Operational Level Planning: The Ends, Ways and Means
Operational Level Planning is the Conversion of Strategic Goals into Executable Objectives
Before you dive into planning your operation, stop. Take time to think through where you want to end up and whether you want to take on the challenge. If you decide you do want to take it on, then figure out the actual starting point. How do you plan to reach your goal from this starting point and what are ways to check your progress? Whether working alone or with a team, checkpoints will help you determine whether you are on track for your goals.
End Vision –
Ask yourself; “What do you want to achieve?”
In order to know where you want to be, you need an end vision of what you want to achieve. Laying out that plan in writing crystalizes it for yourself and others involved. It’s easier to see where to adjust the plan to keep it in alignment with your goals, values and vision. It’s also easier to communicate your vision with other participants planning and implementing it with you.
Clearly defined outcomes –
Without clearly defining the desired outcome, it is difficult to make any strategic plan work. Remember, we had a great starting point with your vision and your values. Now, you need to clearly define what steps need to be taken, to reach that vision, with your values. Chart the steps and what success will look like at each of those checkpoints. Make your formula show what detailed action, in what amount, will yield what results, by when.
You have a vision and an outcome. How will you reach it?
The ways, or values, are not throwaways to be used just for marketing. Values and ways set the guidelines for behavior. Values can be the difference in the success of your venture. When you create them, keep your values as honest as possible. Make a self-assessment of how you want your organization to behave as it strives to reach goals delivering on its vision. Try to shape your core values around the values of your best people as well as your own. How do you see your team, your company reaching your objectives?
Next look at the specific techniques you will use to reach your end vision.
The resources you use during the process are the means to the end vision. Everyone needs things, tools, equipment and gear to do the job. Take stock of what you have on hand, and what you need to accomplish the end vision. Do you have the resources and necessary time to get the needed tools, equipment and gear to accomplish the goal?
You were so specific that you can identify whether the your team is achieving its goals. Accountability is critical. Recognize success and correct failures. The waypoints to measure whether your team is on track, back in the strategic planning section of this article, gives you several points to quantify progress and get wandering team members back on track. Without accountability, the plan is just a idea, the vision a dream, and the values a wish.