What are the main features to be considered by the management while planning?

Planning states in advance where to go and in which direction to move ahead. It is a continuous process that helps in reducing the risk of uncertainty. Planning is an essential activity that provides the rationale for undertaking policies in the direction of achieving goals. Following are the highlighted features which a manager needs to consider while planning.

(i) Focus on Objectives: Planning serves the basis for guidelines for what goals are to be achieved and how they are to be achieved. Any management should formulate plans keeping in view the specific goals in mind. These plans must ensure that the desired objective is attained. The managers must make sure that the plans made are purposeful. For example, if sales target is to be achieved then the plans must be made in sync with this objective. 

(ii) Stepping Stone: Planning serves as the stepping stone for all other functions of an organisation. That is, planning precedes all other functions such as organising, directing, staffing and controlling. This is because plans states the objectives and all other functions are in accordance with the said objectives. Once the plans are determined, the role of other interrelated functions comes into place. Thus, planning sets the basis for other functions of an organisation.

(iii) Pervasiveness: Planning must be done at all levels of the organisation. It is not a function of just the top level managers but, is a function to be performed at every level of management. However, its scope differs along the various dimensions of business. For example, the top level managers have to chalk out the policies regarding the overall management whereas, the middle level managers plan out the authority to be assigned to the subordinates. On the other hand, the lower level managers make out small targets for day-to-day working.

(iv) Continuity: Planning should be done continuously. This is because after the completion of one plan period, need arises for formulation of another plan, keeping in views the new objectives and circumstances. Moreover, within a plan period need arises to modify the plans as per the changing needs and requirements. Thus, planning does not have an end. It is a continuous process all along the life of a business enterprise.

(v) Choice Making: Planning is a process of making choices amongst the different alternatives for the attainment of the desired objectives. These alternatives are based on the path to be taken, strategies or policies to achieve the goals, etc. Managers need to evaluate these choices thoroughly and then select the most rational scheme to achieve the set objectives.

(vi) Futuristic: Planning must be futuristic in nature. That is, it must be able to foresee and analyse the future. Planning should be done so as to prepare the organisation to deal with the future events. Managers must be able to anticipate the probable situations and plan so as to cope with them in a better manner.

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