Day: March 2, 2011

Framework to Design Your Training Plan

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(Directions for Learners to Complete This Training Plan)
Complete this training plan by following the guidelines in the document Complete Guidelines to Design Your Training Plan. Learners may modify this framework to suit their nature and needs.

Name of Learner __________________________________________________
Approval (if applicable) ____________________________________________

Time Frame
This plan will be started on the following date __________________________________
The plan will be implemented by the following date ______________________________

Funding Requirements
(See budget at the end of the training plan)
Comments: ____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________

General Comments
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Overall Training Goals
What do you want to be able to do as a result of learning achieved from implementing this training plan?
As much as possible, design your goals to be “SMARTER“.
1. ___________________________________________________________

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2. ___________________________________________________________

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3. ___________________________________________________________

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How Were These Training Goals Selected?
Results of performance review?
Result of self-assessment?
Reference to current job description?
Reference to strategic or other organizational goals?
Other(s)?


Learning Objectives
What new capabilities do you want to have? What do you want to be able to do as a result of your new knowledge, skills and/or abilities?
You may need several learning objectives for each of your overall training goals. As much as possible, design your learning objectives to be “SMARTER“.
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How Were These Learning Objectives Selected?
Results of performance review?
Result of self-assessment?
Reference to current job description?
Reference to strategic or other organizational goals?
Other(s)?


Learning Activities/Strategies/Methods
What activities will you undertake to reach the learning objectives?
Learning activities may not match learning objectives on a one-for-one basis. For a list of a wide variety of learning activities, see Various Ideas for Learning Activities.
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Documentation/Evidence and Evaluation of Learning

Documentation/
Evidence of Learning
(see ideas)
Who Will Evaluate It? How Will They Evaluate It?
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Budget for Training Plan
The following budget depicts the costs expected to implement this training plan.

Expected Expense Dollars
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

Used by The Management Assistance Program for Nonprofits
2233 University Avenue West, Suite 360
St. Paul, Minnesota 55114 (651) 647-1216
With permission from Carter McNamara, PhD, Copyright 1999

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Complete Guidelines to Design Your Training Plan

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Written by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD | Applies to nonprofits and for-profits unless noted

Self-directed learners can use these guidelines to develop their own training plan. Whether their training goals involve learning certain topics and/or skills, learners can start their learning by starting their planning.

NOTE: Do not be intimidated by the length of this framework. If you looked at a list of all of the steps necessary to go grocery shopping, you’d likely stay at home! You can complete these guidelines without being an expert. All you need is to make a commitment and take a few hours of your time — time during which you’ll be learning, too!

Categories of information include
Directions to Use “Complete Guidelines …”
Preparation for Designing Your Training Plan
Determining Your Overall Goals in Training
Determining Your Learning Objectives and Activities
Developing Any Materials You May Need
Planning Implementation of Your Training Plan
Planning Quality Control and Evaluation of Your Training Plan and Experiences
Follow-Up After Completion of Your Plan


Directions to Use “Complete Guidelines …”
NOTE: If you are designing a training plan to enhance introductory understanding and/or skills in management, leadership or supervision, then follow the directions in the appropriate topics Management Development, Leadership Development or Supervisoral Development.

NOTE: In this document, the term “supervisor” is used to refer to the position to whom the learner directly reports, for example, a chief executive reports to a board of directors.

Design your training plan by
1. Proceeding through each of the following numbered steps in this document and

2. You will be guided to write your training plan by writing certain information in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.


Preparation for Designing Your Training Plan
Don’t Worry About Whether Your Plan is Perfect or Not — The Plan is Guide, Not Law
Don’t worry about whether you completely understand key terms in training or whether your plan is “perfect” or not. The key is to get started. Start simple, but start. Do the best that you can for now. There is no perfect plan. You’re doing the plan according to your own nature and needs.

Also, it’s not important to stick to the plan for the sake of the plan. The plan will likely change as you go along. That’s fine, as long as you’ve notice that it’s been changed and why.

