The Planning Wheel is a contemporary model resembling a ship’s helm, which controls the rudder, and therefore, the direction of the ship. At the center of the wheel is the hub, representing the purpose of the “voyage.” Radiating outward from the hub are the spokes representing communication channels, connecting the hub with the rim of the wheel. At the intersection of each spoke and the rim lies a point of action representing an opportunity for the crew to receive direction and report their observations.
1. Define Purpose
Defining a purpose is the most critical part of a successful planning strategy. A clearly defined purpose statement explains why you exist, what you have to offer, who you wish to serve, and what you hope to achieve. To be effective, the planning strategy should provide a vision and a sense of direction, while at the same time remaining flexible and responsive to the challenge of change.
2. Define Goals & Objectives
Goals and objectives define the amount of work or number of tasks to be completed, the time they need to spend doing it, the degree of accuracy needed, and the manner in which people should conduct themselves as they perform. Goals state what the target is and how often they are expected to hit it. Objectives provide individual direction aligned with the organization’s direction.
3. Define Priorities
Prioritizing establishes the importance of each goal and objective. It determines the order in which specific actions need to be taken. When resources are short and deadlines are pressing, a set of well-defined priorities enables Doers to decide which goals matter and which can be set aside temporarily. Thus informed, they can react to change quickly and smoothly by shifting priorities or setting new goals and objectives.
4. Establish Minimum Acceptable Results
Without a set of standards the crew is likely to let some vital tasks go while they focus on the higher priorities. Failure to maintain minimum standards for each task is the primary source of bottlenecks, production stoppages, and work slowdowns. Knowing how to balance their efforts between minimum results and high priorities is vital to the crew’s ability to achieve their goals and objectives.
5. Assign Management Accountability
One way to expedite accountability is to submit a carefully crafted plan to with the stipulation that unless directed otherwise the intention is to move forward. The longer the boss ponders the issue of liability, the more time the Doers have to prove the worthiness of their ideas. Once the higher ups see the positive results, they are bound to step forward and hold the Doers accountable.
6. Define Performance Metrics
Doers need to know how much time, talent, and treasure it will take to meet each performance goal. Also, they will want to know which indicators will be used to measure their performance. Hard indicators, such as budget, quotas, errors, profits, sales, expenses, and deadlines, can be applied to measure efficiency. Soft indicators, such as satisfaction, experience, confidence, attitude, values, spirit, and motivation, typically measure effectiveness.
7. Establish Performance Metrics Feedback
Doers want to know how they are doing. They are particularly interested in finding out when they are not meeting performance objectives. To have meaning, feedback must be fair, objective, and timely. One way to ensure fairness is to involve participant observers. If the report contains observations from coworkers, customers, suppliers, and employees in other departments, in addition to the supervisor, it would cover “360 degrees” and provide an objective view.
8. Audit Goals & Objectives
A review of performance expectations should point out which goals and objectives were difficult to achieve and which were relatively easy. This is also a good time to uncover any negative side effects resulting from goal ambiguity or goal conflicts. Some Doers may be stressed out from overload, while others may need greater challenges. Provide recognition to those who met or exceeded their targets. Prepare corrective action plans for those with results lower that expected.
9. Identify Unattainable Goals & Objectives
Take a close look at what is not working and try to decide what can be done to change the outcome. Pull the Doers together and discuss which goals and objectives are a waste of their time and energies. Decide whether these goals are worth any further investment. If attainment of a goal is still important, identify the constraints that are blocking success and find ways to remove these barriers or lessen the impact they are having on production.