(i) Constraints to effective planning
• Environmental barriers
The environment in which most organizations operate is complex and dynamic. Environmental factors e.g. technology, politics and economic situations keep on changing.
These changes affect the organizations’ plans, some of which may become obsolete even before they are executed. Working on a day-to-day basis may be more economical
• Poor goal setting
The first step in planning is goal setting. If they are unrealistically set – unattainable or too low – they will hinder effective planning.
• Resistance to change
By its very nature planning involves change. For various reasons, many members of an organization usually resist change; they tend to prefer the status quo as it is. This usually makes them resist planning that will cause change.
• Time and expense
Lack of time and financial resources do limit planning.
• Attitudes of managers towards planning
Some have a negative mental attitude towards planning. They may believe that the future cannot be predicted accurately and all planning is inaccurate.
• Pressure from stakeholders
Powerful people may exert pressure to ensure that the plans serve their own interest. Planners may go for the ‘pet projects’ of powerful people and not make an objective analysis of the alternatives available.
• Competence of the planner
It is vital that he be equipped with the necessary skills to make focused plans that are likely to succeed.
• Lack of participation
Unless everyone in the organization is involved in planning, it is not likely to succeed. Strategic plans must be communicated to middle level managers who should play a role in making the operational and tactical plans.
ii) Overcoming constraints to effective planning
• Planning must start at the top. The initiative and support of top management is essential for effective planning.
• Allow for wider participation in the formulation and execution of plans.
• Planning should be definite, time specific and focused.
• Goals, premises and policies must be properly communicated to all in the organization.
• Long range planning must be integrated with short range planning.
• Planning must include awareness and acceptance of change.
• An open system involving continuous monitoring of the environment should be adopted.
• Plans should be flexible – allow for change so as to adapt the changing environment.
• Train managers on the art of planning.
• Develop accurate forecasts and be objective.
• Review plans regularly to ensure that the premise still hold and allow for changes as appropriate.