Remember that Training and Development is a Process
So often when we design a plan, the plan becomes the end rather than the means. The plan is a general guide — the real treasure found from implementing your plan is the learning you achieve. Learning is an ongoing process. Look at learning as a process and you enjoy the long time during the journey rather than the short time at the destination.

Get Some Sense of These Basic Terms
You don’t have to be expert at the following terms — just get a general sense about them.

training goal learning objectives learning methods/
activities
documentation/ evidence of learning evaluation
overall results/capabilities you hope to attain by implementing your training plan, eg.,
1. pass supervisor qualification test
what you will be able to do as a result of the learning activities in this plan, eg,
1. exhibit required skills in problem solving and decision making
2. exhibit required skills in delegation
what you will do in order to achieve the learning objectives, eg,
1. complete a course in basic supervision
2. address a major problem that includes making major decisions
3. delegate to a certain employee for one month
4. etc.
evidence produced during your learning activities — these are results that someone can see, hear, feel, read, smell, eg,
1. course grade
2. your written evaluation of your problem solving and decision making approaches
3. etc.
assessment and judgment on quality of evidence in order to conclude whether you achieved the learning objectives or not

The following documents can greatly improve the quality of your training plan
Basic Requirements of Learners
Suggestions to Enrich Any Training and Development Plans

Might any of the following topics be useful to you at this point in designing your training plan?
Personal Development (setting goals, learning styles, studying, taking tests, remembering, etc.)


Determining Your Overall Goals in Training
This section helps you identify what you want to be able to do as a result of implementing your training plan, for example, qualify for a certain job, overcome a performance problem, meet a goal in your career development plan, etc. Learners are often better off to work towards at most two to four goals at a time.

1. Optional: You may want to re-review some of the following information:
Goals — Selecting the Training and Development Goals

2. Are there any time lines that you should consider in your plan?
Do you have to accomplish any certain areas of knowledge or skills by a certain time? If so, this may influence your choice of learning objectives and learning activities to achieve the objectives. (Record your time lines in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.)

3. Are you pursuing training and development in order to address a performance gap?
A performance gap is usually indicated from the performance appraisal process. The performance appraisal document should already include careful description of the areas of knowledge and skills that you must learn in order to improve your performance. To understand performance gaps, see
Employee Performance Management

4. Or, is your plan to address a growth gap?
If so, carefully identify what areas of knowledge and skills are needed to reach your goals in your career. Consider referencing job descriptions, lists of competencies or even networking with others already in the positions that you want to reach in the near future. The following links might help you.
Job Descriptions | Competencies | Networking | Career Planning | Job Searching

5. Or, is your plan to address an opportunity gap?
If so, carefully identify what areas of knowledge and skills are needed to perform the job or role that soon might be available to you. Again, consider job descriptions, lists of competencies or even interviewing someone already in the job or role that may soon be available to you.
The following links might help you.
Job Descriptions | Competencies | Networking | Career Planning | Job Searching

6. Get feedback from others
Ask for advice from friends, peers, your supervisors and others. They can be a real treasure for real-world feedback about you! For example, you (and your supervisor, is applicable) could work together to conduct a SWOT (an acronym) analysis, including identifying the your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and any threats to reaching the your desired goals.

7. Should you conduct a self-assessment?
For example, you (and your supervisor, is applicable) could work together to conduct a SWOT (an acronym) analysis, including identifying the your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and any threats to reaching the your desired goals. There are also a wide variety of self-assessments available at
Self-Assessments (numerous self-assessments)

8. Is a list of competencies, job descriptions or job analysis available to help you identify your training and development goals?
A competencies list is a list of the abilities needed to carry out a certain role. The list can be very useful to you when identifying your learning objectives in your training and development plan. See information in the sections
Job Analysis | Job Description | Competencies

9. Begin thinking about how much money you will need to fund your plan.
You might need money, e.g., to pay trainers, obtain facilities and materials for training methods, pay wages or salaries for employees during attendance to training events, etc. Begin recording your expected expenses in the “Budget” section of the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

10. Identify your training goals.
By now, you should have a strong sense of what your training goals are, after having considered each of the above steps. It’s important that goals be designed and worded to be “SMARTER” (an acronym), that is, specific, measurable, acceptable to you, realistic to achieve, time-bound with a deadline, extending your capabilities and rewarding to you. (For more guidance, see Goals and Objectives Should Be SMARTER.) Write down your training goals in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.


