oracle bought the company later.

Analysis

Software talent is constantly overwhelmed by and made to fill the needs of its hardware rulers. To do what’s depicted above at the right time would have required proactive software leadership inside Sun, someone willing to confront the hardware culture.

McNealy, the one figure who could have given the nod to such an activity, was himself instilled with the hardware culture.

In this case, there was a need for strategic organizational planning to maintain someone at the top position, be it the CEO or other empowered software leaders, aware of the competitors and the changes in the technique an organization needs to work on for success.

 

The unfortunate case of Motorola

 

Motorola, the world’s first mobile phone seller dominated the industry in 2003 when it introduced the trendy Razr- one of the largest-selling mobile phones ever. However, the brand failed to focus on futuristic planning around expansion and product upgrades. As a result, it lost its supremacy to competitors like Apple, LG and Samsung.

Analysis

Strategic planning among the concerned officials of the organization, considering all aspects of transformation around the product/industry, would have made the scenario different.

 


Types of organizational plans

There are four major types of organizational plans that help pivot a business toward growth. Moreover, each of these plans is interconnected, and the success of one depends on the success of the others.

Strategic plans

A strategic plan defines the company’s objectives for a set period and ensures that those objectives align with the organization’s mission, vision and values. It is the foundation for dictating long-term organizational decisions.

Tactical plans

These plans are the precursor to strategic planning. Usually devised for a short duration, tactical plans involve several short-term goals that support the related strategic plan. The purpose of tactical planning is to break down the larger strategic plan into actionable chunks, carried out by mid-level managers.

Operational plans

Operational plans cover what needs to happen continually, on a day-to-day basis, to execute tactical plans. Operational plans could be single-use or ongoing. While the former could include time-bound marketing campaigns, the latter covers policies for approaching problems, rules and regulations to meet specific objectives, task assignments within a tactical strategy, etc.

Contingency plans

Contingency planning covers alternative courses of action for unusual circumstances and crises. Contingency plans suggest a range of possible scenarios and appropriate responses for issues ranging from personnel planning to advanced preparation for unexpected occurrences that could negatively impact the business. For example, organizations may have contingency plans for responding to a natural disaster, malfunctioning software, or the sudden departure of a C-level executive.

 


Organizational planning process

The steps in an organizational planning process correspond with the four types of organizational plans explained in the previous section. In addition, the method includes effective communication and performance monitoring of every aspect.

 

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Step 1: Strategize

 

The strategy stage of organizational planning should include the following steps.

a. Begin with the goals and objectives of the company: Analyze where do you want to be in the short- and long-term. Then, assemble a team to lead the plan’s execution, tracking and progress.

b. Define the company goals and objectives to help everyone understand them and their part in realizing them.

c. Ask questions to review the company’s current position: What processes are in place now? It would allow the workforce to see what they need to do to meet targets.

d. Gather what you’ve collected and put it in a document: Use this to track progress when executing the organizational plan.

 

Step 2: Translate strategy into tactics and plan daily operations

 

Based on the strategies formulated in the first stage of your organizational planning, you can create specific tactics and procedures broken down into actionable steps. The latter would help move toward implementing the long-term strategies at constantly.

Prepare a task list with roles for everyone on your team: Then, assign the tasks and ensure the team understands what is expected of it.

 

Step 3: Communicate the organizational plan to your workforce

 

If you implement a program without everyone understanding it, you may face problems that could derail the whole idea. Hence, it is vital to call a company-wide meeting to explain your plans’ nuances and predicted success. It is also a great idea to get feedback from those in attendance and fine-tune the details of your plan before executing it.

Illustrate the organizational structure of the plan: Share it with the whole company and keep everyone updated on progress as you hit milestones.

 

Step 4: Execute the plan

 

After the communication stage, the plan should be finalized, including the tactical and operational steps. Then, once there is absolute clarity regarding the short-term and long-term goals, you should put all of it to work.

 

Step 5: Monitor performance and progress

 

At the end of each short-term goal period, managers should review if they met the targets established in step two. Then, they should submit data-backed reports to C-level executives. Depending on the reviews, you can make necessary adjustments to improve the efficacy of the plans at any stage.

