7 STEPS IN THE PLANNING PROCESS

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Planning is the systematic process of determining the objectives of the organization and deciding on the best course of action to achieve these objectives.

It involves developing objectives, policies, programs, procedures and strategies

Planning is made up of seven distinct processes, including:

1. Identification of objectives

2. Developing premises

3. Identification of alternatives

4. Examination of alternatives

5. Selection of alternative

6. Making derivative plans

7. Implementation of plans

Identification of objectives

Setting objectives is the first step in planning. Plans are prepared with a view to achieving particular objectives.

These objectives will specify what the organization seeks to achieve both in the short-term and in the long term. 

These objectives will also state what the sub-units of the organization seeks to achieve as well as what the whole organization seeks to achieve.

Objectives state, in clear terms, what the organization seeks to achieve and give direction to the policies, budget, strategies, rules and programs.

Objective specifies the result expected and indicate the result that the organization seeks. 

It indicates where the organization should emphasize, as well as the resources that should be utilized.

Developing premises

Planning is futuristic, in the sense that it is done with the future in mind. However, the future is uncertain. 

Therefore certain assumptions must be made.

Premises are assumptions made about the future. They are the expected environmental and internal conditions which are believed will exist when planning is done.

Premises can be either internal or external. Internal premises include organizational policies as well as the organization's ability to withstand external pressure.

External premises include economic conditions, political conditions, economic conditions, technological conditions, social conditions etc.

Identification Of Alternatives

There are always many ways to achieve an objective. For example, if an organization wants to raise profit, it can either reduce output or increase profit.

Therefore, managers must identify the various course of action that can be taken to achieve organizational objectives. 

These alternative courses of action will be identified based on the organizational objectives and planning premises.

Examination of alternatives

After objectives and premises have been set, and alternatives have been identified, the next logical step is to evaluate and examine each alternative to see which one will be implemented

Examination of alternatives involves analyzing the various course of action that can be taken to achieve a particular objective. 

The positive and negative aspects of each course of action will be evaluated in light of the organizational objective and the resources available to the organisation.

The purpose of examing alternatives is to narrow down the number of alternatives so that the best one can be chosen.

Selection of alternative

This is the decision-making stage of planning. In this stage of planning, the most feasible, profitable and best plan would be chosen for implementation.

Furthermore, the choice chosen should be the one that maximizes the organizational objective

Formulation of derivative plans

After choosing the best alternative, middle and lower-level managers must draw up appropriate plans, budgets to support the main plans for their sub-units.

These are called derivative plans. Derivative plans are supportive plans which help in the implementation of the main plan.

Because these derivative plans are derived from the main plan, they provide support for it.

Implementation of plans

After choosing the best alternative, it will be of no use if the plan is not implemented.

The implementation stage of planning is where the plan is actually put into action and the management will do everything to ensure that everything possible goes according to plan. 

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