We find the importance of strategic planning in the huge impact of its decisions.
The corporate strategic planning sits above all other plans in the organization.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” - Alan Lakein.
Many of today's struggles had their seeds sown in the past. We failed to think ahea . . .d.
Many current operating problems began in the past. Weak or no strategic plans often lead to days you’d rather forget. The importance of strategic planning is in reducing these operating nightmares.
The kind of strategic planning we are talking about is about the organization as a whole. Get it right and you improve the whole organization. Get it wrong and ... !
Strategic planning can provide direction to the management of the organization. It also guides specific areas. These include - finance, marketing, organizational development, human resources strategy, and others. These other plans are for parts or functions of the organization. The corporate strategic plan shapes these other types of 'strategy'.
So it is not product planning. It is not production planning. It is not cash flow planning, or workforce planning. It is not any of the many other sorts of planning done in organizations. All these are for planning parts or sections or departments of organizations.
Many companies, even quite small ones, already use product development managers. They have marketing directors, production planners and finance controllers. These specialists look after the planning of these various parts.
When you do strategic planning, you do not want to do all these again under a fancy new name. If a strategic plan spells out detailed plans for these special areas, it is overreaching. It can become an initiative-sapping set of edicts from Head Office. The results can be cynical compliance.
The importance of planning strategically is not in the degree of control or supervision. It is in the scale, time horizon, and importance of the decisions it embodies.
Strategic planning is corporate. You can only have a strategic plan for an autonomous or quasi-autonomous organization. You should not have one for any section, part or fragment of an organization. The exception is when it is quasi-autonomous. This would include profit centres, or wholly owned subsidiaries. Calling all kinds of plan 'strategic' is a tribute to the value of strategic planning.
Some planners seem to think that strategic planning means planning the whole organization. They produce details of what is going to happen in every corner of the organization for years to come. It is possible to plan in great detail for short periods. It is also possible to plan for very long periods, although only in outline. To try to plan in meticulous detail over long periods is a waste of time.
Why do some ‘strategic planners’ do this?
Are they trying to cultivate mystique around strategic planning? They see it as a special technical knowledge. This is not where the importance of strategic planning lies.
Is this is about the self-importance of planners? Are they striving for an unattainable perfection? This is unrealistic in the face of the messy reality of an uncertain world?
Few managers are able to take part in planning and facilitate the planning process, and do both well
Help is not far away!
So great is the importance of strategic planning, do not leave it to chance. Help from an experienced facilitator makes sense. It pays to have a facilitator to guide the process. Someone from outside can see and say things that the insiders do not feel able to discuss. Would you like to talk to an experienced facilitator? Go here.
The importance of strategic planning is that it is planning for the corporate whole.
It is not business planning. It can and should inform and shape the business plan.
It is not production planning, although it may guide choices of what to produce.
It is not workforce or technology planning or any other type of partial planning. It is not marketing. This is even though it guides who to market to, and where to market.
It is not coordinating, forecasting or budgeting.
It is a process designed to yield a corporate strategic plan. This is a statement of strategies for the long-term performance of the organization.
The purpose of the corporate planning process described elsewhere on this site. It is to reach an enthusiastic consensus among the top executives. The consensus is on the handful of decisions. These decisions enable the organization to embrace the future.
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