Plan is a blueprint of actions to be taken in near future. Planning is the rationale process of establishing objectives and thinking advance before taking action to achieve the objectives. Plan provides structure to work in future. It is essential everywhere. All levels of manager need to plan their action intended to perform in future. Fail to plan means plan to fail.
Strategic plan is a visionary plan which provides road map to succeed the organization in competitive situation. It is corporate framework of actions to be taken long lastingly. Strategic planning links the objectives, resources and corporate policies. It is helpful to carry on the organizational activities even in complex situation.
In the business entities, strategic planning consists of a detail plan prepared by executive body for the purpose of institutional betterment, by analyzing external threats and opportunities, and internal strength and weaknesses. It provides a sense of direction to form operational plan. So following elements are included in strategic planning.
- Establishing goal and objectives
- Creating strategy alternatives and evaluation
- Resource allocation and budgeting
- Organization structure and control mechanism.
A good strategic plan is made by accepting and balancing interrelationship among intuition, judgment, managerial values and the planning system. Failure to tailor and design the strategic planning system to the unique characteristics of the company and its management may be a cause of why strategic planning fails.
Some definitions on strategic planning are;
Strategic planning is defined as ''Long-range planning that focuses on the organization as a whole. Managers consider the organization as a total unit and ask themselves what must be done in the long run to attain organizational goals. The most successful managers are those who are able to encourage innovative strategic thinking within their organizations." – Harvey.
Hayes and Wheelwright define strategic planning as "planning that is long term, wide ranging and critical to organizational success, in terms of the costs of the resources it affects and the outcomes it envisions."
Steps in strategic Planning
It is said that the most effective strategists are usually creative, intuitive people, employing an adaptive and flexible process. Strategic planning relates with strategy formulation. It is about correct decision making, not about the formulation of detailed plans. Some veterans in strategic management say strategic planning is not necessarily a continuous process. Strategic planning are events driven, not programmed. It is formed as preferences rather than as exercises in applied logic. However, in general strategic planning passes through the stages of
- Strategic option generation,
- Strategic options evaluation, and
- Strategic selection.