Creating the right roadmap: Planning Forum update February 2016




“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute implementing it”

An inspiring quote form Albert Einstein that we recently used during our problem solving methods webinar. The temptation too often is to rush into making changes or firefighting problems instead of defining the problem then creating the right roadmap to transport you to your desired future state. It can be too easy to try and fix what is perceived to be the problem without investigating the true source or root cause.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

A quote by Abraham Lincoln, again emphasising the importance of preparation before taking action. The importance of setting aside time to plan and the value it will add to the quality of the outcomes we seek to achieve. In our busy schedules that is not always easy but I would urge you to book time out specifically to consider how to define the problem you are looking to solve.

I’m certain we will have all heard the quote by Benjamin Franklin “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Due to our busy schedules it can be all too easy to end up in a cycle of firefighting and administrating and not learning and planning. As resource planning professionals we must take the time out to stop and review our current position before applying our learning to the next stage of the plan. By adding “Back stops” to our continuous learning cycle we will not slip back into old habits, or old plans, but gather momentum and improvements to reach new ground and new learning.

The 2016 challenge programme started in January, with phase one (of five) continuing into March, so there is still time to sign up and join. Unlike previous challenges we are inviting you to bring your “problem statement” along so as a community we can support the right change over the course of the year.

This month’s newsletter will provide more information on the challenges the first best practice week on engagement and how the Forum calendar of events can support your development this year.



Phil Anderson
Senior Customer Contact Specialist
Lead of The Professional Planning Forum
The Forum
01772 797 138

2016 Challenge Programme 

What is the critical issue your team needs to address during 2016? 

Utilise our year-long programme of activity, development and support to help you make the difference. 

You are not on your own. In order to help you move forward on solutions that address the key business imperatives on which you are focussing within your organisation, the 2016 Challenge programme offers activities and support for benchmarking, networking, learning, sharing and development as you can see from these pages. Unless you are on Challenge Lite, this includes regional workshops three times in the year and challenge-specific places at the national conferences, awards and site visits. 

Phase 1 started in January with an assisted journey to help you sign up and be enrolled on the challenge programme. We will then help you identify the best “challenge” for you and your organisation before inviting you to a webinar on methods and tools, a best practice fortnight of stake holder engagement and a group tutorial. This is designed to help prepare you for the first workshop, which starts at the end of February. By the end of this first phase of the challenge, you will have gained the different perspective from your peers and The Forum along with your own and sponsor's perspective. In addition you will have designed a 12 month strategic action plan as well as a short-term next steps plan with clear goals and success criteria.

 You can still register for this year's challenge and to start phase 1, just email:

All webinars can be watched on demand with tutorials continuing in March. 

Workshop 1

  • Thursday, 25th February – North West, Preston Marriott
  • Wednesday, 9th March – North East, Gosforth Marriot
  • Thursday, 17th March – South, London Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre

Best Practice Fortnight – Engagement 

Following on from the success of our Forum Friday webinar series last year we have now created learning weeks devoted to one topic. To kick start 2016 we chose Engagement as this broad topic is a challenge for all our communities and always provides great “food for thought”. 

Taken from our “2016 Best Practice week: Stakeholder & Operational Engagement” book, which is available to everyone who signs up to the week, I wanted to share the Influencing tool-kit with you.

  1. Consider if this is the right cause
    Be careful to consider if your proposal is likely to be seen as a criticism of the current process and call into question previous decision making.
    This can be really difficult, especially if “things” aren’t right and the solution seems so obvious to you. If you think that your proposal is a “no brainer” then ask yourself why your way hasn’t been considered already. Getting to the root cause of an issue.
  2. Align your message to what motivates your stakeholders
    Show how your idea can meet their objectives and their boss’s objectives, this will usually unlock the licence to progress to more formal, detailed discussion.
    I am sure that you are familiar with our KPI pyramid model which shows the hierarchy from strategic objective to the key performance indicators, then down to performance and operational indicators. Documenting organisational objectives can be an extremely useful exercise to make sure that everyone is pulling together in the right direction, as opposed to pulling against each other. Understanding what your manager’s objectives are, along with their boss’s objectives can help you be clear of the success criteria of your proposed change.
  3. Be passionate, but controlled
    Caution against displaying frustration at existing conditions to sell your proposals.
    It can be extremely frustrating if your proposals don’t get listened to, or gets shelved in favour of something else; the reality is that this can happen. Just be ready to pick up your project again at short notice. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback so you can learn from and do better next time.
  4. Get help from your friends – use your network
    Collaboration on the presenting of your proposal to demonstrate cross functional opportunities to share success.
    Very few projects or changes will be delivered solely down to one person, the chances are you will require help and support from others. Involving other people at an early stage can help you gain a different perspective as well as another pair of hands. This collective momentum can be used to great effect to influence more people. If you are required to present your proposal, think how you could invite others to present their side of the story. This will show the level of desire and commitment you have already made as well as your ability to positively influence.
  5. Consider delivery methods
    Make it easy for your stakeholder to engage by relating to familiar KPI, objectives and value – don’t try and create new mechanisms for measuring the value of your proposal.
    Your new idea may be to suggest new objectives, however you will need to show how the new objectives will positively influence the current/familiar objectives. Talking about a mixture of the current state and familiar metrics as well as the future state will help you influence your audience.

There is still time to be part of the Best Practice week with the final webinar taking place this Friday (5th February) at 13:00. Please visit our website to sign up. Following registration you will receive a link to the book and opportunity to watch the first webinar from Friday 29th January. See the other Best Practice weeks planned for 2016 and register your interest. 

Coming up next:

Find out more about all these events on our website. 

25th Jan – 4th Feb

Stakeholder & Operations Engagement Best Practice Fortnight


2nd Feb

BSc Year commences


9th -10th Feb

Advanced Diploma in Customer Contact Planning and Management


25th Feb

Planning Challenge Workshop 1


1st Mar

Advanced Certificate in Customer Contact Planning and Management


9th Mar

Planning Challenge Workshop 1


17th Mar

Planning Challenge Workshop 1


w/c 21st Mar

National Planning Awardssubmit nominations


4th – 8th Apr

Improvement & Process Best Practice Week


11th – 18th Apr

Analysis Techniques Best Practice Week


w/c 11th Apr

Analysis Techniques course


25th – 26th Apr

Customer Strategy & Planning 2016

Stratford upon Avon

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  • 2016 Challenge Programme
  • Upcoming Events
  • Best Practice updates
  • Latest Jobs





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