Determining Your Learning Objectives and Activities
The purpose of this part of your planning is to design learning objectives that ultimately accomplish your reaching your overall training and development goals. You will also identify the learning activities (or methods) you’ll need to conduct to achieve your learning objectives and overall training goals.

1. You may want to re-review information in the sections:
Designing Training (identifying learning objectives, methods to use, etc.)
Methods — Remembering Some Basic Principles About Adult Learning
Methods — Some Basic Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting Methods
Methods — Building More Learning into the Training and Development Plan
Various Ideas for Ways to Learn

2. Identify some preliminary learning objectives for each new area of knowledge or skills that you need to learn.
Carefully consider each of your training goals. What specifically must be accomplished (that is, what objectives must be reached) in order for you to reach those goals? Which of these objectives require learning new areas of knowledge or skills? These objectives are likely to become learning objectives in your training plan. Similar to the nature of training goals, learning objectives should be designed and worded to be “SMARTER”. (See Basic Guidelines and Examples for Writing Learning Objectives.)

3. In what sequence should the learning objectives be attained?
Usually, learning builds on learning. It may be useful to learn certain areas of knowledge and skills before learning new areas.

4. Carefully consider — When you have achieved all of your learning objectives, will you indeed have achieved all of your overall training goals?
Now you’re read to write down your learning objectives in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

5. What are the best learning activities (methods) for you to achieve your learning objectives?
Do the methods match your particular learning style, e.g., reading, doing or listening? Do the methods stretch your styles, too? Are the methods readily accessible to you? Do the methods take advantage of real-life learning opportunities, e.g., use on-the-job training opportunities, real-life problems that occur at work, use of projects and programs at work? Note that learning activities do always match learning objectives on a one-for-one basis. You might benefit from the following links, Some Typical Ways of Learning, Some New Ways of Learning in the Workplace and Learning Style Inventory.)

6. Do your learning activities include your ongoing reflections about your learning?
You (and your supervisor, if applicable) will benefit from regularly taking time to stand back and inquire about what is going on in your training, what are you learning and how, if anything should be changed, etc. Skills in reflection are critical for ongoing learning in your life and work. Consider using a private learning journal. Now you’re read to write down your learning activities in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

7. What observable results, or evidence of learning, will you produce from your learning activities that can be reviewed for verification of learning?
For ideas about what results to design into your plan, see Samples of Learner’s Results as Means to Verify Learning. Now you’re ready to write down your evidence of learning in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

8. Who will verify that each of your learning objectives were reached?
Ideally, your learning is evaluated by someone who has strong expertise in the areas of knowledge and skills required to achieve your training goals. Now you’re ready to write down your evaluator in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

9.. Now that you know what activities that will be conducted, think again about any costs that will be needed, e.g., for materials, facilities, etc.
You may want to update the “Budget” section in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

10. How will you handle any ongoing time and stress management issues while implementing your plan?
Professional development inherently includes the need for self-development, as well. Therefore, you might consider information in the sections
Stress Management | Time Management | Work-Life Balance | Self-Confidence | Emotional Intelligence | Maintaining a Positive Attitude


Developing Any Materials You May Need
The goal of this phase of your planning is to obtain or develop any resources you need to conduct the activities you selected in the previous phase of the plan.

1. You may want to review information in the section
Developing Training Materials (developing facilities, documents, graphics, etc.)

2. Consider if you need to obtain, or start:
Enrolling in courses, buying books, scheduling time with experts, getting a mentor, scheduling time with your supervisor, etc.

