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Planning – One of the Four Basic Components of Management

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA on November 10, 2021 hst Print

Many individuals who are involved with or study the concept of management include four basic components – planning, organizing, directing and controlling. In addition, there are some who include communication, allocating resources, and efforts involved with human resources as well as the four basic, general aspects. But there should be no mistake that planning is an essential part of the process.

While the term planning seems simple enough, it involves establishing the objectives of an organization and then developing the best and most suitable way to achieve them. Therefore, this aspect is critical to the operation and success of any organization and this would include a school or athletic program.

There is an often-used maxim with reference to planning: Failure to plan is a plan to fail. This statement clearly and concisely puts this process into proper perspective. Planning is, therefore, vital and important to the ongoing operation of an organization because it provides a blueprint and sense of direction. Without planning, the efforts may be haphazard, incomplete and fraught with mistakes.

In writing, authors commonly use what is known as the Journalist Cues to help them to formulate their drafts. These prompts – who, what, why, when, where, how and, perhaps, how much – raise questions from which the readers need the answers to completely understand the content. These same cues should be used within the concept of planning because individuals will also need the answers from these prompts to make sure that all details are completely and accurately covered.

Whether you are preparing to host a tournament, deciding to hold a fundraiser, creating an agenda or PowerPoint for an important meeting, it is vital to take the time to plan. Don’t teachers prepare detailed lesson plans prior to teaching a class and coaches put together formal, written practice plans? They do so to ensure that all details are completely, effectively and efficiently covered. A standard practice for coaches is to spend at least two times more than the actual practice session will last in order to plan it. This may seem counterintuitive, but the time spent planning makes projects and activities much more productive.

For athletic directors, there are different types or categories of planning that should take place. An athletic director thinks about his or her daily To Do List or what has to be accomplished in the upcoming week. This would represent short-term planning. In addition, you may have a project or event in which all of the details have to be considered and completed. This type takes a little more time, thought and effort.

Finally, there are also long-term plans and notably this might include a strategic plan. This document would provide objectives and guidelines for three to five years. A strategic plan for a school district, high school or athletic program provides a sense of direction and also a manner in which one can assess if or when everything has been accomplished. But each of the three types of planning are critical and important to your success in leading and managing your program.

The following aspects of planning should be undertaken in order to be effective.

  • Determine what has to be accomplished in order to meet your goals as an organization. Make a detailed list of everything that needs to be done and don’t overlook anything. Refer to notes and files from previous years, suggestions received from coaches and expectations from supervisors.
  • Analyze what steps have to be taken to meet your individual objectives. These should include what has to be the first initial one continuing on with the logical progress of actions or stages until you reach the conclusion. This progression or course of action has to be done for each goal and every small detail should be included. Accuracy and a smooth operation are the result of a complete description of the necessary efforts that have to be undertaken.
  • Figure out how long it will take to complete each goal and this also has to include the time needed for each individual step. In many long-term projects and initiatives, it may take longer than anticipated. Reality or complications may come into play, and it is helpful to also take this into account when creating a realistic timeline.
  • Consider if any will involve a cost in implementing your proposed project or initiative. Once this estimate is established, it needs to be added to your budget proposal or an ancillary funding source has to be identified.
  • Get input from others who have a background and experience with the project, event or initiative. Planning does not have to be a solitary effort and other individuals can fill-in the gaps, provide a different perspective and make the process a little easier. Any help and advice that will streamline and improve your efforts should be considered.
  • Revise and refine your plans, if additional information or details become available. Planning is an ongoing, dynamic process, and it needs to accommodate any changes that have occurred or will occur. In order for your plan to be successful, it needs to be based upon the most current information and that it accurately relates to your situation and setting.

Quite often, one’s efforts with planning must be accomplished within a defined timeframe. This phase or part has to be accomplished in order to move onto the next aspect of management, which is the organization of the event or initiative. Many in the field of management consider planning to be the most important, essential aspect for the smooth, efficient operation of an organization. This means that if you start the process as early as possible, put in the time and effort, your chances for success will increase immensely.