“You better pay attention to your future because you are going to spend a lot of time there”.
Management thought Planning is the first management function to be performed in the process of management. It is concerned with deciding in advance what is to be done, where, how and by whom it is to be done. Thus it is a predetermined course of action to achieve a specified goal. Definitions:
1. Alfred and Beatty: “Planning is the thinking process, the organised foresight, the vision based on facts and experience that is required for intelligent action.”.
2 Koontz and 0’Donne! : ” Planning is deciding in advance what to do , how to do it, who is to do it. Planning bridges the gap from where we are, to where we want to go. It makes it possible for things to occur which would not otherwise happen”.
3. George R Terry: “Planning is selecting and relating of facts and making use of assumptions regarding the future in the visualisation and formulation of proposed activities believed necessary to achieve the desired results”.
Nature or characteristics of Planning
1. Planning is an intellectual process: Planning is an intellectual process. In other words, planning is mental exercise. It requires thinking, reflection and judgement.
2. Primacy of planning: Planning is a primary function. A manager must do planning before he can undertake the other management functions.
3. Goal – oriented: Planning is goal oriented. A plan starts with the setting of objectives and then developing policies, procedure, strategies, etc., to achieve the objectives.
4. Pervasiveness of planning: Planning is a pervasive function. It is done at all the levels of management i,e., top, middle, and supervisory level.
5. Essentialy a decision making process: Planning is essentially a decision making process, since it involves careful analysis of various alternative courses of action and choosing the best.
6. Integrated process: Planning is an integrated process, i.e., it facilitates all other functions of management.
7. Selective process: Planning is a selective process, i.e., it involves the selection of the best course of action after a careful analysis of the various alternative courses of action.
8. Flexible: Planning is flexible. The process of planning should be adaptable to the changes that take place in the environment.
9. Directed towards efficiency: The main purpose of planning is to increase the efficiency of the enterprise. That means, planning is directed towards efficiency.
10. Continuous process: Planning is continuous process. According to Koontz and O’ Donnell, “Effective planning requires continuous checking of events and forecasts, and the redrawing of plans to maintain a course towards a desired goal”.