Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

2.5. The action plan

ryanrori December 31, 2020

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Developing the action plan

Handout 2 and 3

Once you have written down your goals and objectives you have to develop plans for the realisation of the objectives. These plans are called action plans.

In the action plan you must specify and explain clearly WHAT has to be done, WHY it must be done, WHEN it should be done, WHO must do it and HOW it should be done.

Business concepts and ideas formulated in the business plan must also be stated in the action plan and timeframes must be linked to these to specify when these concepts and ideas must be implemented.

Legal issues, health and safety regulations and risk factors must also be taken into consideration when drawing up the action plan as well as resources that are going to be needed to run the operation effectively.

Action plans are the maps by which a competent manager navigates his course to the required destination.  Please refer to the example of an action plan chart on the handout 3, to help you complete an action plan that is understandable.  Handout 3 contains a blank action plan chart for you to use in future.

Implement an action plan

The previous steps in the planning process concerned the thought process.  These ideas and goals, as well as the manner in which they are to be achieved must now be brought into operation and must be evaluated continuously.

Plans do not mysteriously activate themselves. You must put the plans into effect. One of the problems about planning is that too often the planners are not the doers. As a result, detailed plans running to hundreds of pages may do no more than gather dust.

Planning, no matter how carefully and painstakingly done, is useless and a waste of time without commitment and action.

This means that you have to start doing the things that must be done according to the action plan, or see that the people who must do it, are doing it.  This is the activating process.  You have to communicate your goals and objectives to the people involved, you have to delegate roles and responsibilities and you have to coordinate the efforts of your staff and other sections or departments.

You also have to organise your resources:

  • Man
  • Material
  • Machinery
  • Methods
  • Money
  • Markets

Then you have to check on a regular basis whether the tasks in the action plan are still being done and whether they will be finished on time.  This is the controlling function.  If things are going wrong, you need to know in time so that the problem can be solved and, if necessary, take disciplinary steps.

Organising

During this process the organisational structure emerges, establishing the

  • Structures: the structure of the organisation
  • Divisions: or departments
  • Responsibility: who should do what
  • Standards: how should it be done
  • Channels of communication: to regulate the flow of information
  • And the levels of management: according to tasks and departments

This function also handles staffing: the recruitment, placement, induction, etc. of human resources.

The organising function also works closely with decision-making.  A manager has to organise his section or department.  He has to decide who is going to do what, which equipment and machinery must be used, what materials are going to be used, how soon must the task be done and to what standard must the job be done.

Plans have to be put into action.  This is the purpose of the organising function of management.  It has been said that organising is the process of allocation of resources. 

When senior and top management determine the structure of the organisation, they are also organising.  The organisation structure is the basic framework of formal relationships among responsibilities, tasks and people in the organisation – the various departments, in the organisation in other words. The structure will give middle and junior management an idea of how resources must be allocated. 

When the structure of the organisation is determined, the work that has to be done is usually divided into tasks that can be performed by individuals or groups.  Departments are formed, based on the grouping of work activities that belong together: sales, production, administration.

Top management determines the basic overall structure of the organisation.  They provide the guidelines along which middle management and junior management operate.

Middle management will fulfil the organisation function in their own departments and this will include the allocation of:

  • human resources,
  • furniture,
  • equipment,
  • machinery,
  • raw products in such a way that the strategic and functional plans can be met. 

Junior managers will organise their sections:

  • ensure that the human resources that have been allocated to the section are used for tasks that suit them best,
  • ensure that enough human resources are allocated to a specific task,
  • ensure that the raw product reaches the destination in time,
  • ensure that the equipment and machinery is in peak working condition and
  • ensure that functional plans are met.

These are not all the organisational functions of middle and junior management; we have quoted examples of these functions for you in explanation of the term organisation.

Activating/leading

Activating is the process where people are led to contribute towards the activities of the operation in order to achieve the goals effectively and efficiently. 

As people are different, the task of the manager is to keep these differences in mind and motivate individuals to achieve their own goals and also the goals of the business.  This is the function where people are motivated to work according to the standards required.  The activating and motivating functions of management are closely aligned.

Once the manager has decided what has to be done, by whom it must be done and how it must be done, he has to communicate the decision to all the people involved.  So, activating, motivation and communication are closely related.

Managers can make all the plans they want, if they are not implemented and communicated to the appropriate parties, nothing will happen. 

If your mother at home wants you to wash the dishes, she has to tell or ask you to do it.  If she doesn’t, the dishes will not be washed.  The workplace is the same: decisions have to be communicated!

Leadership is the process of directing people towards accomplishing certain goals.  Leading people should bridge the gap between planning and actually achieving the objectives.  It involves influencing, giving orders, motivating, conflict management and communicating.

When you lead, you direct the activities and performance (in other words the work) of other people so that the objectives and goals of the organisation can be attained.