Planning is the first and the most important function of management that involves setting objectives and determining a course of action for achieving those objectives. Planners are essentially the managers who are best aware of environmental conditions facing their organization and are able to effectively analyze and predict future conditions. It also requires that managers should be good decision makers.
Planning involves selecting missions and objectives and the actions to achieve them, it requires decision making, i.e. choosing future courses of action from among alternatives.
Planning means determining what the organization’s position and situation should be at some time in the future and deciding how best to bring about that situation. It helps maintain managerial effectiveness by guiding future activities.
Planning as a process typically involves the following steps:
Selection of goals for the organization.
Establishment of goals for each of the organization’s sub-units.
Establishment of programs for achieving goals in a systematic manner.
Types of Planning
Strategic planning involves analyzing competitive opportunities and threats, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. It also involves determining how to position the organization to compete effectively in their environment.
Tactical planning is creating the blueprint for the lager strategic plan. These plans are often short term and are carried out by middle-level managers.
Operational planning generally covers the entire organization’s goals and objectives and put into practice the ways and action steps to achieve the strategic plans. They are very short terms usually less than a year.