An organizational plan is a must-have for any company that wants to achieve key objectives within a determined period of time to spur business growth.
How do you develop a good organizational plan? It starts with a clear road map and continues with a few essential steps. A carefully crafted organizational plan can have a positive impact on workforce development, company growth, expansion, product development, financial planning, and more.
Business leaders can use sound organizational planning to address almost any challenge they face. Additionally, organizational planning can set a business up to achieve targeted growth.
What Is an organizational plan?
An organizational plan is a road map that details a company's reason for existing. It includes specific plans for the future and helps ensure that everybody in the organization understands their roles and responsibilities.
When it is crafted well, an organizational plan can keep a business on a progressive path toward growth and success. It should also outline how to improve core elements of the business, including finances, products and services, and the workforce.
Most organizational plans are created using a multistep process. These steps include both strategic and operational planning. Organizational planning must also allocate time and resources for collecting data, evaluating results, and making changes.
Frequently, organizational planning begins with a high-level assessment and documentation of the organization’s structure and goals. These are then viewed with a narrower focus to identify manageable goals and areas of improvement.
Organizational planning isn’t just useful for sustaining a company’s focus on current objectives; it is also an opportunity to create new objectives.
Who is involved in organizational planning? Organizational leadership may act as the driving force, but this process works best when all team members take part.
Organizational planning objectives
Organizational planning focuses on setting and achieving goals in four distinct areas. However, a single organizational planning effort might involve more than one of these categories.
Financial planning is the part of organizational planning that involves determining how the company’s financial capital should be handled.
In organizational planning, you might make decisions that involve funds allocation, investment, and debt management. You might also decide whether to hire someone to handle company financials and lay out what their role will be in the company’s future.
2. Workforce planning
Workforce planning is the series of actions in organizational planning that focuses on your human resources. Goals that relate to this area include:
- Creating internal advancement opportunities
- Improving diversity and inclusion efforts
- Increasing the workforce head count
- Offering new training opportunities
- Creating or restructuring teams
Your ability to achieve goals and experience growth depends largely on your employees. Investing in workforce planning and making changes to improve efficiency can boost profits and increase productivity.
3. Growth and expansion
Organizational planning is an absolute must for any company that has upcoming plans for growth or expansion. These plans might include expanding into new territories, opening new locations, increasing production output, or merging with another organization.
Preparing for growth is one of the more complicated parts of org planning. However, it also has the potential for great outcomes. Expanding your business is the best way to grow your workforce, offer more products and services, and increase your revenue.
4. Products and services
In your organizational plan, you must consider the products or services that your business sells. This is a good time to lay the groundwork for dropping a product line or offering a new service. Product and service planning also involves developing a streamlined marketing strategy and setting new sales goals.
5 Key Steps to Organizational Planning
There are five steps involved in creating an organizational plan.
1. Strategic plan development
Strategic planning is viewing the organization through the broadest lens. Plans and goals that are made here will be very lofty and high-level. Think of this as big-picture planning; upper management reviews the current state of the organization to determine progress toward current goals and set long-term plans.
Although executives should take the wheel in strategic planning, it is a good idea to include lower-level employees and managers in this process. They often have a real-world point of view that the C-suite is missing.
At this stage, it’s important to keep the focus on the company’s values and mission statement. Your high-level goals should align with those. Part of your organizational planning could also involve making changes to your company’s mission and core values. Later, the goals set at this stage will be used to create attainable objectives.
Here are some activities that can help organizations with strategic planning:
- Conduct a SWOT analysis
- Gather and analyze performance metrics
- Study the company mission statement
After this, company leadership can establish goals using the information they have gathered.
2. Tactical planning
During the tactical planning stage, you will take the large-scale goals created in the first step and break them down into objectives that are easier to measure and achieve. Tactical planning will involve managers at all levels in the company, not just executives and division managers.
The goals you create here will be shorter-term than were previously set. For example, one- and five-year goals will become quarterly and annual goals.
Tactical planning must also involve identifying metrics and setting measurable standards of success. If you created a goal to increase your manufacturing workforce, now you will set a goal of hiring a specific number of new employees each quarter while also reducing churn by a specific percentage.
3. Creating operational plans
After tactical planning, create a plan of action to achieve your stated goals. These plans will become part of daily operations; they will detail steps that will be taken to achieve organizational goals.
Operational planning may involve modifying policies, reorganizing teams, altering workflows, and redefining roles and responsibilities. This stage should include input from workers at various organizational levels. You should also consider bringing in consultants to help with ops planning.
For example, suppose that your goal is to increase the number of manufacturing employees. During the operational planning stage, you will determine the specific actions and policies needed to make that happen. You might:
- Review and improve manufacturing job descriptions
- Work with third-party recruiters to reach out to more candidates
- Start a referral rewards program for employees
- Build relationships with local trade and technical schools
Operational plans should be specific and measurable.
During the execution stage, your team will take the detailed plans you have created and implement them. In this stage, you need to closely monitor the work being done to achieve both your strategic and tactical goals. This step is a good test of organizational health.
5. Organizational plan review and adjustment
After your plans have been in action for a while, it’s time to review them. Check progress using the metrics you have established. Work with team members to find any roadblocks that weren’t predicted in the planning stages.
Again, many teams and employees will be involved at this stage because you will need their performance data to complete a reliable audit.
When things aren’t progressing, go back to your planning. Then, determine whether something is wrong at the operational level or if you need to rethink some of your higher-level planning.
Organizational development models
You may find that the process of organizational development and planning goes more smoothly if you work from one of the many organizational development models that are available to you. These include:
- The action research model
- Lewin’s 3-stage model of change
- The general model of planned change
- The appreciative inquiry model
If you base your organizational planning on an established model, you will be able to approach your goals with even more structured thinking.
Common organizational planning mistakes
Here are some common mistakes that organizations make during organizational planning:
Failing to convince stakeholders
Stakeholders include anyone who will be impacted by your organizational plan.
Of course, leaders in key business areas are important stakeholders. However, stakeholders also include well-respected workers who can influence the actions and attitudes of others.
It’s important to identify all of the stakeholders who will be affected by new plans and involve them in the process. This may require carefully navigating difficult conversations to get your team fully on board.
Not communicating with employees
New goals, policies, and strategies must be communicated with workers at every level. If they aren’t, team members may feel blindsided or simply not see the value in what you are trying to accomplish. Good communication also helps you get ahead of your employees’ fears of and resistance to change.
Measurable outcomes are unclear
Have you connected each goal to a specific, measurable outcome? If not, it is impossible to know whether your team has made progress.
Only internal teams are involved
For many organizations, it’s important to consider the impacts of organizational planning on external teams. These are the contractors, vendors, freelancers, and other third parties who contribute to you reaching your goals. New organizational goals and plans often change your relationships with these teams.
For example, if you rely on a staffing agency to fill manufacturing positions, it should probably be involved in rolling out a strategic plan to hire more manufacturing techs. More importantly, the agency may have important insights and information that can help you achieve your goals.
Org planning brings important focus and leads to effective action
There’s no denying the importance of organizational planning. Without it, many businesses lack focus and never quite reach their full potential. Organizations that engage in regular planning can create relevant goals and actionable plans to accomplish them.
Whether your company is a start-up or well-established, consider following the steps outlined here to create a detailed organizational plan. This will bring a sense of clarity to your company goals and help you create an important road map for achieving them. Try Functionly to help with planning elements of your organizational plan.
Learn more about organizational design.