A plan is a systematic framework that outlines how an organization plans to achieve its objectives.

The process of setting plans is called planning. 

Planning is the systematic process of identifying the objectives of the business and deciding on the course of action to achieve these objectives.

Plans, by themselves, do not guarantee success. They need to be properly executed.

In fact, in truth, planning is one thing, but putting the plan into action is another story entirely. 

The following are reasons why plans fail:

1. Lack of clarity: One factor that can contribute to planning failure is a lack of understanding and clarity about the plan made.

Many organizations make plans that are too complex to understand.

Where plans are not properly understood, it is unlikely that such plans will work.

2. Plans are not properly integrated into the total management system: An organization's management process is made up of procedures, policies, and processes that help it achieve its goals.

The four fundamental parts of the management system are "plan, do, check, and act," which can be abbreviated as "PDCA."

Of the following management systems, the "plan" aspect serves as the basis upon which the others are built.

As a result, if plans are not adequately integrated, there is a risk that other components of the management system will be poorly executed, resulting in management system failure and ineffective plans.

Furthermore, a plan will fail if the management fails to associate the plan with the central themes of the organisation's mission.

3. Monetary Constraints: The success of any plan depends on the availability of financial resources. 

The unavailability of financial resources can greatly contribute to planning failure.

4. Unrealistic goals: Regardless of the time and financial constraints, some organizations set goals that are too high for the organization to achieve given its available resources.

This has led to many planning failures as unrealistic goals cannot be measured or used as a basis for performance evaluation.

Furthermore, aiming to accomplish too much at once almost invariably leads to planning failures.

5. Management fails to operate by plan: A recurrent occurrence in many planning failures is management failing to follow the plan.

Quite often, management ignores laid-down plans and instead opts to manage and run the organization based on their own experiences.

Some managers believe that they can successfully manage a company without a plan.

This has caused many plans to fail, as even the best-laid plans would not yield any fruit if they are not followed through or carried out.

A plan made without execution is just like a plan not made at all. This is because the utility of a plan is only realized when it is carried out.

6. Responsibility for planning is solely vested in the planning department: Planning is a pervasive function of management that is supposed to involve everyone in the organization.

But, in some organizations, the responsibility for planning is wrongly vested in the planning department or a single staff member.

Plans developed solely by the planning department or staff are very unlikely to succeed, particularly if they were developed without enough input or participation from other departments.

Indeed, if management at all levels of the business were not fully involved in the planning process, the plan would not be executed properly.

7. Little commitment: For a plan to succeed, every effort must be put into achieving the laid down objectives of the business.

But, in a situation where management expects that plans developed with little commitment will succeed, the plan is likely to fail.

8. Failure to integrate plans: Plans will fail if they are not properly integrated into the day-to-day activities and operations of the business.

9. Planning costs exceed benefits: If a plan's potential costs exceed its potential benefits, it will fail since no sensible organization would be willing to carry it out.

10. Change in a business environment: Plans are made on certain premises or assumptions, and plans are only as good as the assumptions on which they are based.

A change in the business environment could effectively render a plan useless, especially if the plan is overly rigid or fails to adapt to the changes.

Furthermore, plans developed from insufficient data are almost always doomed to fail.

11. Staffing requirements are not met: Plans are made and executed by people. 

If the staffing requirements required to achieve a plan are not met, the plan will certainly fail.

After all, the success of any plan is primarily dependent on the human resources that carry it out.

12. Absence of contingency plan: While we all hope that our plans will work out, certain factors such as changes in the environment and other variables can cause them to fail.

For this reason, a contingency plan is needed.

A contingency plan (also known as plan B) is a document that specifies an alternative course of action that an organization can take if the initial plan fails.

Its purpose is to assist businesses in responding to changes in planning variables

However, due to one reason or the other, many organization do not have contingency plans in place, making them unable to respond to changes when the initial plan fails.

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