Group Planning Exercise

Group Planning Exercise 

Group planning exercise is an important exercise in the GTO series. It is the only task in which a written plan is submitted & studied by the GTO in detail. I have discussed the common mistakes which candidates make & what they should do to ensure good performance.

Common Mistakes

  • Ignoring the time plan. This is the most common mistake. Accomplishing the tasks in the required time is important. Time is a limited resource and hence judicious utilisation is essential to an effective plan. It must be given due respect. In the time plan at times candidates tend to make impractical assumptions which should not be done:
    • Example: If a person has to be admitted in a hospital then the travel time as well as time taken to get him admitted must be considered realistically. Just taking the return journey time is impractical.
  • Wasting Time in Stupid Tasks. I remember some stupid tasks which cannot be done being attempted by candidates. Examples (You are a group of students on picnic):
    • A monkey owner requests you to locate his monkey who has run away.
    • A lady requests you to recover her buffalo from marshy land.
    • A man asks you to save his dry haystack which has caught fire.
  • ‘Rambo’ Tasks Attempted by Impractical Candidates: A large number of candidates behave like ‘Rambo’ (Stallone movie character) & do tasks like:
    • Catching terrorists.
    • Killing dacoits with 12 bore guns taken from villagers.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

To avoid common mistakes please make a realistic time plan & not undertake stupid and ‘Rambo’ tasks. Let the ‘Rambo’ tasks be done by the police. You should just inform the police.

Interesting Practical Problem

During the discussion stage in a group full of coached candidates not much consensus is arrived at. A stupid individual who is convinced that he must dominate the group appoints himself to be the consensus leader to narrate the plan on behalf of the group. He is by no means the nominated leader. The plan he narrates is his plan and not a consensus plan of the group. This plan has obviously some serious shortcomings. The group does not object to the disagreeable points of the plan narrated thinking that it will be wrong to disagree with the plan of the leader. In some cases there are a few candidates who are much more sensible and could have given a much better and acceptable plan. The GTO at times asks them whether they agree with the plan narrated. These candidates confirm to the GTO that they agree with the plan, once again thinking that this is the right thing to do.

What should You Do?

The group in this situation is a disorganized group. The leader has not been nominated by consensus. This is known to all the candidates in the group and definitely by the GTO. In this situation you must speak and ask the parts of the plan which are unacceptable to be changed. In case the GTO asks you, then you must convey your differences to the plan told. Why this is the right thing to do?

  • Your aim as a part of the group is to make the best possible plan for the group to be effective in performing the task most efficiently.
  • By stating the changes to the plan you have achieved that objective.
  • By expressing disagreement with the leader you have done no wrong because he is not the nominated leader and nor is the plan a consensus plan. It is not against the wrongly perceived military ethos!
  • By not expressing disagreement you have made yourself party to a poor plan. The GTO has all reasons to consider your planning abilities to be as poor as the plan presented.


Group planning exercise is an important part of the GTO series. To perform well in this task please ensure that you do the following:

  • Make a realistic time plan & submit a brief but comprehensive plan.
  • Do not plan to accomplish the stupid and ‘Rambo’ tasks.
  • Do not agree with the stupid plan of a self-appointed leader.
  • Do not get into an altercation but guide the group towards a sensible, practical & simple plan.


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