What is strategic planning and what makes a strategic thinker?

Strategic planning is used to determine the future of an organisation. It ensures the future is integrated into the decision-making process by thinking big, deep and long. Strategic thinking is about developing that strategy. Through strategic planning, the company is able to set priorities, channel energy and resources, and strengthen operations. Effective strategic planning defines where an organization is going and the actions needed to make it there. It also determines its success.

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

Sun Tzŭ c. 490 BC, Chinese military strategist

A Simple Strategic Planning Model

  • Interests = what the organisation wants to achieve
  • Environment = conditions controlling decisions
  • Strategy = plan for attaining interests given environmental opportunities and constraints

Strategic thinkers and planners are able to:

  • See the big picture
  • Initiate innovative ideas
  • Know the right questions to ask
  • Know when to ask searching questions
  • Apply lateral thinking to different situations
  • Challenge current processes, practices, and strategy
  • Unearth alternative approaches, solutions or methods

You will know when to test assumptions when the pain of continuing with ‘business-as-usual’ is greater than the fear of challenging yourself and others.

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