One important managerial function is organizational planning. A manager is in a useful position as a planner because, often, the manager is involved in actually implementing and overseeing the plan. Therefore, managers can and should be involved in organizational planning at every level.
Developing a long-range plan for a company is usually accomplished in steps. Rationally, though not always in practice, these steps go from the most general to the most specific. In general terms, a planning team begins with overall goals. These are statements of the final purposes of the organization. These are accompanied next by strategies, usually detailed, that lay out how these goals are to be accomplished. Finally, there are the allocations of available resources and the processes that must be accomplished to approach the goals.
Objectives are more specific versions of goals. A goal is a broad category. An objective is a narrow, specific and quantitative category. A goal for a cosmetics firm might be “to capture the Latin American market.” An objective for them, based on this, might be “to implement a strategy that would capture at least 40 percent of the Bogota market for our product within two years.” The latter is a measurable goal that managers can be held accountable to and for. The managerial staff is an integral part of this planning because, especially in strategy, the manager is heading the main office that is carrying out the plan and objective in order to reach the goal.
Managers might not be planners intrinsically, but if a plan involves a detailed strategy, then planning involves management. Management, from the point of view of the planning team, is that set of offices that oversee the actual function of the plan and the achievement of specific objectives. For example, a British cosmetics firm wants to capture much of the Latin American market. A strategy is developed that involves hiring a group of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking managers that will implement a mass advertising blitz in the major cities of the region. The capturing of the Latin American market cannot proceed past the theoretical level unless these managers are trained and exposed to the basic and specific elements of the plan.
A manager, in the planning of a firm's expansion, is the overseer of the plan when it is placed into action. What this means in real terms is that the assets of the firm that are used in the plan are placed in the safekeeping of managers. Assets include cash money, staff, advertising, retail sales and transport. The connection between management functions and planning are the constant interplay between asset value and achieving the most basic objectives. Achieving the objective of capturing “40 percent of the Bogota market in two years” is really about using as little of the firm's assets as possible in accomplishing this. The money that flows from capturing 40 percent of the market is only meaningful when it is contrasted to the amount of money spent on achieving it. This nexus is what connects management function to planning.