A strategic plan is therefore a document that is used to communicate the goals of the organization and the actions required to obtain those goals and all other crucial elements created during the planning process. To put it simply, strategic planning determines where the organization will be over the next year or more, how it is going to achieve its goals, and how it will know whether or not its goals have been achieved. Strategic planning focuses on the entire organization while business plans focus on particular products or services. There are several models, perspectives that are used in strategic planning. The way a person develops a strategic plan largely depends on the leadership, complexity, size, environment, expertise of planners and culture of the organization.
There are different methodologies and frameworks for strategic planning. There are no absolute rules on the right framework, many follow patterns that are similar and have common characteristics. Many frameworks follow several basic steps: 1) assessment or analysis where there is development of a clear understanding of internal and external environments, 2) Strategy formulation where high standard strategies are developed and there is documentation of basic organizational level strategic plan, 3) Strategic execution that involves translation of high level plan into operational planning, 4) Evaluation stage which involves refinement and assessment of performance, communications, culture, data reporting and strategic management issues.
There are five elements of a successful strategic plans, they are vision, mission statement, critical success factors, strategies for action and prioritized implementation strategy. These elements form the foundation for an achievable and workable business plan. The strategic planning process should explore appropriate questions about the purpose of the business. The successes of each and every step are interdependent.
In conclusion a strategic plan is a very dynamic document. A successful strategic plan is defined as a usable. An effective plan that informs the organization’s activities and its long-range view, and one that creates meaningful improvements in the effectiveness, relevance and capacity. It drives the business and therefore must be integrated into every aspect of the organization so that every employee can help in moving the company in the same desired direction. Each and every mission and strategy is a waste of time if it is not implemented. In order to be truly successful, the plan should not gather dust on the shelf. Strategic planning is about keeping the plan active and knowing your end results while looking at where your milestones should be. The near term actions should be planned in advance and progress should be evaluated quarterly. When the company has a clear plan and is run according to plan, then it is likely to move from where it is to where it wants be thus ensuring success.