It is easy to rush into doing things without planning or thinking things through, simply because ‘we've always done it that way'.
Planning is a process for getting ideas into action. If you are systematic about it, then the process and hence the action can be made easier and more effective. The approach can be time consuming at first, but since your action will be more effective, you will save time in the long run.
A systematic approach gives you a method by which you can:
- check that what you want to do is worth doing
- find out which things are feasible
- get things arranged properly
- use resources efficiently
- learn from both success and failure.
The following steps will help you plan effectively:
- Consider the needs of your section, of the young people and of your leaders. Ask why and what needs to be done?
- Decide on your aim: What do you want to achieve from the event, activity, meeting or visit?
- Decide what you want those attending to gain from the event, meeting or visit? What objectives can you set? What will they be able to do, or have done at the end of the activity?
- Consider the possible methods you could use. How can you meet the objectives? Select a method and organise it.
- Implement it! Run the meeting/event or make the telephone call/visit.
- After the activity evaluate its success. What went well and why? What difficulties occurred and why? What could you do for the future? Did you achieve your objectives?
- The evaluation of the activity identifies new needs, so you are back at Step 1 again.
In summary this gives an ongoing process. need – aim – objective – method – implement – evaluate.
It is tempting to jump into step 4; to look at methods and organise an activity. You need to cover steps 1-3 to ensure there is a real purpose to the activity, and that it meets real needs.
The following steps can be remembered by the mnemonic NAOMIE and drawn as a planning loop.
This planning guide (NAOMIE) will help you become more effective as a team leader. It will make you question activities before you begin, make planning easier, and more logical. It makes you more time effective and improves on past performances. Why not introduce this method of planning to other leaders or adults? If everyone is using the same system, then everyone is working towards a common plan, and this can only benefit young people in the Movement for whom we plan.