3. Now that you’ve thought more closely about learning methods and associated materials, think again about any costs that will be needed, e.g., for materials, facilities, etc.
You may want to update the “Budget” section in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

4. Should any of your planned learning methods be pretested?
Should you have anyone else use the methods and share their impressions about the methods with you? Have you briefly reviewed the methods, e.g., documentation, overheads, etc? Did you experience any difficulties understanding the methods?


Planning Implementation of Your Training Plan
The goal of this phase of your planning is to ensure there are no surprises during the implementation phase of your training.

1. You may want to review information in the following section
Implementation – Conducting or Experiencing the Training

2. During your training, how will you be sure that you understand the new information and materials?
Periodically conduct a short test, e.g., everyone once in a while, try recall the main points of what you have just learned, test yourself, etc. If you are confused, tell your trainer now.

3. Will your learning be engaging and enjoyable?

4. Are you sure that you’ll receive the necessary ongoing feedback, coaching, mentoring, etc., during your training and development activities?
Consider information in the sections
Sharing Feedback | Coaching | Mentoring | Motivating Employees | Counseling | Sustaining Morale |

5. Where will you get necessary administrative support and materials?

6. During implementation, if any changes should be made to your plan, how will they be tracked? How will the plan be redesigned? How will it be communicated and to the right people?


Planning Quality Control and Evaluation of Your Training Plan and Experiences
The goal of this phase of your planning is to ensure your plan will indeed meet your training goals in a realistic and efficient fashion.

1. You may want to review information in the section:
Evaluating Training Process and Results

2. Who’s in charge of implementing and tracking your overall plan?
How will you know if the plan is on track or needs to be changed?

3. Consider having a local training expert review the plan.
The expert can review, in particular, whether
– your training goals will provide the results desired by you (and your organization, if applicable),
– learning objectives are specific and aligned with your overall training goals,
– the best methods are selected for reaching your learning objectives, and
– your approach to evaluation is valid and practical.
You may want to update the “Budget” section in the Framework to Design Your Training Plan.

4. Are approaches to evaluation included in all phases of your plan?
For example, are your methods being pretested before being applied? Do you understand the methods as they’re being applied? Are regularly providing feedback about how well you understand the materials? How will the you (and your supervisor, if applicable) know if implementation of the plan achieves the training goals identified in the plan? Are there any plans for follow-up evaluation, including assessing your results several months after you completed your plan?


Follow-Up After Completion of Your Plan
This is often the part of the plan that gets neglected. In our society, we’re often so focused on identifying the next problem to solve, that few of us have the ability to acknowledge successful accomplishments and then celebrate. The design and of this plan has probably been a very enlightening experience for you — an experience that brought a perspective on learning you can apply in a great many other arenas of your life. Congratulations!

1. Are follow-up evaluation methods being carried out?

2. Did you (and your supervisor, if applicable) complete a successful experience to develop and implement a training and development plan? Is this accomplishment being fully recognized?
Consider information in the section
Reward Systems


 

Used by The Management Assistance Program for Nonprofits
2233 University Avenue West, Suite 360
St. Paul, Minnesota 55114 (651) 647-1216

Basic Guidelines for Successful Planning Process

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Written by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD | Applies to nonprofits and for-profits unless noted

One of the most common sets of activities in the management is planning. Very simply put, planning is setting the direction for something — some system — and then guiding the system to follow the direction. There are many kinds of planning in organizations. Common to these many kinds of planning are various phases of planning and guidelines for carrying them out as effectively as possible. Information in this document can be referenced as a basis from which to carry out various kinds of planning, ranging from highly complex to simple and basic. (The library topic Planning describes a wide variety of plans.) To help make the following information applicable to as many situations as possible, the scope of the following planning information is to the “system”, which is fully explained below. The following process should be customized by planners to the meet the needs and nature of the planners and their organizations.

