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A good plan is the key to success

A plan – this term has many meanings which often differ from themselves as far as their subject is concerned. When saying that we have got a plan, we mean e.g. an idea, a schedule or a project. So a plan for the weekend is at the same time an idea how to spend it. When saying about a schedule, we have also a timetable at school on our mind. Saying about a plan, we mean a plan of a city or streets. A term project means a sort of action plan which we are going to execute in the future. Such planning consists in a conscious setting up of the direction of your actions as well as making decisions based on objectives, facts and considered judgements . This kind of plan is used in business as a basis to achieve the assumed objective. Is it necessary though to become successful?

The opponent of planning would probably say that there is no need to plan. They like to take spontaneous decisions and rely on their own intuition. They make impression of a relaxed person. The term “stress” seems to be foreign to them. They easily switch from one task to another and take up another enterprise with great enthusiasm, like improvising and quickly distinguish important things from those, which are not worth focusing on. Their desk is full of piling up mail and colourful sticky notes, where they note down their new ideas.

What is the fan of planning like? They probe every task and plan it in detail. They separate the most urgent matters from the less urgent ones. They got every month, week, day and even hour planned.

The first type – improviser – seem to be less tense, but in fact they constantly process in their mind the information heard and impulses coming from everywhere, analysing them and creating new ideas. Improviser starts many subjects but – due to the chaos – they rarely manage to finalise them as a result. The second type analyses every task thoroughly, sets the time to perform it before, moves on to the next project after finishing the previous one.

Improvising is not a bad method of doing business, however, it is less effective than the actions taken after their previous precise planning. The planned activity is not only better for one person, but also easier and more transparent in team work, and as a result also in the department’s and the whole company’s development. If we stick to the schedule, we can give clear guidelines to our co-workers, what and how they should perform a certain action, which would be impossible when improvising. A plan lets us clearly define our goal, needs and opportunities as well as gives us the reason to control.

Thus plan is a basic tool, thanks to which we can complete our assumptions, dreams, our success. However, in order to let it be successful it should be well set up, which means it should fulfil a few factors, which determine the success. Those factors are clearly described by the star diagram below[1]:


 Star of planning


The star describes the following factors determining the success of the plan:

  • situation assessment – why?
  • defining the aims of the action – what?
  • setting up the procedures – where?
  • setting up the schedule of the plan – when?
  • assinging responsibilities – who?
  • checking the possibility of the plan’s execution and its costs – by what? 

The first step to set up the plan is the answer to the question: why? Knowing the reasons of a given intention, it is easier to arrange particular stages of the plan, as well as to execute it. Therefore we should remember that the answer to the question: why? is true. Is the motive of action a willingness, which results from the internal need, or is it rather a temporary influence of other people or circumstances? That mostly determines the success of a given plan.

The second step is defining the aims of the action – answer to the question: what? It seems to be so easy that we often devote it too little attention and define the aim only in thoughts. Later that often causes that our aim is modified. According to the S.M.A.R.T rule (the acronym of: Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely defined) a good aim should be simple, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely defined. Understanding the aim should not be a trouble, whereas its formulation should be clear and specific. It must be possible to be completed and real. Should be a step forward and be a certain value for a person who defines it, as well as have a specific time horizon which is to be executed[2].

The moment the aim is already set up, we should consider where to execute it, which means, in which place or if need be among which group of people.

The next step is setting the time, when the specific actions of the plan are to be taken. That is the answer to the question: when? If that aspect is passed over, the plan can be postponed in time for too long, and what follows it will be hard to control its execution. As a result, there is less chance of the plan’s success.

When planning we should consider, who is to be involved in the execution as well as who should be engaged in particular parts of the plan. It is also important, how many persons could it be as well as if that could be anyone, or only specific group of people.

The last but very essential factor is the financial aspect. We should rationally define, which type of tools and means are needed in order to execute the plan and whether the investment does not exceed the financial capacity of the organizer, which means by what?                

A good plan, which fulfills the factors included in the star diagram, is a basis of the success. That is not all, however. If there is a good plan established, it is important to execute it consistently. Even the best plan will not help us to succeed, if it is only in the phase of theory.

Sylwia Latawska



Jarosz M., Słownik Wyrazów Obcych, Wydawnictwo Europa, Wrocław 2001.





[1] Zarządzanie celami i planowanie w organizacji, zarządzanie, Lecture No. 4, 19.11.2005, http://swspiz-waw.ovh.org.

[2] S.M.A.R.T., http://pl.wikipedia.org/, [04.04.2011].