7 perspectives on why planning in the workplace matters — a lot

Mar 22, 2017 · 4 min read

Planning is often overlooked and undervalued in workplaces. Yet, having a good plan — whether it’s a five-year plan or a project plan — is key to driving business growth and success.

“The medium term is where companies are shaped — where they really achieve results and growth.”

In the seven articles listed below, experts ranging from Harvard Business Review researchers to Silicon Valley startup founders weigh in on the importance of planning — and strategies for creating effective planning processes for your team or company.

1. A 4-step guide to planning for diversity and inclusion

From Wavelength

Building a diverse and inclusive company doesn’t happen overnight — it requires planning. To help, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Asana, Sonja Gittens-Ottley, lays out four critical things to consider when creating a plan for achieving D&I in your company.

From surveying your employees in order to uncover gaps, to defining clear steps for execution, this four-step guide covers the most essential areas of creating a plan for diversity and inclusion.

2. All Hail Medium-Term Planning

From Harvard Business Review

The short term is the daily managerial grind of fire-fighting and solving problems. The long term is a dream,” say authors Dominic Houlder and Nandu Nandkishore. But where is the in-between? When do businesses focus on the next nine months or one year?

In this Harvard Business Review article, Houlder and Nandkishore argue that “medium-term planning” is all too often forgotten — and companies lose out on opportunities as a result. Drawing from the examples of Ford, Lego, and IBM, who all leveraged medium-term planning effectively, they demonstrate the power of planning for a cadence longer than a quarter, but shorter than the infinite future.

“The medium term is where companies are shaped — where they really achieve results and growth.” Learn why.

3. Planning a modern newsroom: prioritization lessons from The Information

From Wavelength

Jessica Lessin, founder of news startup, The Information, brings an editorial perspective to the conversation of planning in the workplace.

In this piece, she seeks to answer the question “how do you decide what stories go into your publication?” by discussing the criteria her team uses to prioritize article pitches. Learn more about how The Information mastered the art (and logic) of editorial planning for a digital newsroom.

4. Strategy or Execution: Which Is More Important?

From Strategy+business

Spoiler alert: It’s a trick question. “You need a good strategy to have good execution,” says author Ken Favaro in this thoughtful discussion about why companies shouldn’t prioritize one over the other.

Using examples from the airline, banking, and auto industries, he demonstrates that clear and competitive strategies are both necessary for executing great work and the key to advancing beyond competitors.

Any seasoned strategist knows that strategy is not just sloganeering. It is the series of choices you make on where to play and how to win to maximize long-term value. Execution is producing results in the context of those choices. Therefore, you cannot have good execution without having good strategy.”

5. How Roadmap Week helps us turn big ideas into reality

From Wavelength

For Asana co-founder, Justin Rosenstein, the planning process is just as critical as the execution process. To ensure that all teams take time to create meaningful, structured work plans, Asana hosts a company-wide “Roadmap Week” to set plans for the upcoming few months.

In this article, Rosenstein discusses what Roadmap Week is and the ways Asana has benefited from having a regular period of time set aside for planning.

6. How Google sets goals: OKRs

From GV Library

Former product manager at Blogger and Youtube, Rick Klau, details how Google thinks about Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) in his hour-long talk on the topic.

In this video, he stresses that objectives should be ambitious, key results should be measurable, and OKRs should be public to the company. Further, he clarifies that OKRs are not synonymous with employee performance and, in fact, 100% success might mean the objective isn’t ambitious enough.

7. When “gut feelings” aren’t enough: using data to plan your product roadmap

From Wavelength

Using her startup, Front App, as an example, Mathilde Collin outlines how to use data-driven planning to shape your product roadmap and business.

To start, Mathilde advises businesses to “plan for planning” then define their success metrics. She also shares a few examples of potential metrics by which businesses can measure success.

Finally, she warns against using data as a cure-all — some calls are best made with good old fashioned judgement.

For more articles, stories, and advice on leadership and teamwork, visit Wavelength, a publication by Asana.


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Move work forward. // https://asana.com


A publication for teams who aspire to do great things together.

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