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Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. Various business analysis techniques can be used in strategic planning, including SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats ), PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological), STEER analysis (Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors), and EPISTEL (Environment, Political, Informatic, Social, Technological, Economic and Legal).
Strategic planning is the formal consideration of an organization's future course. All strategic planning deals with at least one of three key questions:
"What do we do?"
"For whom do we do it?"
"How do we excel?"
In business strategic planning, the third question is better phrased "How can we beat or avoid competition?". (Bradford and Duncan, page 1).
In many organizations, this is viewed as a process for determining where an organization is going over the next year or more -typically 3 to 5 years, although some extend their vision to 20 years.
In order to determine where it is going, the organization needs to know exactly where it stands, then determine where it wants to go and how it will get there. The resulting document is called the "strategic plan."
It is also true that strategic planning may be a tool for effectively plotting the direction of a company; however, strategic planning itself cannot foretell exactly how the market will evolve and what issues will surface in the coming days in order to plan your organizational strategy. Therefore, strategic innovation and tinkering with the 'strategic plan' have to be a cornerstone strategy for an organization to survive the turbulent business climate
Strategic planning is an instrument for establishing the existent on the origin of the forecasts or projection of the anticipated prospect. In order to speak about Quality in Advanced Learning, Teaching, Training, Education and Strategic Planning In this day and age advanced learning wide-reaching appearances conflicting interpretations as well as assessments associated to advanced learning: in cooperation to very optimistic and completely dire. According to Brent P. Ruben, "Advanced learning is a dynamic and obligatory segment surrounded by humanity in addition to those of us who work as professors; lectures in academies and institution of higher education ought to be a number of utmost main professions everywhere "Chan, S.S., (1993)". The conservatory funds in necessary, universal and long-term techniques to the private and proficient in this world of the extra millions of students (undergraduates level, post-graduates level, PhDs,.) registered and enrolled yearly in gradation granting programs, besides further in general to the ethnic and traditional, rational, as well as financial strength of our societies and communities as well as our the social order." In order to progress a wide-ranging strategy for any section or division which would consist of in cooperation with long- series and intentional features, so here I presenting some approaches and tools defined in this manual which is used for many companies "Guth, W.D., (2001)". It is moreover factual that strategic planning might be an implement for effectually plotting the way of an establishment; conversely, strategic development itself cannot predict accurately how the market will grow then what disputes will surface in the upcoming existences in direction to plot administrative stratagem. Consequently, strategic revolution and interfering using the 'strategic plan' ought to be a keystone or basics scheme for an association or organization to endure the tempestuous professional and...
The Strategic Planning Process
In today's highly competitive business environment, budget-oriented planning or
forecast-based planning methods are insufficient for a large corporation to
survive and prosper. The firm must engage in strategic planning that clearly
defines objectives and assesses both the internal and external situation to
formulate strategy, implement the strategy, evaluate the progress, and make
adjustments as necessary to stay on track.
A simplified view of the strategic planning process is shown by the following
The Strategic Planning Process
Mission and Objectives
The mission statement describes the company's business vision, including the
unchanging values and purpose of the firm and forward-looking visionary goals
that guide the pursuit of future opportunities.
Guided by the business vision, the firm's leaders can define measurable
financial and strategic objectives. Financial objectives involve measures such
as sales targets and earnings growth. Strategic objectives are related to the
firm's business position, and may include measures such as market share and
The environmental scan includes the following components:
Internal analysis of the firm
Analysis of the firm's industry (task environment)
External macroenvironment (PEST analysis)
The internal analysis can identify the firm's strengths and weaknesses and the
external analysis reveals opportunities and threats. A profile of the strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is generated by means of a SWOT analysis
An industry analysis can be performed using a framework developed by Michael
Porter known as Porter's five forces. This framework evaluates entry barriers,
suppliers, customers, substitute products, and industry rivalry.
Given the information from the environmental scan, the firm should match its
strengths to the opportunities that it has identified, while addressing its
weaknesses and external threats.
To attain superior profitability, the firm seeks to develop a competitive
advantage over its rivals. A competitive advantage can be based on cost or
differentiation. Michael Porter identified three industry-independent generic
strategies from which the firm can choose.
