The Connection Between Planning and Controlling: A Step-by-Step Guide Unveiled

Have you ever wondered why some businesses excel while others lag behind? The secret is often rooted in their management practices. Two vital managerial functions that dictate the success of any organization are planning and controlling. By comprehending their interdependence and effectively applying them, businesses can achieve their objectives and maintain a competitive edge. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the profound connection between planning and controlling, and how their strategic application can be a game-changer for your business.

💡 Features of a Good Control System:

 Suitable: A good control system should be suitable for the needs and nature of the organisation.

 Simple: A good controlling system should be easy to operate and understand.

 Economical: The cost of setting, implementing, and maintaining a control system should not be more than the benefits gained from it.

 Flexible: A good control system should have the ability to adjust according to the changing business environment and internal conditions. 

Forward Looking: A good control system should move in a forward direction so that the managers can easily determine the deviations before they actually happen in the organisation.

 Objective: The standards of the organisation, its measurement of performance, and corrective actions should be impersonal and objective. 

 Management by exception: A good control system should focus its attention on the significant deviations which are crucial for the organisation, instead of looking for the deviation which does not have much impact on the business.


Understanding the relationship between planning and controlling is akin to understanding the heart and soul of an organization. While planning lays the foundation for what needs to be accomplished, controlling ensures that these objectives are met by keeping track of performance and implementing necessary adjustments. With planning as the thinking process and controlling as an executive function, they act as the two wheels of the same cart, steering the business towards its goals.

Breaking down the concepts: Planning and Controlling

At its core, planning is about setting the course for the future. It involves deciding on goals, determining the best way to achieve them, and creating a detailed action plan. Controlling, on the other hand, is about monitoring performance against these plans. It involves comparing actual output with the planned objectives, identifying deviations, and taking corrective actions when necessary.

Why understanding this connection is important

Recognizing the interplay between planning and controlling is key to successful management. As stated by M.C. Niles, “Control is an aspect and projection of planning, whereas planning sets the course, control observes deviations from the course, and initiates action to return to the chosen course or to an appropriately changed one.” This interconnectedness forms the crux of effective management, making it crucial for businesses to understand and leverage.

The Concept of Planning

Planning, as described by Koontz and O’Donnell, is all about deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who is to do it. They assert that planning bridges the gap from where we are to where we want to go, making it possible for things to occur which would not otherwise happen.

What is planning?

Planning is a systematic process where the organization sets its long-term and short-term objectives. It’s a blueprint for action that guides the organization from where it currently stands to where it wants to be in the future. It involves forecasting trends, laying down objectives, analyzing different courses of action, and choosing the best alternative to accomplish the pre-determined goals.

Importance of planning in business

Planning serves as the guiding force in an organization, providing direction and reducing uncertainty. It promotes innovative ideas and a better use of resources by focusing on the organizational goals. By anticipating changes in the business environment, planning helps organizations adapt and thrive. Moreover, it fosters alignment within the organization, ensuring all teams work towards the same objectives.

Steps involved in effective planning

Effective planning typically involves a series of steps: establishing objectives, developing premises about the future, deciding on the course of action, formulating derivative plans, and finally, quantifying the plans into budgets and targets.

The Concept of Controlling

Once plans are set in motion, controlling comes into play. According to Koontz and O’ Donnell, managerial control implies the measurement of accomplishment against the standard and the correction of deviations to assure attainment of objectives according to plans.

What is controlling?

Controlling is the process of comparing the actual performance with the planned goals. It identifies any deviations and takes corrective measures to align the performance with the objectives. It’s a cyclical process that begins with setting performance standards, measuring actual performance, comparing this with the standard, finding deviations if any, and taking corrective action.

Importance of controlling in business

Controlling acts as a safety measure for the organization. It helps detect errors and rectify them before they become significant problems. Through regular comparison of actual performance with standards, controlling keeps the organization on track towards its goals. It also provides valuable information for future planning, making it an indispensable part of the management process.

Steps involved in effective controlling

An effective controlling process involves setting up standards based on objectives, measuring and recording actual performance, comparing these results with standards, and taking corrective action whenever necessary.

Unveiling the Connection Between Planning and Controlling

The symbiotic relationship between planning and controlling plays out in several ways in the business world. Let’s delve deeper into this connection.

How planning feeds into controlling

Planning sets the stage for controlling by defining the standards against which performance will be compared. Without clear, measurable objectives laid out during the planning phase, controlling would have no benchmark to evaluate against. Thus, planning feeds directly into controlling.

The interdependence of planning and controlling

While planning precedes controlling in the management process, the latter feeds back into planning. The information collected during the control process informs future planning. It highlights areas that need improvement and provides insights into how plans can be adjusted to better meet objectives. Hence, planning and controlling are interdependent, reinforcing each other in a continuous cycle.

Real-life examples to illustrate the connection

Consider a manufacturing company that has planned to produce 1000 units of a product in a month. The controlling function monitors the production process throughout the month, comparing actual output with the planned target. If deviations are spotted – say, only 900 units are being produced – corrective action is taken to ramp up production. Once the month ends, the data from the controlling process informs the planning for the next month, perhaps leading to more realistic targets or improved efficiency measures to meet the goal.

How to Apply the Planning-Controlling Connection in Your Business

Now that we’ve explored the deep-seated connection between planning and controlling let’s look at how you can apply these principles in your organization.

Step 1: Developing a strong plan

A robust plan lays a solid foundation for effective controlling. Start with setting clear, measurable objectives. Develop strategies to achieve these goals and break them down into actionable plans. Keep in mind that your plan should be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.

Step2: Implementing controls within the plan

Once your plan is in place, establish controls to monitor performance. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your objectives and set up a system to regularly measure and record these KPIs. This step prepares you to swiftly identify deviations and take corrective actions.

Step 3: Regularly reviewing and adjusting the plan based on controls

Controlling is an ongoing process. Regularly review your performance against the set standards. If you’re falling short of your goals, analyze the reasons and adjust your plans accordingly. Remember, the goal of controlling isn’t to penalize for deviations but to learn from them and improve future performance.


The planning-controlling connection forms the backbone of effective management. By understanding and leveraging this relationship, businesses can navigate towards their goals with precision and agility.

Recap of the connection between planning and controlling

In essence, planning sets the course by defining objectives and laying out a roadmap to achieve them. Controlling ensures that the organization stays on this course by monitoring performance, identifying deviations, and implementing necessary adjustments. The information gathered through controlling then feeds back into future planning, creating a continuous cycle of improvement.

Final thoughts and encouragement for implementing these steps.

If you haven’t been intentionally harnessing the power of planning and controlling in your organization, it’s time to start. Begin with setting clear goals, develop detailed plans to reach them, establish controls to check performance, and continuously adjust your plans based on these checks. It might seem challenging at first, but remember, every step taken towards effective planning and controlling is a step towards business success.