Business People: Creating Organizational Plan

Six Steps to Creating a “Must-Have” Organizational Plan

Alan Melton

It is extremely important for business owners to have an organizational plan in place. It should delineate not only your organizational structure of departments, managers, and staff, but also the functions, tasks, and processes they regularly execute. Your organizational plan should flow from your strategic plan.

Why bother? Well … here’s what it can do for your business:

  • Clarifies the role and function of each staff member
  • Shows how staff is contributing to the goals of your business
  • Displays managerial and team relationships
  • Can reveal gaps, issues, and liabilities
  • Clarifies the when’s, how’s, and who’s in your processes
  • Makes it quick work to know who to turn to when there is a problem

Everyone working with you needs to be aware of this information.  Post it in a conspicuous place, whether it’s on a bulletin board or your internal website.

Importance of an Organizational Plan

A detailed organizational plan is crucial for every small business. Besides outlining all the tasks, functions, and goals for a department or area, it should also show the assigned responsible person . It is also helpful to have organizational structures that clearly show supervisory relationships as well as the power structures for accountability.

This plan is the best way to simply and distinctly communicate what everyone should be doing and how it relates to the business as a whole.

Creating Your Organizational Plan

If you don’t have an organizational plan, start one now.If you already have an organizational plan, then it’s a good time to verify and update all the necessary information on it.

Following are the steps for creating your own organizational plan.

  • Pick Your Team
  • Draw a Chart Showing Your Organizational Structure
  • Drive Out Goals & Objectives
  • List All Tasks and Functions
  • Review Current Business Processes
  • Compile Findings into Organizational Plan

#1: Drive Out Goals & Objectives

All organizational plans need to include what the business wants to accomplish and how to get there. Clearly state what you want your business to become – which drives out your goal/destination and the objectives/measurements for reaching it.

Common goals include:

  • internal stability> reducing staff turnover, promoting consistency
  • creativity> inspiring innovation, ingenuity, and improvements
  • uniformity> consistent delivery of goods and services; branding
  • security> protecting data of customers, vendors, and the business
  • quality control> focusing on excellence
  • accountability > identifying who’s responsible
  • integrity > transparency, honesty, fairness
  • rapid delivery of goods > improving turnaround
  • excellent customer service> exceeding expectations
  • efficiency > refinements that lead to optimum operations

#2: Pick Your Team

While you may prefer to do everything yourself, it is imperative to engage with others when creating the plan for their knowledge, ideas, and perspectives.

Look at your team and select your key players – that is those staff members:

  • who understand the current systems, processes, values, and goals
  • who can offer worthwhile suggestions for improvements
  • who can visualize and evaluate the effects that changes may have within the business (as changes typically occur during this process)

This team can be reconvened in the future to help with plan implementation.

Note that while most small business owners develop the organizational plan on their own, there may be time, staffing, or deadline constraints that make hiring an outside consultant a better choice.

#3: Review Current Business Processes

Write out each of your processes in detail. Look at what it does and how it does it. Then, list all the functions and tasks it performs as well as who does what.

ProcessWhat It DoesHow it Does itExecuted ByFunctions/Tasks
Paying an InvoicePays a Service Provider for Services or Products RenderedThrough Accounts Payable SystemMary JonesEnters billing information in A/P system, which generates & prints a check

This step can be extremely time-consuming and, therefore, is a reason why many small businesses hire a business consultant or business coach.

An often surprising result of this step is you will most likely realize there are differences in how the processes actually work versus how you thought they worked.

#4: List Tasks and Functions

Capture all the tasks and functions that your business is and should be performing. Include those things in your vision that you want the organization to do.

This process should drive out the gaps. You’ll see what is missing: perhaps where your company is lacking key pieces like documentation, training, or analysis. It can also reveal issues and vulnerabilities (ex. insufficient safety practices or improper workarounds).

#5: Draw Out Your Organizational Structure

Now would be a good time to draft an organizational structure chart. This is where you should include all the departments, roles, staff, and reporting structure.

#6: Compile Findings into Organizational Plan

The last step is to gather the collected information into one document.

Share the organizational plan with your entire staff. Might be a good opportunity for a “town hall” or all-staff meeting. Have you implemented an organizational plan in your business? If so what worked for you?