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Education Article

Planning Made Easy

Choosing the Best Structure for Your Startup Business

Planning is the process of setting goals, developing strategies, and outlining tasks and schedules to accomplish the goals.

Many of us view planning as time-consuming, restricting, difficult to follow and keep up to date, so just not worth the effort. In reality, each of us plans numerous times a day, week, month, year, and lifetime. If you have a family, a job or a home, you are constantly planning: who needs to go where and when; what must be accomplished at work today and this week; where and when you would like to vacation; how much to save for retirement; etc. We may not write all the steps down in chronological order with responsible parties and progress accomplished, but we all PLAN constantly, or our lives would be even more chaotic.

Why do we plan?

  1. To provide direction: The planning process clarifies for us and others the objectives we want to achieve—where we are going—and allows us to celebrate a successful arrival. A well-developed and well-articulated plan contributes to both individual and organizational success.
  2. To minimize waste and redundancy: Our goal, both at work and at home, is to use our time well, allowing us to accomplish most of what we need or want to do. Rework and redundancy are just not an option. Planning allows us to best allocate and use resources rather than trying to gather them last minute and risking losing access or being unprepared to use them well.
  3. To help us get to OUR destination: Key is that we have to know what our "destination" is on a given day. Planning helps us define that and celebrate when we arrive in a quality fashion and on time.

A simple guide for planning is to:

  1. Set a goal.
  2. Make sure it is:
    1. Meaningful: Will it contribute in a significant manner to our overall expected or desired accomplishments?
    2. Makeable: Is it something we can reasonably achieve?
    3. Measurable: Can success be measured in objective terms and not through abstract concepts such as better, larger, more, etc.?

Our goals are linked directly to our:

  • Core values: Our personal “operating philosophy,” like honesty, integrity, respect
  • Mission: A focused statement of who we are and what we do
  • Vision: How we will accomplish our mission

In an accompanying article we will discuss in more detail how to strategically plan our life and support our company in establishing and accomplishing their goals. But in the interim, start observing the planning that you do every day at home, at work, with your family, and for yourself personally. People and organizations who consistently plan are more successful than those who do not. Start being one of the former by setting one simple goal; making it meaningful, makeable and measurable; implementing it and celebrating the positive outcome. You are now a planner and on your way! Future articles will guide you in more complex planning.

Allow yourself the privilege of being more successful and using your time most efficiently. Acknowledge your planning side and use it to your advantage. You deserve it!

For a complete guide to strategic organizational planning, see Chapter 3 of Managing Service Excellence.