Barriers to Effective Planning

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Effective planning requires a thorough knowledge of both present conditions and future goals. Because these things are not always entirely knowable, and because most situations are constantly changing, planning can be a very challenging process. In companies and organizations, planning is usually undertaken by groups, a fact that increases the complexity of the task.

Poor Communication

The planning process is complicated when communication within or between groups is poor. Insufficient communication of tactics, plans and priorities leads to replication of effort and people working at cross purposes when they should be working together. Poor communication may be caused by undeveloped skills, rivalries, misunderstanding of the planning process or excessive complexity within the planning group structure.

Resistance

The difficulties of the planning process are not always the result of accident or incompetence. Not infrequently, people who are going to be affected by change don't like the idea and resist it. Resistance to planning for change within organizations can take the form of malingering, undermining of morale or straightforward opposition. Contingency plans to accommodate resistance should be included in any comprehensive planning process.

Insufficient Resources

If plans become excessively ambitious, they can sometimes by stymied be a simple lack of resources on the part of a company or organization. This is particularly true if the planning involves physical plant renovation or expansion. Grand plans are much less expensive to create on paper than in bricks and mortar, and planners can easily lose track of the eventual cost of their plans.

Unknowable Future

No matter how thorough a planning process is, the future always holds surprises. Planners who forget this fact tend to create excessively detailed and specific plans, and then have these plans compromised by unexpected events or changing conditions. Well laid plans...
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