Friday, August 10, 2012

Essential Idea To Success - Learn To Plan

by Arthelo Palma

If we don’t know where we are going, we will probably end up somewhere else – Anonymous

Essential Idea To Success - Learn To PlanI like the point, that God Himself from the beginning had plans for us. As His children, we too should learn how to plan.

We have this basic idea that when we have plans and put them into action; we would probably succeed in our endeavor. While it is at some point reliably true, there are still important points we need to understand. Do we really care to initiate plans? If we do, are we that confident making the right ones? 

We know that in everything we do so as to ensure achievement of goals, an individual needs to incorporate plans with it. Planning process is such a complex activity. After all, planning is the function of management that involves setting objectives and determining a course of action for achieving them. It is both art and science, so apart from incorporating basic skills with it; one will need to learn fundamental principles about it. Planning has three essential components: mission and vision, strategy, and goals and objectives. 

Planning is not direction setting

However, just a point of view, planning contrary to what others commonly believe is not direction-setting, but it could help create direction for an individual or organization. Unlike planning, direction-setting is inductive, which means there is a need to gather a broad range of data and look for patterns, relationships, and linkages that help explain things. Market research is a form of direction-setting. After all, it aims to move forward to creating direction for certain product offerings in order to earn potential market share. The actual plan for this might be to make a certain brand to become leader in its industry. 

In other words, planning is not a substitute to direction setting, but a compliment to it. Direction setting selects what is the best planning to carry out. Direction setting therefore is the actual implementation of potential plans. Plans are usually in statement forms, as they are about formulation of course of actions prior to their implementation.   

Vision and Mission

Common to every organization are two essential statements: vision and mission. Probably you might ask what difference they have. It is a good starting point to ask that in order to understand planning. As stated earlier, planning has three essential dimensions and among them are vision and mission.

Here's how Carpenter, Bauer and Erdogan (2009) explain the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement.

Vision and mission actually communicate purpose to stakeholders (consumers, investors, society, stockholders, etc.). So they have to be always in statement forms. Mission statement tries to answer these questions: who we are or what we value. In other words, mission statement eventually communicates the organization’s reason for being, and how it aims to serve its key stakeholders. Starbucks has the following mission statement:
“Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.” 
From the above mission statement, it is clear that Starbucks eventually summed up in a single assertion what they significantly value.  
Vision statement on the other hand is a future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose or aspirations. Starbucks has the following vision statement:
“Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles as we grow.” 

Note the difference between the above two statements. The first one provides a clear identification of what Starbucks values the most. On the contrary, the second statement provides a clear emphasis of future direction that Starbucks would want to become. In other words, vision statement should answer this question: what we want to become (Carpenter, Bauer & Erdogan, 2009). 

The key therefore in understanding the differences between mission and vision is clear. One just needs to understand if a certain statement provides significant values or future direction of an individual or organization. 

Now that you know the difference between mission and vision statements, you might find it a good starting point, even if you do not own a company yet, to formulate your own mission and vision. 

Write all the things you value the most and incorporate them into your mission statement. After that, try to express what you would want to become in the future which could relate with your mission statement. Trust me, this is one fundamental move you could make for yourself for you to have bright direction in the future.

photo credit: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia via Flickr cc MORE ARTICLES HERE>>


Carpenter, M., Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B. (2009). Principles of Management. Irvington, NY: Flat World Knowledge.

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