The 6 P’s

What are the 6 P’s you ask?   It stands for: Prior Planning Prevents P**s Poor Performance!

I first came across this expression when undertaking officer management training in the Royal Australian Navy.  It has stuck with me ever since and has served as a reminder and contributor to success, both in life and career development.

Why is planning important?  Because it is the first and most important function of management at all levels. In the absence of planning all the business activities of an organisation will become meaningless and chaos rules. The importance of planning is increasingly relevant in today’s world of globalisation, complexity and uncertainty. Both as an organisation and individual.

The following highlights the advantages of planning and its importance for individuals and any organisation:


Under the process of planning the objectives of the organisation are defined in simple and clear words. The obvious outcome of this is that all the employees should understand that direction and their efforts are then focused towards an outcome. As such, planning has an important role in the attainment of the objectives of the organisation which are then aligned to personal planning.


Planning is about the future and the future is uncertain. With the help of planning possible changes in the future are anticipated and various activities and scenarios are planned in the best possible way. In this way, the risk of future uncertainties can be minimised.


Under planning, future activities are designed to achieve objectives. Consequently, the problems of when, where, what and why are decided. This puts an end to disorder and uncertainty. In such a situation, coordination is established among different activities and departments and removes any overlapping and wasteful activities.


Planning selects the best alternative out of the many available options. All these alternatives do not come on their own, but they must be discovered. While making such an effort of discovery, many new ideas emerge evaluated to determine the best way forward.

Decision Making:

Planning sets the target for decision making. It also lays down the criteria for evaluating courses of action. In this way, planning facilitates decision making.


By determining the objectives of the organisation through planning, everyone working in the organisation are informed about ‘when’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ to do things.  Standards are laid down about their work, time and cost, etc. Under controlling, at the time of completing the work, the actual work done is compared with the standard work and deviations are found and if the work has not been done as desired the person(s) concerned can be held responsible.

For individuals, being competent at planning will provide you with an improved sense of direction.  As you develop your career, planning and prioritisation becomes easier. You are clearer on your objectives and you can quickly identify which task(s) will give you the best result with the resources available to you at that moment. Improved focus and effectiveness when it comes to planning will allow you to play to your strengths.

It’s Your Life.  It’s Your Career. You Own It.

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