POTC – the four elemental components of any effective management strategy
I am still in Uganda and will be for several more weeks. It is my privilege to be training some new managers as they make the transition into the realm of those who lead others.
I am well aware of the Peter Principle which says that in an organization, personnel tend to rise to the level of their incompetence. And I am aware that not everyone can make the transition into places of authority and to the command of others. But one works with what one has with the understanding that some will make the grade and others will not. Even seasoned trainers cannot always predict who will rise to the challenge until the person gives it a go.
I am also aware that it is almost certain that if adequate preparation is not provided, the attrition rate among new managers will be higher. So I am here giving what amounts to basic training in management to a team of people we hope can rise to the level of ability and responsibility their jobs require.
Reaching back to the fundamental principles of management I am emphasizing the four elemental components of an effective strategy – POTC:
PLAN – ORGANIZE – TRAIN – CONTROL
No manager can skip the planning stage. Getting somewhere demands consideration of where you want to go connected to where you are and a PLAN for getting from here to there. It demands knowledge of and consideration of the conditions and components that will be necessary to get the plan operational. Planning does these 9 things for the manager/leader:
- It makes your work and the work of others more efficient. Translate to mean it gets more done for less time, less effort, less money which can only mean one thing – profit. Even if your position is in a non-profit organization there is still the imperative to efficiently utilize the organization’s resources and funds. Therefore,
- Planning enhances efficiency because planning denotes and connotes ORDER. Order creates more out of less. For visual evidence of that, think of a cluttered closet or cupboard. When disorder exists in a storage closet, all available and useable space is filled with a jumble of items. Putting those things in order creates useable space that was not there before. It creates more out of less. Part 2 of this series is ORGANIZE where I will examine the topic more thoroughly.
- Planning manages risk. The very act of planning means looking into what is going to happen and factoring in what could affect wither the outcome or the path to the outcome. Planning tries to accommodate the circumstance that could impact events so that their impact is not life-threatening.
- Planning mechanizes people and processes in the sense that it coordinates them avoiding or at least minimizing duplication of effort, minimizes waste of either effort or resources, and perhaps most importantly, reduces friction that always occurs whenever two parts in motion make contact. If nothing is moving, if nothing is happening, no friction exists because nothing is moving. Planning considers that friction will occur and addresses it.
- Planning enlightens the manager about what will need to be done and what are the expected results, therefore the manager wikll better know what skills and attitudes will be required. Planning anticipates training, the third topic in this series.
- Planning focuses the direction of the organization toward agreed upon objectives that in turn validate the company. It is not enough to do things. It is necessary to do the correct things in the correct sequence. Planning does that.
- Planning assists in maintaining control. I will address the control factor soon (hint: the “C” in POTC is? You guessed it. Control.
- Planning unleashes motivation and keeps it at a healthy level. Responsible people respond positively when they see their efforts actually mean something. People hate busy work. They respond negatively when they are asked to do something just to do it. They respond better when they can readily see how what they do has meaning, relevance, and importance. Planning means you actually thought about this before you asked them to do it.
- Planning requires you, the manager, to be attentive, creative, and innovative. Managers have to think, they have to understand, they have to have ideas. This is one of the key differences that separates leaders from followers.
The next article will cover ORGANIZING. Until then, what benefits have you seen from planning that I did not include in my list? What did you discover when you or someone you worked for failed to plan well?