Categories of information include
Context of Planning
Putting Planning in its Larger Context (Working Backwards Through Any “System”)
Quick Look at Some Basic Terms in Planning

Typical Overall Phases in Planning
Basic Overview of Typical Phases in Planning

Guidelines for Successful Planning and Implementation
Involve the Right People in the Planning Process
Write Down the Planning Information and Communicate it Widely
Goals and Objectives Should Be SMARTER
Build in Accountability (Regularly Review Who’s Doing What and By When?)
Note Deviations from the Plan and Replan Accordingly
Evaluate the Planning Process and the Plan
Realize that the Recurring Planning Process is at Least as Important as the Plan Document
Ensure the Nature of the Process is Compatible to the Nature of Planners
A Critical — But Frequently Missing Step — Acknowledgement and Celebration of Results

Closely Related Topics
Decision Making
Problem Solving

General Resources
Various Other Perspectives
Related Library Links
On-Line Discussion Groups
Planning in its Larger Context Working Backwards Through Any “System”
Before we jump into the typical phases in the standard “generic” planning process, let’s stand back and minute and briefly look at the role of planning in its overall context. This is more than an academic exercise — understanding this overall context for planning can greatly help the reader to design and carry out the planning process in almost planning application.

One of the most common sets of activities in the management is planning. Very simply put, planning is setting the direction for something — some system — and then working to ensure the system follows that direction. Systems have inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes. To explain, inputs to the system include resources such as raw materials, money, technologies and people. These inputs go through a process where they’re aligned, moved along and carefully coordinated, ultimately to achieve the goals set for the system. Outputs are tangible results produced by processes in the system, such as products or services for consumers. Another kind of result is outcomes, or benefits for consumers, e.g., jobs for workers, enhanced quality of life for customers, etc. Systems can be the entire organization, or its departments, groups, processes, etc. (For an overview of various systems in organizations, see Basic Definition of Organization and Various Ways to Look at Organizations.)

Whether the system is an organization, department, business, project, etc., the process of planning includes planners working backwards through the system. They start from the results (outcomes and outputs) they prefer and work backwards through the system to identify the processes needed to produce the results. Then they identify what inputs (or resources) are needed to carry out the processes.

Quick Look at Some Basic Terms
Planning typically includes use of the following basic terms.

NOTE: It’s not critical to grasp completely accurate definitions of each of the following terms. It’s more important for planners to have a basic sense for the difference between goals/objectives (results) and strategies/tasks (methods to achieve the results).

Goals
Goals are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in some combination, in order to achieve some larger, overall result preferred from the system, for example, the mission of an organization. (Going back to our reference to systems, goals are outputs from the system.)

Strategies or Activities
These are the methods or processes required in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals. (Going back to our reference to systems, strategies are processes in the system.)

Objectives
Objectives are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals in the plan. Objectives are usually “milestones” along the way when implementing the strategies.

Tasks
Particularly in small organizations, people are assigned various tasks required to implement the plan. If the scope of the plan is very small, tasks and activities are often essentially the same.

Resources (and Budgets)
Resources include the people, materials, technologies, money, etc., required to implement the strategies or processes. The costs of these resources are often depicted in the form of a budget. (Going back to our reference to systems, resources are input to the system.)

Basic Overview of Typical Phases in Planning
Whether the system is an organization, department, business, project, etc., the basic planning process typically includes similar nature of activities carried out in similar sequence. The phases are carried out carefully or — in some cases — intuitively, for example, when planning a very small, straightforward effort. The complexity of the various phases (and their duplication throughout the system) depend on the scope of the system. For example, in a large corporation, the following phases would be carried out in the corporate offices, in each division, in each department, in each group, etc.

NOTE: Different groups of planners might have different names for the following activities and groups them differently. However, the nature of the activities and their general sequence remains the same.

NOTE: The following are typical phases in planning. They do not comprise the complete, ideal planning process.

1. Reference Overall Singular Purpose (“Mission”) or Desired Result from System
During planning, planners have in mind (consciously or unconsciously) some overall purpose or result that the plan is to achieve. For example, during strategic planning, it’s critical to reference the mission, or overall purpose, of the organization.

