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How the British Army make a plan

Updated: Mar 10


These blogs are short snippets of insight, intended to make you think about how you work and to take away a few key learnings that make small improvements.



How the Army create a plan


An organisation that has been going over 350 years is probably worth listening to, well today we look at how the British Army have made planning so simple it can be done literally in the heat of battle.

The British Army use a technique called 'The 7 questions', taught to the junior ranks as well at the Military Academy of Sandhurst it provides a straight forward approach to executing any objective. Well, what are they?


It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan” - Eleanor Roosavelt

The Questions

1. What is the situation and how does it affect me?

2. What have I been told to do & why?

3. What effects do I need to achieve and what direction must I give to develop my plan?

4. Where can I best accomplish each action and action/effect?

5. What resources do I need to achieve my plan?

6. When and where do each action take effect in relation to each other?

7. What control measures do I need to impose?



Although the use of language is different, is relevant to almost any situation, including the business world. Let's break it down


1. What is the situation and how does it affect me?

This question is designed to set the scene and help you understand the environment, what are the factors that have led to where you are and what are they doing now, i.e what are your competitors doing, your teams or team members. Has someone spotted a gap in the market, an option to seize the initiative.


2. What have I been told to do & why?

Simply what is your objective and what is the purpose of that objective. This helps you understand your goal and the role you/your team play in the bigger picture, the goal of manager/leader/business.


3. What effects do I need to achieve and what direction must I give to develop my plan?

Breaking down your objective, into smaller manageable goals (effects) helps you understand the second part of the question. Planning is not a sole activity and must be developed by those around you. Each effect may require a specific skill, you must provide direction to the owners of those skills to enable them to help you.


4. Where can I best accomplish each action and action/effect?

This question ask you take each of the effects and place them in the current environment. It battle terms its asking you to look at the terrain, transferring this to the business world it come 4 dimensional, not only is location a key factor but timing, taking into account resources, competitors, external factors in the relevant industry, such as key events.


5. What resources do I need to achieve my plan?

I don't think this one needs explaining

When and where do each action take effect in relation to each other

Dependencies!! What are the sequence of events, don't run into battle before the ammunition has arrived. Don't launch a new website at the same time as new CRM migration.


6. When and where do each action take effect in relation to each other

Dependencies!! What are the sequence of events, don't run into battle before the ammunition has arrived. Don't launch a new website at the same time as new CRM migration.


7. What control measures do I need to impose?

Risk mitigation - that's all this is. Looks at the risks understand what mitigating actions are required.


So, stuck on a plan? try the 7 questions and see if it helps. The questions are put in an order so that whatever your write down should form the basis brief to communicate the plan.



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