Management is the process of working with people and resources to accomplish organizational goals both effectively and efficiently. There are four functions of management which include planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Planning is a very important part of the functions of management. Planning is the process of setting goals, developing strategies, and outlining tasks and schedules to accomplish goals. When a manager is planning they are looking ahead and chalking out their future actions.  It is a systematic activity which determines when, how and who is going to perform a specific job (Planning Functions of Management, 2009).  Long-range planning and strategic planning is basically the same thing. They both evaluate where the company is at the present time and also where it hopes to be in the future. The main difference between them is that long-range planning pertains to goals that are expected to be met with in about five or more years.

The planning function is one of the four functions of management that can be broken down in steps. The first step in the planning function of management is establishment of objectives because it requires a systematic approach. When in the planning process, you have to start with goals and objectives to achieve because they provide a rationale for undertaking various activities and create direction. Each goal or objective must be clear as well as practical, acceptable, workable, and achievable within the company. The second step in the planning function of management is establishment of planning premises or the predictions of the lively shape of future events. This is an important step because it is a basis of planning and also because the manager can figure out what obstacles lay ahead so steps can be made to avoid these obstacles at all cost. The next step in the planning function of management is the choice of alternative course of action. Now that future obstacles are apparent, alternative courses can be made. All pros and cons should be evaluated in each plan of action so that they can be evaluated properly and the best alternative can be chosen. The fourth step in the planning function of management is the formulation of derivative plans which are sub plans or secondary plans which help in the achievement of the main goal. These secondary plans should follow and support the main goal. These detail plans include policies, procedures, rules, programmers, budgets, schedules, etc (Planning Functions of Management, 2009). The fifth step in the planning function of management is securing co-operation. After the plans have been determined they must be taken into confidence. This is because some subordinates might feel motivated because they were involved in this decision making process, employees will be more interested in the execution of the plans, and the company may get valuable suggestions to improve the plans formulation and implementation. After all this, the last step in the planning function of management is the appraisal of plans or the follow up. This is when all the plans are put into action and appraise their effectiveness. Feedback is receive so the management can correct or modify the plan so that future plans can be made more realistic.

There are three main levels of management. The first one is the top-level managers or the senior management. They hold titles like Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operational Officer (COO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chairperson of the Board, President, Vice President, or Corporate Head. These top-level managers are professionals that make decisions that affect the company as a whole. Top managers do not direct the day-to-day activities of the firm; rather, they set goals for the organization and direct the company to achieve them (Simmering,). These managers are responsible for the performance of their company. Usually these top-level managers have many years of managerial experience or may have started the company and built it large enough to support several levels of management. An advanced degree can help a person seeking this position achieve their goal. The next level on management is middle-level management. These are the managers that are under the top-level managers and their job titles include General Manager, Plant Manager, Regional Manager, and Division Manager. These managers are responsible not only for carrying out the goals set by the top managers but they also have to set goals themselves for their own departments. Their job is to assist and motivate the employees they are responsible for in achieving the business objective. They are also responsible for communication all feedback and suggestions from upper management to lower management and vice versa. Middle managers can by employees that have been promoted from first-level managers and are planning on trying to work their way up to top-level manager in the future or they could be employees that were just hired from an outside firm. Responsibility and salary can vary within a middle management job. Depending on the size of the company and the number of middle-level managers in the firm, middle managers may supervise only a small group of employees, or they may manager very large groups, such as an entire business location (Simmering,). The last level of management is the first-level of management, also known as first-line managers or supervisors. They have job titles that include Office Manager, Shift Supervisor, Department Manager, Foreperson, Crew Leader, or Store Manager. These managers are responsible for the employees that actually produce the product or service and their daily activities. First-level management is in every organization and has a very strong influence on the company. They interact with the employees on a daily basis and if these managers have a bad attitude or perform poorly then the employees may begin to perform poorly or have a bad attitude. Most first-line managers did not have much education and were promoted to their job from line positions. However, many first-line managers are now graduates of trade school, or have a two-year associates or four-year bachelor’s degree from college (Simmering,). The planning function of management is an important part of every level of management. Top-level managers do a lot more planning than the other two levels of management along with organizing and controlling. The first-line management does more of the leading because they are directly over the employees that produce the product or service. It is necessary that all these management levels communicate efficiently though, because without communication and understanding of the company’s overall plan, trouble will arise. Each level of management must be integrated together as much as possible so that the company runs smoothly.

My family owns and run a few E-businesses that we have become very proud of. Just recently we have expanded our businesses from running it out of our home and moved it to a warehouse. In doing this, one of our employee’s is creating a new warehouse system so that it gives our company room to grow even more and also makes our employees daily jobs easier. This is an example of our senior management creating new strategic plans to help improve our business as a whole.

Planning is concerned with the future impact of today’s decisions (Erven,). The planning function of management helps businesses decide in advance what the appropriate action would be in certain situations.  Every business has different types of management and different planning process. But the basic steps in the planning process for each company are pretty much the same along with the levels of management. Senior management, middle management, and front-line management may have different planning managerial jobs but they all need to be integrated together so that the business runs smoothly.

References

Erven , B. L. (2010). Functions of Mangament . Retrieved March 31, from The Planning Function: http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~mgtexcel/planning.html.

Planning Function of Management. (2009). Retrieved March 30, from Management Study Guide: http://www.managementstudyguide.com/planning_function.htm.

Simmering, M. J. (2010). Management Levels. Retrieved March 31, from Reference for Business: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/log-mar/ management-levels.html.

Writer is a junior in college studying in the health care industry field. He already has one degree in Business and is studying for his second one in Business Administration. He is the co-owner of a Four Wheel Drive Lift Kits website that sells . He enjoys school and working on his site, but he does enjoy relaxing more.

 

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