2. Take Stock Outside and Inside the System
This “taking stock” is always done to some extent, whether consciously or unconsciously. For example, during strategic planning, it’s important to conduct an environmental scan. This scan usually involves considering various driving forces, or major influences, that might effect the organization.

3. Analyze the Situation
For example, during strategic planning, planners often conduct a “SWOT analysis”. (SWOT is an acronym for considering the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats faced by the organization.) During this analysis, planners also can use a variety of assessments, or methods to “measure” the health of systems.

4. Establish Goals
Based on the analysis and alignment to the overall mission of the system, planners establish a set of goals that build on strengths to take advantage of opportunities, while building up weaknesses and warding off threats.

5. Establish Strategies to Reach Goals
The particular strategies (or methods to reach the goals) chosen depend on matters of affordability, practicality and efficiency.

6. Establish Objectives Along the Way to Achieving Goals
Objectives are selected to be timely and indicative of progress toward goals.

7. Associate Responsibilities and Time Lines With Each Objective
Responsibilities are assigned, including for implementation of the plan, and for achieving various goals and objectives. Ideally, deadlines are set for meeting each responsibility.

8. Write and Communicate a Plan Document
The above information is organized and written in a document which is distributed around the system.

9. Acknowledge Completion and Celebrate Success
This critical step is often ignored — which can eventually undermine the success of many of your future planning efforts. The purpose of a plan is to address a current problem or pursue a development goal. It seems simplistic to assert that you should acknowledge if the problem was solved or the goal met. However, this step in the planning process is often ignored in lieu of moving on the next problem to solve or goal to pursue. Skipping this step can cultivate apathy and skepticism — even cynicism — in your organization. Don’t skip this step.

Guidelines to Ensure Successful Planning and Implementation
A common failure in many kinds of planning is that the plan is never really implemented. Instead, all focus is on writing a plan document. Too often, the plan sits collecting dust on a shelf. Therefore, most of the following guidelines help to ensure that the planning process is carried out completely and is implemented completely — or, deviations from the intended plan are recognized and managed accordingly.

Involve the Right People in the Planning Process
Going back to the reference to systems, it’s critical that all parts of the system continue to exchange feedback in order to function effectively. This is true no matter what type of system. When planning, get input from everyone who will responsible to carry out parts of the plan, along with representative from groups who will be effected by the plan. Of course, people also should be involved in they will be responsible to review and authorize the plan.

Write Down the Planning Information and Communicate it Widely
New managers, in particular, often forget that others don’t know what these managers know. Even if managers do communicate their intentions and plans verbally, chances are great that others won’t completely hear or understand what the manager wants done. Also, as plans change, it’s extremely difficult to remember who is supposed to be doing what and according to which version of the plan. Key stakeholders (employees, management, board members, funders, investor, customers, clients, etc.) may request copies of various types of plans. Therefore, it’s critical to write plans down and communicate them widely. For more guidelines in this regard, see
Basics of Writing and Communicating the Plan

Goals and Objectives Should Be SMARTER
SMARTER is an acronym, that is, a word composed by joining letters from different words in a phrase or set of words. In this case, a SMARTER goal or objective is:

Specific:
For example, it’s difficult to know what someone should be doing if they are to pursue the goal to “work harder”. It’s easier to recognize “Write a paper”.

Measurable:
It’s difficult to know what the scope of “Writing a paper” really is. It’s easier to appreciate that effort if the goal is “Write a 30-page paper”.

Acceptable:
If I’m to take responsibility for pursuit of a goal, the goal should be acceptable to me. For example, I’m not likely to follow the directions of someone telling me to write a 30-page paper when I also have to five other papers to write. However, if you involve me in setting the goal so I can change my other commitments or modify the goal, I’m much more likely to accept pursuit of the goal as well.

Realistic:
Even if I do accept responsibility to pursue a goal that is specific and measurable, the goal won’t be useful to me or others if, for example, the goal is to “Write a 30-page paper in the next 10 seconds”.

