This is the twelfth installment in our 25 week series exploring the 25 competencies, or soft skills, that our assessments measure. Each week we’ll give you the definition of that competency, explain its value, and give you tips to help you develop it. This week: Planning and Organizing.
When you consider Planning and Organizing, you might think it’s just about organizing and maintaining a neat filing system, but it’s actually much more than that. It’s the ability to establish a course of action to ensure that work gets done efficiently and effectively. It’s going beyond merely being well organized physically to also being well organized in how you approach and accomplish work.
Those who are skilled in Planning and Organizing know how to plan their work and work their plan. They take the time to break projects down so they know what to expect at each stage and what resources they will need — and when. They anticipate problems that may arise and have a plan of attack in case they do. They are expert delegators who know which team members are best suited for which tasks, and they are great at keeping projects on task.
Planning and Organizing is an especially useful skill to have in small business, where most projects touch several departments at least once, and there are often quite a few projects happening concurrently. The skilled planner and organizer will know how much time to allow for each portion of the project by taking everybody’s workload into account. They will create a plan with deadlines that allow for slowdowns and speed bumps. By taking the time to be more intentional about how they go about a project, they greatly increase the odds of finishing on time and under budget.
If you’d like to improve your Planning and Organizing skills, you can start by creating a timeline for your next project. First, you’ll need to break the project down into steps or stages, then put real thought into how long you think each one will take. Consider who you’ll need to help with each stage and what resources will be required. Can you move forward alone or will you need approval at certain stages? Answering these questions will give you a better handle on how long the project will actually take. As each part of the project wraps up, analyze your initial timeline. How close was your original guess? Was there a certain step that took longer than expected? Or less time? Was it a fluke, or should it be considered normal? Use this knowledge to better inform your next project timeline.
If you would like to learn more ways to improve your Planning & Organizing skills, download our Planning & Organizing Rx Suite here.