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Operational Planning

The course general description

001 Keep the Monkeys in the Zoo

We don’t manage time. We manage ourselves and our people. In order to spend more time on important, strategic activities, managers must learn the habit of getting other people to take their monkeys.

Learning Outcomes

  • What is discretionary time and why do I need it.
  • How to spot a monkey.
  • How to keep monkeys off your desk.
  • How to transfer initiative back to subordinates.
  • How to avoid the “straddle”.
  • How to run a successful monkey meeting.
  • Rules for the care and feeding of the monkeys.

Key Issues Covered

  • Archimedes and the concept of leverage.
  • Discretionary time: the manager’s superpower.
  • Controlling the monkeys (so they don’t control you).

Participants will learn how to create more discretionary time and get more done through others.

101 How to Create a Yearly Plan

Learning Outcomes

Planning is about implementing and protecting initiatives, programs, and decisions in a comprehensive and methodical manner. Participants will be able to run more effective planning meetings that ensure successful outcomes.


Key Issues Covered

  • Identify the steps in the plan.
  • Identify what may go wrong.
  • Establishing protective measures.
  • Monitor progress.
  • Situational appraisal.

102 How to Manage Productive Meetings

This is a workshop on techniques for running meetings so they don’t run you.

Meetings are valuable to thrash through data, gather input and information, solicit commentary and formulate knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

  • Run meetings so they don’t run you.
  • Establish goals and desired outcomes.
  • Develop results-oriented agendas.
  • Run the meeting with firmness.
  • Practice successful power meeting techniques.
  • Avoid meetings that are weighing you down.
  • Get the most out of participants.
  • Identify passive commitment.

Key Issues Covered

  • Develop a meeting management system.
  • Generate consensus and ownership.
  • Resolve conflict and negotiate options.
  • Getting commitment from all participants.
  • Ensure uniform messaging.
  • Provide recognition.
  • Create a knowledge transfer.
  • Assign agreed-upon action items with milestones and completion dates.

103 How to Manage Projects to Successful Completion

A project is defined as a planned work activity that will consume resources, with an objective to be reached within certain specifications and a stated timeframe.

Teams can coordinate, facilitate, assume responsibility, and ensure accountability for the successful completion through project management.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the 12 key components of a successful project.
  • Set and prioritize project goals.
  • Determine resources and schedule actions.
  • Set milestones for progress.
  • Monitor and manage schedules.
  • End the project successfully.

Key Issues Covered

  • Define the plan.
  • Kickoff meeting.
  • Scheduling action items.
  • Controlling cost.
  • Managing changes.
  • Review meeting.
  • Ending the project
  • Evaluating successes and missteps.
  • Post-planning and feedback loops.

104 Effective Time Management Skills

Key Issues Covered

  • Goal setting
  • Getting things done
  • Importance of written goals
  • Expanding discretionary time
  • Understanding personal distractions
  • Controlling the monkeys
  • Call log
  • To-Do lists