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Planning in Contemporary Business 

In the fast-paced corporate scenario, it is easy to lose sight of the finish line while or during planning, dealing with contemporary issues and addressing them at optimal speed without damaging the entire process is tantamount to organizational success. Managers of today need to react quickly and aggressively in order to stay on top of the business tides. With the dynamic structure of modern organizations and huge competition across the world, adjusting to short-term changes can be the key to success in the long run. Short term change may seem inconsequential in hindsight, but ignoring enough amount of concrete evidence can cause them to backfire, effectively torpedoing the plan and mollifying the efficiency. Here in this module, you will learn about how manage the rise and fall in business tides, how to plan ahead of events, and anticipate future actions by various observational tools.

Handling dynamic environments

Ever since the industrial revolution, corporations and conglomerates have steadily grown in numbers and influence, gaining capital control on the modern market. Even now, business is constantly evolving with technological advances. Innovative strategies like cloud storage, social network marketing is transforming global economy, which Asian countries rising to the forefront gradually with their huge populations and cheaper manpower.

Probably the greatest example of effecting dynamic management is documented by Wipro Limited, which started as a small scale computer vendor to a bustling global conglomerate. The secret to their success lies in their flatter hierarchy and management by objective, which effectively helps them to tackle any kind of incoming changes in the global market. Their employees are competent and efficiently skilled in a multitude of abilities, allowing them to stay on top of the tide regardless of the market trends. How did they achieve such a seemingly impossible feat? The answer lies in resourceful planning and innovative, participatory work space environment.

So how can you plan well in such a dynamic scene? Fluidity is part of an organization now, and almost environments and problems encountered are dynamic in nature. Uncertainty plays a pivotal role in such cases, as managers have to keep in mind various criteria that help them navigate easily.

  • The plans should be specific to current conditions, but flexible enough for accommodation for future changes. Make sure to take future uncertainties into account and make necessary anticipatory redundancies in case it happens.
  • Quick and alert response is needed for maximum effectiveness against a changing environment. Environmental scanning provides crucial data about the changing consumer market scenarios, and it is necessary to stay on top of market demand to ensure efficient performance.
  • Delegation is very important. Since the market is continually changing, traditional style of planning can put a lot of pressure of the top management. The lower levels of management should be allowed to create and set their own objective based on the market conditions, subject to supervision. Allow your subordinates to set their own goals, and it will free you up to take the bigger decisions and also evaluate the performance of your work group.
  • Have faith in your subordinates’ abilities. Teach your employees to set their own goals and follow them without much supervision and maximum possible efficiency. Look for specific aptitudes of the employees and allow them to venture on their own, making decisions and earning their bones.
  • A formal planning department is necessary to keep track of the changes happening in the outside world, whose members should be skilled enough to analyze the problem themselves and come up with suitable plans. Formal planners keep track of market statistics, product information, opposition research etc. to ensure better preparatory measure in case of a sudden change.
  • Regular feedback from front line and retail employees are necessary to check on the changing public opinion and product preferences. Front line worker are the in the best position to conduct surveys and find out the general perception of the public towards the product you are peddling.

Environmental scanning: what is it and how to use it?

A manager can analyze the data available to him and find patterns in customer behavior. In the modern era, the perception of the customer is constantly in flux and it is important to know the consumer’s thinking in order to make the product more palatable. For this, regular information has to be obtained from employees that have a direct line of communication with the paying customers. Most managers get better as they encounter more and more problems with time.The skill level of a decision maker will only increase with his amount of exposure to handling real life problems, quick judgments and unprecedented solutions to unconventional problems.

In order to stay on top of the corporate food chain, environmental scanning is a convivial tool for the modern manager. A manager can delve in the consumer strata and make changes to fit into their idea of a better product. Or, he can gather up information on competing brands to anticipate their moves and strike first, instead of reacting hastily every time. Information is power in contemporary business and most companies will do anything to make some hefty profit.

Unfortunately this method is illegal and falls into grey are of business ethics. Gathering intelligence about a competitor is necessary to keep track of their decision and plans, and make anticipatory decisions instead on reactionary ones. But in their zest to succeed in the business world, some managers cross the line and obtain information illegally, like patented trade secrets, new classified project, corporate espionage etc.

Competitor intelligence is not to be confused with corporate espionage. It is a way of accessing and collecting data about a competitor from sources that are part of public record. Basic information includes the thinking style, style of approaching planning, goal setting styles of the manager of the competing company etc. Annual reports, promotions, advertisements, internet info are some of the crucial strategic information needed for competitor intelligence. Many organizations buy their competitor’s product in order to evaluate and compare them to their own products. Information is also available on buy able databases, trade shows, and sales staffs. Many competitors maintain a professional rivalry which helps them track each other’s moves and anticipate what the other one might be thinking.

The Economic Espionage Act of USA states that it is illegal to enter a company under false pretenses and to steal classified trade secrets. Gathering competitive intelligence is considered to be a grey area, both legally and ethically. Many managers, in their zest, commit corporate espionage which can be very troublesome. Stealing trade secrets is illegal and hence, there is a fine line between legally obtaining pertinent information and nabbing them through unlawful means. Although no one would agree to this, managers tend to emphasize on legal but unethical situations to gather information, bending and stretching the law to gain that vital edge over the other parties involved. Any kind of unlawful possession of trade secrets of organizationally vital information can lead to heavy penalties and incarceration.