What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization's direction in response to a changing environment. It is executed by strategic planners or strategists, who involve many parties and research sources in their analysis of the organization and its relationship to the environment in which it competes.

Strategy has many definitions, but generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. It is a disciplined effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future.  A strategy describes how the ends objectives will be achieved by the means required. The senior leadership of an organization is generally tasked with determining strategy. Strategy can be planned intentionally or can be observed as a pattern of activity developing as the organization adapts to its environment or competes.

Don't confuse a strategic plan with a business plan, which is a much broader document and includes a strategic plan, a marketing plan, a financial plan and an operational plan.

In other words, a business plan is much more of an encouraging document, covering what your business is about and why it has value in the market. The strategic plan, in contrast, contains an action plan with specific objectives and due dates as well as setting out who is responsible for what being carried out.

Strategic Planning - Balanced Scorecard
Kevin Smith Importance of Strategic Planning for CU's



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