|Part of a series on Strategy|
Strategic planning is an
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- Max Mckeown (2012), The Strategy Book, FT Prentice Hall.
- Patrick J. Burkhart and Suzanne Reuss (1993). Successful Strategic Planning: A Guide for Nonprofit Agencies and Organizations. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
- Bradford and Duncan (2000). Simplified Strategic Planning. Chandler House.
- Stephen G. Haines (2004). ABCs of strategic management : an executive briefing and plan-to-plan day on strategic management in the 21st century.
- Kono, T. (1994) "Changing a Company's Strategy and Culture", Long Range Planning, 27, 5 (October 1994), pp: 85-97
- Philip Kotler (1986), "Megamarketing" In: Harvard Business Review. (March—April 1986)
- John Naisbitt (1982). Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming our Lives. Macdonald.
- T. Levitt (1960) "Marketing myopia", In: Harvard Business Review, (July—August 1960)
- M. Lorenzen (2006). "Strategic Planning for Academic Library Instructional Programming." In: Illinois Libraries 86, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 22-29.
- L. Fahey and V. K. Narayman (1986). Macroenvironmental Analysis for Strategic Management”. West Publishing.
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- Brian Tracy (2000). The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success. Berrett, Koehler Publishers.
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- John Argenti (1974). Systematic Corporate Planning. Wiley.
- PCAOB-Strategic Plan 2014-2018 (PDF)
Strategic plan examples
- Mintzberg, Henry and, Quinn, James Brian (1996).
- Rumelt, Richard P. (2011).
- Porter, Michael E. (1980).
- "Nine Steps To Success TM". The Balanced Scorecard Institute.
- Kiechel, Walter (2010).
- Business strategy mapping
- Chief strategy officer
- Decision making software
- Enterprise planning systems
- Hoshin Kanri
- Integrated business planning
- Military strategy and The Art of War for the origins
- Situational analysis
- Strategic planning software
- Strategy Markup Language (StratML)
Strategic planning has been criticized for attempting to systematize strategic thinking and strategy formation, which Henry Mintzberg argues are inherently creative activities involving synthesis or "connecting the dots" which cannot be systematized. Mintzberg argues that strategic planning can help coordinate planning efforts and measure progress on strategic goals, but that it occurs "around" the strategy formation process rather than within it. Further, strategic planning functions remote from the "front lines" or contact with the competitive environment (i.e., in business, facing the customer where the effect of competition is most clearly evident) may not be effective at supporting strategy efforts.
Strategic planning vs. strategic thinking
Categories 3 and 4 are strategic planning, while the first two categories are non-strategic or essentially financial planning. Each stage builds on the previous stages; that is, a stage 4 organization completes activities in all four categories.
- Financial planning, which is primarily about annual budgets and a functional focus, with limited regard for the environment;
- Forecast-based planning, which includes multi-year financial plans and more robust capital allocation across business units;
- Externally oriented planning, where a thorough situation analysis and competitive assessment is performed;
- Strategic management, where widespread strategic thinking occurs and a well-defined strategic framework is used.
Simply extending financial statement projections into the future without consideration of the competitive environment is a form of financial planning or budgeting, not strategic planning. In business, the term "financial plan" is often used to describe the expected financial performance of an organization for future periods. The term "budget" is used for a financial plan for the upcoming year. A "forecast" is typically a combination of actual performance year-to-date plus expected performance for the remainder of the year, so is generally compared against plan or budget and prior performance. The financial plans accompanying a strategic plan may include 3–5 years of projected performance.
Strategic planning vs. financial planning
- PEST analysis, which covers the remote external environment elements such as political, economic, social and technological (PESTLE adds legal/regulatory and ecological/environmental);
- Scenario planning, which was originally used in the military and recently used by large corporations to analyze future scenarios;
- Porter five forces analysis, which addresses industry attractiveness and rivalry through the bargaining power of buyers and suppliers and the threat of substitute products and new market entrants;
- SWOT analysis, which addresses internal strengths and weaknesses relative to the external opportunities and threats;
- Growth-share matrix, which involves portfolio decisions about which businesses to retain or divest; and
- Balanced Scorecards and strategy maps, which creates a systematic framework for measuring and controlling strategy.
- The Nine Steps to Success(TM) - The Balanced Scorecard Institute's framework for Strategic Planning and Management.
A variety of analytical tools and techniques are used in strategic planning. These were developed by companies and management consulting firms to help provide a framework for strategic planning. Such tools include:
Tools and approaches
Whilst the planning process produces outputs, as described above, strategy implementation or execution of the strategic plan produces Outcomes. These outcomes will invariably differ from the strategic goals. How close they are to the strategic goals and vision will determine the success or failure of the strategic plan. There will also arise unintended Outcomes, which need to be attended to and understood for strategy development and execution to be a true learning process.
The organization may use a variety of methods of measuring and monitoring progress towards the objectives and measures established, such as a balanced scorecard or strategy map. Companies may also plan their financial statements (i.e., balance sheets, income statements, and cash flows) for several years when developing their strategic plan, as part of the goal setting activity. The term operational budget is often used to describe the expected financial performance of an organization for the upcoming year. Capital budgets very often form the backbone of a strategic plan, especially as it increasingly relates to Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The output of strategic planning includes documentation and communication describing the organization's strategy and how it should be implemented, sometimes referred to as the strategic plan. The strategy may include a diagnosis of the competitive situation, a guiding policy for achieving the organization's goals, and specific action plans to be implemented. A strategic plan may cover multiple years and be updated periodically.
- What is the organization's business or interest?
- What is considered "value" to the customer or constituency?
- Which products and services should be included or excluded from the portfolio of offerings?
- What is the geographic scope of the organization?
- What differentiates the organization from its competitors in the eyes of customers and other stakeholders?
- Which skills and resources should be developed within the organization?
The organization's leaders may have a series of questions they want answered in formulating the strategy and gathering inputs, such as:
Strategic planning activities include meetings and other communication among the organization's leaders and personnel to develop a common understanding regarding the competitive environment and what the organization's response to that environment (its strategy) should be. A variety of strategic planning tools (described in the section below) may be completed as part of strategic planning activities.
Data is gathered from a variety of sources, such as interviews with key executives, review of publicly available documents on the competition or market, primary research (e.g., visiting or observing competitor places of business or comparing prices), industry studies, etc. This may be part of a vision and mission statements.
The first two elements relate to factors internal to the company (i.e., the internal environment), while the latter two relate to factors external to the company (i.e., the external environment). These elements are considered throughout the strategic planning process.
- Company strengths and weaknesses;
- Personal values of the key implementers (i.e., management and the board);
- Industry opportunities and threats; and
- Broader societal expectations.
Michael Porter wrote in 1980 that formulation of competitive strategy includes consideration of four key elements:
 Strategic planning is a process and thus has inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes. This process, like all processes, has constraints. It may be formal or informal and is typically iterative, with feedback loops throughout the process. Some elements of the process may be continuous and others may be executed as discrete projects with a definitive start and end during a period. Strategic planning provides inputs for
- Overview 1.1
- Inputs 1.2
- Activities 1.3
- Outputs 1.4
- Outcomes 1.5
- Tools and approaches 2
- Strategic planning vs. financial planning 3
- Strategic planning vs. strategic thinking 4.1
- See also 5
- References 6
- Strategic plan examples 7
- Further reading 8
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.
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.