Strategic planning is the process of envisioning of the future of an organization. This involves carrying out some actions with the aim of achieving better outcome in the future.The whole process of strategic management is initiated by a thinking process which is later followed by action. Thinking involves the person in charge analyzing some aspects such as the driving force, the expectations, and the purpose of the organization as well as the manner in which the expected strategies can be delivered. Thinking is then followed by action. This ensures that the plans set are actually implemented.
It is important to come up with a proper strategic plan in the following cases: when there is a plan to introduce a new program, when there is a change in the management of an organization, when the organization faces a number of problems such as issues with the facilities as well as the location, when the program that had been initially implemented has failed or when the organization is facing changes that are rapid. It is also effective to carry out strategic management on a frequent basis such as once in every five years.
There is a need to clearly distinguish between long range planning and strategic planning. Long range planning was implemented in many organizations in the 1960s. It assumes the fact that it is possible to ensure the reliability of a planover the duration of its implementation by the use of the current knowledge of future conditions. Strategic management on the other hand thrives in an unpredictable surrounding.Other differences between the two can be brought out. Long range planning works on some assumptions such as it is expected that therewill be a continuation of the current trends, predictable future, views the business in the current position, periodically analyses the planning process as well as the fact that they work on a backwards trend towards achieving knowledge of events. Strategic planning on the other hand focuses on a future that is not predictable, thinks about what position the business is expected to be in, analyses the current situation of the business and comes up proper strategies based on the facts as well as the viewing of planning as a process which keeps on continuing.
Some principles of strategic planning include simplicity, continuity, immediate action as well as directive and restrictive nature.The advantages which can be brought about by strategic planning include the ability to build unity by decreasing the conflicts. Planning actually anticipates future problems hence an organization can develop solutions to them before they occur. The process of discussing about the organization and planning on the way forward brings people together. Team building can also result in the process since the discussions can actually bring everyone to the same level as they analyze important aspects that need to be looked into.The organization is also encouraged to look into important matters such as the vision, mission and the values of an organization.
In the planning process, it is easier for an organization to be able to know their weaknesses as well as their strong areas. This can help an organization to be able to know where change is required such as improvement to be done on the weak areas. The strengths can also be used to determine the marketing strategy by the use of the SWOT analysis. Strategic planning is very important for the growth of an organization. This is brought about by the better effectiveness in building and managing the organization.
Changes can also be anticipated by the organization since it is possible to identify the needs of the organization as well as to redefine objectives when need be so as to suit the target audience. Solutions to expected problems can also be developed early enough so as to avoid any kind of misfortunes in the future. Strategic planning is also important since it enables an organization to act and become proactive. This allows them to actually make things happen instead of letting things to happen on their own.
According to Allison and Kaye, strategic planning can also be done in three levels. These levels have a varied time period in which they are implemented. These are abbreviated, moderate and extensive levels. The abbreviated is the first level which seeks to obtain primary outcomes. It takes a very short time period which ranges from 1-2 days. Priorities of long term and short term nature can be done as well as general guidance to the staff on the way forward. The second level is the moderate level which also seeks outcomes such as discussion on the choices which are strategic, understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the organization, as well as properly describing the objectives and goals of the organization. This level can take a period of one to three months depending on the matters that are in discussion. The third level is the extensive level which involves an in-depthanalysis of the choices that have been made in the strategic process. It can take place over a period of six months or even more.
Thus proper strategic planning is important because it enables an organization to determine its schedule, priorities, and objectives, strategies, past trends, evaluation, objectives as well as possible assumptions and forecasts. With the appointment of a proper committee than it is possible for an organization to have a great strategy formed for them.