Planning and Organising Skills
Leadership is all about vision, right?
Well, yes and no. Leaders do need to develop a clear vision for their organisation. But a key element of any leadership role is deciding on the direction of travel, whether of an organisation or a team, and then identifying how to get there, and making sure it happens.
This section therefore covers the key skills involved in that process, from strategic thinking through to action planning, project management, and risk management.
Anyone who has ever thought ‘I really need to get organised’ could benefit from this section.
Poor organisation can lead to missed opportunities and lower productivity. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to take a number of simple steps to get and stay organised.
Our page on Organising Skills suggests seven steps, including being clear about what you need to do, deciding when you are going to do it, and perhaps most importantly, staying on top of things.
Strategic thinking and action planning are sometimes viewed as a bit of a ‘mystic art’, the ‘black box’ of leadership.
But in fact, strategic thinking and action planning are no more or less than working out where you are, where you need to be and how you are going to close the gap between the two. Our page on Strategic Thinking describes the process of developing a strategic plan, including how to avoid the trap of the ‘Miracle Box’—as in, in this area, a miracle happens that means that we can achieve our aims.
Our page on Action Planning sets out how to translate a strategic plan into a set of clear actions, all the responsibility of a particular individual, to ensure that your strategy will be delivered.
Leaders do not need to do much detailed project management.
They do, however, need to understand the process, and be able to ask the right questions.
Our page on Project Management explains more about this process, and how leaders can ensure that any projects for which they are responsible are on track. It includes the need to draw up strong and detailed project documentation, and make sure that all the right people are involved from an early stage.
Our page on Project Planning examines one key element of the project management process, that of drawing up the project plan. It sets out a suitable process, and also provides some advice about visual presentation of project plans.
Risk management is otherwise known as the art of working out what could possibly go wrong, and doing something about it.
Like strategic thinking, it is often viewed as a black art, but again, it is actually fairly straightforward. The key is to be clear about how catastrophic and/or likely any particular risk is, and focus your attention on those that are most likely to cause the most problems. Our page on Risk Management explains more.
Getting and Keeping Things on Track
Planning and organising are all about getting, and keeping, everything on track. Whether that is a small or large formal project, or the strategic direction of an entire organisation, it is a key leadership role.
Any leader worth their salt needs to develop these skills early on—or find a subordinate with excellent skills to which to delegate.
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