Strategic Planning

Strategic planning consists of the process of developing strategies to reach a defined objective. As we label a piece of planning "strategic" we expect it to operate on the grand scale and to take in "the big picture" (in contradistinction to "tactical" planning, which by definition has to focus more on the tactics of individual detailed activities). "Long range" planning typically projects current activities and programs into a revised view of the external world, thereby describing results that will most likely occur (whether the planner wants them or not!) "Strategic" planning tries to "create" more desirable future results by (a) influencing the outside world or (b) adapting current programs and actions so as to have more favorable outcomes in the external environment.

The grandiose ambitions, sense of power/influence and substantial egos associated with planners have helped to make the terms "strategic plan", "strategic planning" and "strategic planner" more common than their tactical equivalents, at least outside the military. Strategic planning takes place primarily in military situations (see military strategy), in business activities and in government. Within business, strategic planning may provide overall direction (called strategic management) to a company or give specific direction in such areas as:

* Financial strategies
* Human resource/organizational development strategies
* Information technology deployments
* Marketing strategy

Within government, strategic planning provides guidance for organizational management similar to that for business, but also provides guidance for the evolution or modification of public policy and laws. Areas of such public policy include:

* Funding of infrastructure and rate-setting (streets, water-supplies, sewers, and parks)
* Functional plans such as for land use, transportation, and water resources
* Growth management and/or comprehensive planning

But strategic planning can occur in a wide variety of activities from election campaigns to athletic competitions, as well as in strategic games such as chess. This article looks at strategic planning in a generic way so its content can apply to any of the above areas. An effective strategy will:

* Have the capability to obtain the desired objective
* Fit well both with the external environment and with an organization's resources and core competencies - it should appear feasible and appropriate * Have the capability of providing an organization with a sustainable competitive advantage - ideally through uniqueness and sustainability
* Prove dynamic, flexible, and able to adapt to changing situations
* Suffice on its own - specifically providing value or favorable outcomes without the need for cross-subsidization

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Strategic planning"

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