In all fairness to planners and consultants ("5-Year Plans Often Ignore the Real World," May 11), middle management often treats "the need to plan" the same way it treats "the need to listen to and involve subordinates"--essentially as a luxury that these busy and pressured managers cannot afford. The solution to the "effective planning problem" is not the emasculation of the planning process so prevalent in many of our corporations.
Rather, it is the recognition that effective planning is a continuous process, not one etched in an inflexible five-year mold.
The corporate plan should be the middle manager's access to greater quantities of the scarce corporate assets of people, plant, equipment and top management's time--but only on the basis of guidelines that can be monitored by the (company's) financial and management system, and under which failure and success can be dealt with fairly and quickly. The corporate plan should be the middle manager's road to the top. It should be open continuously, rather than once every five years.