The longer I've been around companies the more I believe the words "Planning" and "Decision" are seldom used in the same sentence! And the business fallout because of poor planning when making decisions is staggering.
The effects of a decision gone bad to tend to linger around for months or even years. It is a fact that most businesses fail not because they did not make decisions but because they did not make good decisions.
With so much riding on your ability to make the right decisions, it is prudent to brush up on the technique of decision making and the process involved in planning to make them.
Planning allows a decision to be made on your terms and in a much more comfortable and intelligent way. It allows you the time to consider several options without the last-minute rush.
There are four benefits to decision-making planning:
1. PLANNING ALLOWS YOU TO SET THE GOALS YOU WANT. That means you are not so much focused on the external events that don't relate to what you are trying to accomplish. Many decisions are incorrectly made based on things that steer one's life rather than becoming proactive decision-makers.
2. PLANNING PROVIDES A WAY TO MEASURE SUCCESS. The plan of action is your mirror to measure how close (or far) you are from accomplishing your goal. This measure is important because it can show you immediately when you are off course and need to make adjustments and corrections.
3. PLANNING CHANGES THE "DO" TO THE "GET". Planning converts ideas, values and activities into action. Planning is not the end result; it is the tool to convert the idea into a specific action or actions. Planning helps you convert your company's goals into your individual goals and helps you get results. Remember most companies pay you for action NOT activity. It's not the "do" it is the "get" that makes the difference. A good plan is to keep what you are trying to accomplish in the focus at all times. Ask yourself is what you are "doing" now, "getting" the results you are responsible for?
4. PLANNING HELPS ALLOCATE YOUR RESOURCES IN AN EFFICIENT MANNER. Few companies have unlimited resources. A good plan helps you maximize the resources you have. Remember that dollars are not your only resource. The recourse that you will need to manage includes people, tools, assets and company propriety information. By consulting your plan often, you can see concerns before they become problems and you can shift available resources to cover the unexpected issues.
Planning to make a decision is a perfect example of the Pareto principle - the idea that by doing 20% of work you can generate 80% of the advantage of doing the entire job. Pareto analysis is a formal technique for finding the changes that will give the biggest benefits. It is useful where many possible courses of action are competing for your attention.
Perhaps by spending 20% of your time thoroughly planning your next decision can save you 80% of your time. Why not give it a try?
There are several methods you can use for planning. Words such as Strategic, Tactical, and Operational may come to mind. However, these are specific planning procedures. Each has its place in business.