Strategic Planning Methodologies

Most strategic planning methodologies depend on a three-step process (sometimes called the STP process):

* Situation - evaluate the current situation and how it came about
* Target - define goals and/or objectives (sometimes called ideal state)
* Path - map a possible route to the goals/objectives

An alternative approach, although equally effective is called Draw-See-Think

* Draw - what is the ideal image or the desired end state?
* See - what is today's situation? What is the gap from ideal and why?
* Think - what specific actions must be taken to close the gap between today's situation and the ideal state?
* Plan - what resources are required to execute the activities?

In general terms, strategic planning can proceed incrementally or revolutionarily.

Strategy as logical incremental steps

* This is a formal approach. It typically involves 4 steps:

1. Information gathering and analysis. This includes an external assessment (such as environmental scanning), and an internal resource assessment.. Morphological analysis can be applied to both internal resource assessments and external assessments. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis may be used to assess those aspects of the organization and the environment that are important to achieving the objective of the strategic plan. See exact definitons of SWOTs [1].

2. Strategy-development. This involves determining vision, mission, objectives, and strategem-generation.

3. Strategic plan formulation. This includes strategy specification and resource allocation. It involves the detailed specification of goals, targets, and measurable objectives, sometimes called GTSM (Goals, Targets, Strategies, Measures)

4. Implementation, monitoring, adjustment, and control.

Strategy as revolution

* Identify the unquestioned beliefs in an industry/sector/organization and challenge them - look for opportunities to re-write the rules of the environment

* Look for major discontinuities in technology, lifestyle, habits, and geopolitics, and embrace such changes wholeheartedly - do not waste time making small incremental adjustments - stand by to create a completely new business model at any time

o More a mind-set than a formal technique
o Not rule or ritual-oriented, not reductionist, not reactive, not autocratic

Theorists frequently make the distinction between strategy and tactics. Strategy involves planning how to get where one wants to go. Tactics can potentially comprise the implementation of such over-arching plans. They deal with specific actions by particular people or by particular groups. Some theorists see it as a mistake to separate strategy and tactics. Constantinos Markides describes strategy formation and implementation (tactics) as an on-going, never-ending, integrated process requiring continuous re-assessment and reformation. He sees strategic planning as both planned and emergent - dynamic and interactive. J. Moncrieff also stresses strategy dynamics - he recognizes strategy as partially deliberate and partially unplanned. The unplanned element comes from two sources:

1. Emergent strategies - resulting from the emergence of opportunities and threats in the environment 2. Strategies in action - ad hoc actions by many people from all parts of an organization

Strategic plans typically look 5 or more years into the future. They differ in this respect from tactical plans (sometimes referred to as functional plans), which look 2 to 4 years into the future; and from operational plans [such as budgets] which have an annual scope. Henry Mintzberg could not identify one process that he would call "strategic planning". Instead he concluded that five types of strategies exist:

1. Strategy as plan
2. Strategy as ploy
3. Strategy as pattern
4. Strategy as position
5. Strategy as perspective

Goals, objectives and targets

Differences between a current situation and a future aspirational state can appear as a deficiency or as a gap. Objectives and goals serve to eliminate this gap. Some writers distinguish between goals (inexactly formulated aims that lack specificity) and objectives (aims formulated exactly and quantitatively as to time-frames and magnitude of effect). For example, a gambler might have the ambiguous goal: "I want to get lucky tonight". Converting this into an objective, it might become: "I want to make $100 at the blackjack table by 8 o'clock tonight." Not all authors make this distinction, preferring to use the two terms interchangeably.

In the financial arena, or when talking statistically, one often refers to goals as "targets".

People typically have several goals at the same time. "Goal congruency" refers to how well the goals combine with each other. Does goal A appear compatible with goal B? Do they fit together to form a unified strategy? "Goal hierarchy" consists of the nesting of one or more goals within other goal(s).

One approach recommends having short-term goals, medium-term goals, and long-term goals. In this model, one can expect to attain short-term goals fairly easily: they stand just slightly above one's reach. At the other extreme, long-term goals appear very difficult, almost impossible to attain. (Strategic management jargon sometimes refers to "Big Hairy Audacious Goals" (BHAGs) in this context.) Using one goal as a stepping-stone to the next involves goal sequencing. A person or group starts by attaining the easy short-term goals, then steps up to the medium-term, then to the long-term goals. Goal sequencing can create a "goal stairway".In an organizational setting, the organization may co-ordinate goals so that they do not conflict with each other. The goals of one part of the organization should mesh compatibly with those of other parts of the organization.

Individuals within organizations will typically have personal goals. Although individuals often have goals that oppose organizational goals (such as having as high a salary as possible), if personal goals diverge too incompatibly from organizational goals they may result in limited progress towards the mere organizational goals.

Many objectives, goals and strategies often emerge in actual planning meetings. An approach has been suggested for ordering multiple objectives and strategies in a logical fashion.

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

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