8 ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD PLAN

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A good plan is one that is built around clearly defined objectives and is time-bound.

A good plan should have the following eight characteristics: clearly defined objectives, simplicity, flexibility, economical, compounded, timely, realistic, and participatory.

1. Defined objectives: As planning involves identifying the objectives of the organization, a good plan should clearly state the objectives of an organization.

Objective is what a person, group of people or organization seeks to achieve in the future. 

A good plan should clearly define the objectives so that there will be no ambiguity regarding the objective of the business.

2. Simplicity: The utility of a plan is derived from the effective implementation of the plan.

As such, a good plan must be simple enough so that those in charge of executing and implementing the plan can do so effectively.

If a plan is not simple enough, then implementation of the plan becomes difficult such that the benefit of planning is not realized.

3. Flexibility: Plan should not always be rigid. Rather, it should be flexible to accommodate changes in the business environment and planning premise.

Planning is based on forecasts and predictions of future uncertainties and plans must be flexible enough to accommodate any future challenges or new uncertainties.

4. Economical: A good plan should also be economical. That is, plans should be made in consideration of the resources available to an individual or an organization.

The cost of planning should be weight against the potential benefits of planning. Also, every activity outlined in the plan must also be evaluated in light of the resources available to the organization.

If a plan is not economical, then the likelihood that the plan will be executed is slim because no plan can be executed without adequate financial, material and human resources.

5. Comprehensive: Though simple, a good plan should also be comprehensive enough.

A plan should be comprehensive in the sense that it should be detailed enough to specify and outline activities required to achieve the objectives of the business.

A good plan should include all relevant details, and it is expected that plan would cover all activities of an organization.

6. Time-bound: This is yet another important characteristic of a good plan.

A plan should have a time frame during which it must be accomplished. Simply said, a plan should have a deadline.

Based on time frame, plans can be divided into long-term, short-term, and intermediate plans.

A plan is considered long-term term if it will take three to five years to implement.

An intermediate plan is one that will implemented within the next one to three years.

A plan is considered short-term term if it is meant to be implemented in a year or less.

7. Realistic: This is one characteristic that distinguishes a good plan from a bad plan.

Only when planning is put into practice can its efficacy and usefulness be realized.

Plans should be formulated keeping in view the resources of the organization and the capability of members of the organization.

If a plan is effective in theory but fails badly in practice, it is useless. Setting unrealistic goals has the potential to frustrate and weaken the morale of the entire organization because it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve them.

8. Participatory: A good plan should encourage the inclusion and involvement of each and every organization member.

Every organizational member's input must be taken into account when creating the plan, and when it is being put into action, all hands must be on deck to make sure the plan's goals are achieved

Subordinates will not be willing to implement a plan that imposed on them. Hence, a good plan must be participatory.

RELATED POST: 13 LIMITATIONS OF PLANNING

To emphasize, a good plan is one which is based on clearly defined objectives and which is comprehensive as well as flexible enough to adapt to new challenges.

There are 8 eight essential characteristics of a good plan, namely; clearly defined objectives, simplicity, flexibility, economical, compounded, timely, realistic, and participatory.

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