The reason for strategic or long-range planning is to assist the company in establishing priorities and to better serve the needs of the stakeholders. A strategic plan must be flexible and practical and yet serve as a guide to implementing programs, evaluating how these programs are doing, and making adjustments when necessary.
A strategic plan must reflect the thoughts, feelings, ideas, and wants of the developers and mold them along with the company's purpose, mission, and regulations into an integrated document. The development of a plan requires much probing, discussion, and examination of the views of the leaders who are responsible for the plan's preparation. However, more often than not, the development of the plan is less complicated than is the implementation.
Implementation, in essence, pulls a plan apart and diffuses it throughout an organization. Every unit within the organization which is involved must then accept the plan, agree to its direction, and implement specific actions. In order to effectively and efficiently implement a plan, all individuals involved in its implementation must function as a whole or the plan is destined for failure.
In this respect long range/strategic planning describes results that will probably take place. Strategic planning aims to build more desirable upcoming results by either
- Adjusting current programs and proceedings so as to have more favorable outcomes in the external environment
- or by influencing the outside world.
The latter might be harder to achieve.
Strategic planning, within business, may provide a general direction for the strategic management to a company or give specific direction in such areas as:
- Marketing strategy
- Human resource
- Organizational development strategies
- Information technology deployments
- Financial strategies
Strategic management is that set of managerial decisions and actions that determines the long-run performance of a corporation. It includes environmental scanning, strategy formulation, strategy implementation and evaluation and control.