Time frame:
It may mean more to others if I commit to a realistic goal to “Write a 30-page paper in one week”. However, it’ll mean more to others (particularly if they are planning to help me or guide me to reach the goal) if I specify that I will write one page a day for 30 days, rather than including the possibility that I will write all 30 pages in last day of the 30-day period.

Extending:
The goal should stretch the performer’s capabilities. For example, I might be more interested in writing a 30-page paper if the topic of the paper or the way that I write it will extend my capabilities.

Rewarding:
I’m more inclined to write the paper if the paper will contribute to an effort in such a way that I might be rewarded for my effort.

Build in Accountability (Regularly Review Who’s Doing What and By When?)
Plans should specify who is responsible for achieving each result, including goals and objectives. Dates should be set for completion of each result, as well. Responsible parties should regularly review status of the plan. Be sure to have someone of authority “sign off” on the plan, including putting their signature on the plan to indicate they agree with and support its contents. Include responsibilities in policies, procedures, job descriptions, performance review processes, etc.

Note Deviations from the Plan and Replan Accordingly
It’s OK to deviate from the plan. The plan is not a set of rules. It’s an overall guideline. As important as following the plan is noticing deviations and adjusting the plan accordingly.

Evaluate Planning Process and the Plan
During the planning process, regularly collect feedback from participants. Do they agree with the planning process? If not, what don’t they like and how could it be done better? In large, ongoing planning processes (such as strategic planning, business planning, project planning, etc.), it’s critical to collect this kind of feedback regularly.

During regular reviews of implementation of the plan, assess if goals are being achieved or not. If not, were goals realistic? Do responsible parties have the resources necessary to achieve the goals and objectives? Should goals be changed? Should more priority be placed on achieving the goals? What needs to be done?

Finally, take 10 minutes to write down how the planning process could have been done better. File it away and read it the next time you conduct the planning process.

Recurring Planning Process is at Least as Important as Plan Document
Far too often, primary emphasis is placed on the plan document. This is extremely unfortunate because the real treasure of planning is the planning process itself. During planning, panners learn a great deal from ongoing analysis, reflection, discussion, debates and dialogue around issues and goals in the system. Perhaps there is no better example of misplaced priorities in planning than in business ethics. Far too often, people put emphasis on written codes of ethics and codes of conduct. While these documents certainly are important, at least as important is conducting ongoing communications around these documents. The ongoing communications are what sensitize people to understanding and following the values and behaviors suggested in the codes.

Nature of the Process Should Be Compatible to Nature of Planners
A prominent example of this type of potential problem is when planners don’t prefer the “top down” or “bottom up”, “linear” type of planning (for example, going from general to specific along the process of an environmental scan, SWOT analysis, mission/vision/values, issues and goals, strategies, objectives, timelines, etc.) There are other ways to conduct planning. For an overview of various methods, see (in the following, the models are applied to the strategic planning process, but generally are eligible for use elsewhere):
Basic Overview of Various Planning Models

Critical — But Frequently Missing Step — Acknowledgement and Celebration of Results
It’s easy for planners to become tired and even cynical about the planning process. One of the reasons for this problem is very likely that far too often, emphasis is placed on achieving the results. Once the desired results are achieved, new ones are quickly established. The process can seem like having to solve one problem after another, with no real end in sight. Yet when one really thinks about it, it’s a major accomplishment to carefully analyze a situation, involve others in a plan to do something about it, work together to carry out the plan and actually see some results. So acknowledge this — celebrate your accomplishment!