The selected strategy is implemented by means of programs, budgets, and
procedures. Implementation involves organization of the firm's resources and
motivation of the staff to achieve objectives.
The way in which the strategy is implemented can have a significant impact on
whether it will be successful. In a large company, those who implement the
strategy likely will be different people from those who formulated it. For this
reason, care must be taken to communicate the strategy and the reasoning behind
it. Otherwise, the implementation might not succeed if the strategy is
misunderstood or if lower-level managers resist its implementation because they
do not understand why the particular strategy was selected.
Evaluation & Control
The implementation of the strategy must be monitored and adjustments made as
Evaluation and control consists of the following steps:
Define parameters to be measured
Define target values for those parameters
Compare measured results to the pre-defined standard
Make necessary changes
Importance of strategic planning
The strategic plan is the master of other plans
What determines the importance of strategic planning is the small number and the long term, organisation-wide impact of the decisions in the strategic plan.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail". This often-heard quote from Alan Lakein, the popular author on time management, is a reminder that many of the day-to-day operational struggles we face in organisational life had their seeds sown in the past, when we failed to think ahea . . .d.
You cannot predict the future.
True, you cannot predict the future. No manager has a crystal ball in his or her brief case. Every day has its own "we couldn't see it coming". Nevertheless, many severe day-to-day operating problems have, as their origin, a failure from months or years earlier- a failure in strategic planning. Simply, absence of strategic planning, or poor strategic plans, usually lead to tactical "days you'd rather forget" of operating nightmares, some of which can last months.
The importance of strategic planning in reducing these "days you would rather forget" cannot be overemphasized. My definition of strategic planning is "A systematic, formally documented process for deciding the handful of key decisions that an organisation, viewed as a corporate whole, must get right in order to thrive over the next few years."
Note that in this definition it speaks of the strategic plan being for the organization 'viewed as a corporate whole'. The kind of strategic planning we are talking about used to be called 'corporate planning'. In a sense this makes the importance of strategic planning blindingly obvious. Get it right and the whole organization is impacted, and strengthened towards better long term performance, get it wrong and ... !
Strategic planning gives overall direction
Strategic planning can provide an overall strategic direction to the management of the organization and gives a specific direction to areas like financial strategy, marketing strategy, organizational development strategy and human resources strategy, to achieve success. These other kinds of planning, some of which are confused with strategic planning are intended for parts of the organization, or specific functions or processes within the organization. All of these other types of planning should be guided and informed by the strategic plan.
Strategic planning is planning for the organization as a whole
To repeat strategic planning involves planning for an organization as a whole - as a corporate whole. So corporate strategic planning is not product planning, production planning, cash flow planning, workforce planning or any of the many of other sorts of planning conducted in today's organizations. All these are designed to plan parts or sections or departments of organizations. Most companies, even quite small ones, already employ product development managers, marketing directors, production planners and finance controllers to look after the planning of these various parts, and when you do strategic planning you certainly do not want to do all these again under a fancy new name.
As soon as a strategic plan starts to spell out detailed production plans, workforce plans, finance plans, and so on, it is going to overreach and become a initiative-sapping set of edicts from Head Office. The importance of strategic planning comes not from the degree of control or supervision, and the level of detailed instruction it includes, but for the scale, time horizon, and importance of the decisions it embodies.
Strategic planning is corporate. You can only have a strategic plan for an autonomous or quasi-autonomous organization; you should not have one for any section, part or fragment of an organization unless it is quasi-autonomous, like a profit centre, or a wholly owned subsidiary.
However, an indirect tribute to the importance of strategic planning is made by the common appropriation of the term 'strategic' to describe all manner of other partial plans
A Final Word
It is important to understand the limitations as
well as the possibilities of strategic planning. A
strategic plan is not a wish list, a report card or a
marketing tool. It is certainly not a magic bullet or
a quick cure for everything that ails an organization
- especially if the plan winds up on the shelf.
What a strategic plan can do is shed light on an
organization's unique strengths and relevant
weaknesses, enabling it to pinpoint new opportunities
or the causes of current or projected problems.
If board and staff are committed to its
implementation, a strategic plan can provide an
invaluable blueprint for growth and revitalization,
enabling an organization to take stock of where it
is, determine where it wants to go and chart a
course to get there.