 


Tips for creating a successful organizational plan

Once you understand the various organizational planning examples, types, processes and objectives, you must familiarize yourself with organizational planning best practices. This section enlists valuable tips to help design and implement an effective organizational plan.

  • Assess your organizational weaknesses and strengths as compared to your major competitors. A relative understanding of weaknesses and strengths provides a realistic approach to planning.
    • Assess the weaknesses and strengths of each department in your business. Find the co-dependencies of departments and plan to resolve deficiencies.
    • Go through the legal weaknesses and strengths of your organization. Find all the possible options to legally tackle the disadvantages and turn them into advantages for your business.
  • Understand current relationships in the market and plan to maintain existing relationships and build new ones.
  • Develop a structural approach to work for higher productivity and employee satisfaction.
  • Predict a growth pattern you want in the long run. Also, align this long-term plan with short-term growth strategies.
  • Define an ideal number of employees in every department and compare it with the current availability of human resources.

 


Organizational planning tools

Organizational planning tools are the methods used to implement strategies that help improve the various components and phases of the organizational plan. These tools enable an objective and comprehensive approach to the process and strategy.

 

Infographic 2

 

Assessment and development centers (ACDCs/ADCs)

 

ADCs are platforms for conducting advanced professional assessments. They utilize a series of innovative projects, including case study simulations, presentation exercises and various activities to assess leadership styles, motivators and work-oriented personality traits. As a result, they help leaders and potential leaders to improve their efficiency, optimize their strengths and develop their areas of improvement.

Application in organizational planning: Leadership development and hiring, workforce planning, futureproofing, succession planning and performance management.

 

Psychometric tests

 

Psychometric tests are essential for measuring cognitive abilities, personality traits, demonstrated behaviors and function knowledge/skills. They generate relevant proof of skills/competencies required for succeeding in specific professional roles and industries. Moreover, they help formulate targeted L&D (Learning & Development) and prepare and initiate the advancement of effective succession planning and administration. They are also efficient in evaluating the productivity and success of current strategies/processes.

Psychometric tests offer advantages like objective information on employee efficiency and behavioral competencies suited to the organizational system.

Application in organizational planning: Talent acquisition, organizational restructuring, IJPs (Internal Job Postings/Promotions), HR (Human Resource) allocation, etc.

 

Three-sixty-degree feedback

 

Three-sixty-degree feedback refers to holistic reviews and honest ratings about professionals and professional spaces. A robust 360-degree feedback tool helps strengthen organizational planning by highlighting the strengths, hidden strengths, blind spots and areas of development at every level of the organization.

Application in organizational planning: Leadership assessment, performance management, L&D, strategic planning for various areas of the organization: finances, products and services, expansion plans, etc.

 

Employee engagement evaluation

 

An advanced evaluation of employee satisfaction in a company is vital to organizational planning success. Therefore, using an employee engagement evaluation tool enables HR managers, administrators and decision-makers to improve the company’s work culture, environment, people policies, growth initiatives, feedback cycles and a lot more.

Application in organizational planning: Gauging the workforce’s satisfaction with current company structure and policies, career opportunities within the company, employees’ opinions and approaches toward various types of organizational plans, etc., to make improvements based on varied perspectives/experiences/ideas.

 


Conclusion

The organizational planning process is essential for maintaining order, success, discipline and sustainability in every area of an organization’s functions. It is imperative when it incorporates employees in all departments and at all levels of responsibility, potential, and skills, considering how they fit into the bigger picture.

Originally published April 18 2018, Updated July 11 2022

D'ipanjenah Ali

Written by

D’ipanjenah is a writer and marketing professional associated with Mercer Mettl since 2020. Her working style thrives on a balanced approach towards standard insights and novel trends. She utilizes creative content and digital strategies to help brands start important conversations. When not reading/writing, she enjoys art and parents a calico.

About This Topic

Succession planning is a systematic process through which organizations build a leadership pipeline to preserve its future. The process involves identifying and developing potential successors for a seamless transition.

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