This article was generously provided by Denis Dionne, Director of Sales, Financial Horizons Group, Quebec Region.
In every aspect of life, both personally and professionally, people engage in planning. We plan our expenses, our holidays, our retirement, our next show, our grocery purchases and our dinners with friends. In her article entitled Achieving Balance: Beyond Your Portfolio, my colleague Patricia Ziegler, President & Chief Operating Officer, Continuum Financial Centres and Structured Settlements, aptly points out that planning is the best way to achieve one’s goals as well as balance in the various areas of one’s life.
And so it is that in many areas of life, planning applies to absolutely everything. In sports, for example, a game plan is necessary at the beginning of the year and each matchup has its own game plan based on the opposing team. Planning is accomplished by segmenting time into short, medium, and long terms, then by dividing those segments into weeks, months, and full years, the goal being to win and accumulate points. The ultimate goal is to rise to the top of the field!
What is planning?
Dictionaries generally define the concept as follows:
“Planning refers to the action and results of planning, i.e., organizing something (time, activities) in advance according to a plan. This implies having one or more goals that one wishes to meet and taking the necessary steps to achieve them.”
In other words, planning is the systematic process of identifying a need and determining the best way to meet that need within a strategic framework of priority management.
Planning means thinking of the future on the basis of the actions taken and the decisions made today.
The greater the extent of the planning, the easier its implementation. Likewise, a plan that is executed quickly and haphazardly will result in significant negative impacts. Studies have shown that 85% of errors occur as a result of poor planning.
Why is planning important?
Planning should be done in order to:
- Clearly understand what you need to do to achieve your development goals;
- Define the goals that are really a priority;
- Allocate your resources and actions to the right areas;
- Always maintain your focus;
- Act as a tool to help you communicate your intentions to others;
- Serve as a guide or a schedule.
When should planning occur?
Annual planning should generally be done at the end of the previous year, while comprehensive strategic planning should occur every three to five years.
As a corporate executive, you need to know where you’re going and how you want to get there. I advise you to look at planning as you would a compass: it will guide you like a boat on the ocean, in fair weather or foul.
While it is true that good planning requires time and investment, it is in fact the best investment one can make, both personally and professionally! Keep in mind that a lack of organization or planning can be costly and that, moreover, you won’t get the results you expected.
My next article will focus more specifically on describing in practical terms how to plan properly, the steps you need to follow, the questions you need to ask, and so on. It will be an essential complement to this first article if indeed I have managed to convince you of the importance of planning.
To be continued…