 

Various Other Perspectives
Big Dog on Planning

Pitfalls of Planning

 

Used by The Management Assistance Program for Nonprofits
2233 University Avenue West, Suite 360
St. Paul, Minnesota 55114 (651) 647-1216

Time Management Strategies

Posted on Updated on

Time Management and Organizational Skills
Middlesex Community College

Divide assignments into smaller manageable sub tasks
• distributed learning—work out over several study sessions
• affords student sense of control over work
• provides student with sense of accomplishment

Keep a master calendar for semester
• use large wall-size calendar—list all fixed commitments i.e., job, home responsibilities, class schedule, etc.
• using course syllabi, list all projects, papers, exams for semester for each course

Create weekly schedules
• determine hour-by-hour schedule for the week
• keep in mind 1 1/2–2 hours of study for each hour of class
• highlight exam, papers, etc. due each week
• each day look at weekly calendar and formulate a prioritized “to-do” list
• establish priorities and set time accordingly

Set aside a study space
• find a quiet, comfortable place where there are few distractions
• keep the “tools of your trade” at hand—i.e., pencils, paper, dictionary
• determine your span of concentration: for example: a student with a focused concentration span of 30 minutes should study for 1/2 hour and take a 3-5 minute break; before returning to work, take a 1-2 minute mental review of what was studied
• before beginning next unit of study, quickly preview material
• begin concentrated study for 30 minutes

Know high and low energy time
• use high energy times to study more difficult subjects

Long-range project planning
• count backwards from the due date and estimate time needed for each phase of the project
• always allow more time than is actually needed

Unscheduled time
• use it for rewriting notes
• summarizing lectures
• making up study sheets or flash cards

Go to: Time Management Source Page / Classroom Strategies / Learning Strategies Page
/ Organizational Tips / CLC Home Page

Middlesex Community College
100 Training Hill Rd.   Middletown, CT 06457

Time Management and Organizational Skills

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Middlesex Community College

Do you have difficulty keeping up with assignments? Is your calendar too crowded? Are you finding it difficult to juggle home, work and school responsibilities? If your answer to any of these questions is YES, then you could benefit from some time management and organizational strategies.

Efficient use of time puts you in control of yourself. Once you assume responsibility for your success, you can make time work more effectively for you. When you learn to manage time, organizational skills follow. Once you determine the length of time needed to complete certain tasks, the way in which you fit them into your schedule, anxiety and stress are reduced. Good time management requires that you set goals and make plans for reaching those goals and objectives.

Formulate a schedule that contains some degree of flexibility to account for emergencies, disruptions, etc. Be sure to set aside some time each day to reflect on your vision as well as your long and short term goals. The strategies provided in these linked time management pages will help you to be a better personal time manager.

Time Management Strategies / Organizational Tips / Classroom Strategies

If you would like more information or clarification regarding the material presented herein, please
contact Diane von Hardenberg, Learning Specialist by, e-mail at mx_diane@commnet.edu, by phone at
(860) 343-5879, or by stopping by the Career Development and Counseling Center in Room 406,
Snow Hall at MxCC.

Return to: Learning Strategies Page / Academic Resources Page / CLC Home Page

Middlesex Community College
100 Training Hill Rd.   Middletown, CT 06457

20 Ways to Kill An Organization

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1 Don’t attend meetings, but if you do, arrive late.
2 Be sure to leave before the meeting is finished.
3 Never have anything to say at meetings. Wait until you leave.
4 When at meetings, vote to do everything. Then go home and do nothing.
5 The next day after the meeting, find fault with the officers.
6 Take no part in the organization’s affairs.
7 Be sure to sit in the back row so that you can talk it over with your neighbor.
8 Get all the organization can give you, but don’t give the organization anything.
9 Never invite a prospective new member.
10 Talk cooperation, but never cooperate.
11 At every opportunity threaten to resign, and try to get others to resign.
12 If asked to help, always say you don’t have time.
13 Never read anything that pertains to the organization. You may become too enlightened.
14 Never accept an office. It’s easier to criticize than to act.
15 If appointed to a committee, never give any time or service.
16 Don’t do any more than you have to, and when others willingly and unselfishly use their abilities to help the cause along, gripe because the organization is run by a clique.
17 Always take sides in misunderstandings between members, and be for the one with whom you talked last.
18 While presiding at meetings, express your own opinion before presenting the club business to the members for a vote.
19 Repeat all the unpleasant things about your club to everyone.
20 Always criticize your leader whenever the opportunity arises.

Don’t Be A Killer — Actively and Effectively Participate