An introduction to the planning process and how it can be used in preparation for climate change management.
Planning for future climate change is similar to any kind of planning: plans are like maps, they can tell us where we are, where we are going, how we are going to get there and how we can tell if we are going the wrong way. From an organizational perspective, these basic issues should be supplemented by efforts to try to make sure that members and stakeholders understand the need and importance of being part of the plan. One example of how this has been attempted at the government level in America is here.
A rational approach to planning, then, begins with setting out the reasons for making a plan and gathering together means of enlisting the input of all relevant people – this is always a tricky part of the plan. It is important to get this input from all relevant people and they may have very useful and important things to say but it is also important that not too much time or effort is expended that the whole project becomes bogged down in details or else that peoples’ expectations are raised too high. There are plenty of people who think that once they have made their opinions known, these will become central parts of whatever strategy might be employed and will feel slighted if they have not been considered less relevant.
The next step involves applying scope and scale to the plan: that is, working out what the objectives are going to be, how is progress towards such objectives to be measured and over what time frame will the plan operate? It is important when doing this to try to mix together objectives which are comparatively easy and those which are more difficult, as well as objectives that can be met in the short-term and the long-term. If this is managed well, then people involved with implementing the plan find that they are able to achieve a series of intermediary goals on their way towards the more distant ones. This is good for morale. Regular success in picking the low-hanging fruit can be accompanied with rewards and praise and so forth and that should (unless it is done in too obvious or cynical a manner)keep people enthusiastic about continuing to enact the plan.
A final step concerns knowledge management: however the plan is created and enacted, it is better if records of it are kept so that it will not be necessary to reinvent the whole process the next time it is to be tried. One major problem that organizations of all kinds face is in learning from the past or from experiences elsewhere because of lack of appropriate knowledge that has been retained within the organisation.