Target planning

Target planning is a permanent dynamic process with feedback character, in which the target states to be strived for are defined for the organizational units at the individual organizational levels. The target planning, together with the planning of measures and the resource planning, forms the essential task areas of operational planning and control. As part of the goal-setting process, controlling is responsible for informational support, coordination and integration in terms of time, content and personnel, as well as controlling and monitoring the achievement of goals (controlling tasks).
The involvement of controlling in the goal-setting process primarily serves to develop and advance coordination of a differentiated and precisely formulated target structure (target system). The conflicts that arise in the context of goal-setting can be of a conceptual, structural or preference-related nature and require careful consideration in the company's information, planning and decision-making process.

The starting point for target formation is the target analysis and structuring (initiation of the target formation process) with the determination of the highest or superordinate company targets. From these initial goals, lower sub-goals of various orders are determined (goal detailing). In this target specification phase, controlling must ensure a high degree of target operationality with regard to the detailing (differentiation of content) and the duration of the goals (temporal overlapping). From a controlling point of view, the differentiation between factual and formal goals is of particular importance, since specific planning problems are inherent in both target categories.

The goal structuring leads to a step-by-step structure of goal systems, which is referred to as goal hierarchy. A target system must meet requirements such as operationality, consistency, decomposability, timeliness, completeness, transparency, etc. The structure of a target hierarchy depends on the organizational structure, the complexity of the transformation processes in the company, the environmental conditions and the available knowledge about operational reality.

The goal formation is supplemented by a feasibility test with regard to the attainability (determination of the real target area), enforceability and the compatibility of goals. The review of the target realism must be based on control information, otherwise only an estimate of the target extent is possible. Therefore, the realistic definition and adjustment of the degree of target achievement are among the essential coordination tasks of controlling in the context of target planning.

Controlling takes on an advisory role in the decision-making and implementation of goals, in particular with regard to the comprehensive explanation of the setting of goals and the demonstration of the possibilities of goal achievement as well as in determining the priority of individual goals.
On the basis of information about new alternative courses of action or resource developments, goals often need to be adapted through new or reformulated formulations. Expectations about the future activity potential and the achievement of goals in the past are the cause of this. On the other hand, changes in the objectives can result from the adjustment process and make it necessary to revise the objectives. Changes in values, changes in planning premises, shifts in problems, conflicting goals and deviations from the plan are shown, which must be integrated into the target system in a problem-oriented manner.

Overall, the content of the target system must be adapted or modified based on the control information (structural adaptation). The search and setting of new realistic goals and the continuous uncovering and checking of the effectiveness of the goals is therefore of great importance and is primarily a process of coordination. If changes to goals are not recognized in good time and taken into account in the goal system, conflicts arise, especially in the context of deriving sub-goals, which can result in incorrect planning and risks for future corporate development.

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