Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy or direction and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. It may also extend to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy. Strategic planning became prominent in corporations during the 1960s and remains an important aspect of strategic management. 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. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). The senior leadership of an organization is generally tasked with determining strategy. Strategy can be planned (intended) or can be observed as a pattern of activity (emergent) as the organization adapts to its environment or competes.
Strategy includes processes of formulation and implementation; strategic planning helps coordinate both. However, strategic planning is analytical in nature (i.e., it involves “finding the dots”); strategy formation itself involves synthesis (i.e., “connecting the dots”) via strategic thinking. As such, strategic planning occurs around the strategy formation activity (wikipedia.com)
A systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them. It has to do with taking detailed and calculated steps towards achieving a certain goal at hand. When it comes to strategic planning, there are very important questions you should have in mind. They include:
- Where are we – this involves a deep understanding and detailed analysis of the situation at hand.
- Where do we want to be? – at this point, one has a clearly defined and attainable goal in mind.
- How can we get to where we want to be? – now, all strategies that would be used to achieve the goal in mind must be outlined along with the resources that would be used to fully play out those strategies.