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What is Strategic Planning?

WHAT IS STRATEGIC PLANNING?

“Strategic planning is a system approach that is continuous rather than episodic in nature. The plan provides direction and offers a road map for the institution to follow. It tells us why an organization is doing what it is doing, how it will do it, and how well it is doing it.”
          -Thomas J. Haas, President, GVSU, 2006

Strategic planning is a process intended to engage stakeholders in building a commitment to a particular purpose and direction for the organization that will then guide the allocation of the organization’s resources. Strategic planning is an iterative process that is conceptual and collaborative and involves problem-solving and decision-making. As author and management expert Peter Drucker states, “Planning is not an event. It is a continuous process of strengthening what works and abandoning what does not, of making risk taking decisions with the greatest knowledge of the potential effect, of setting objectives, appraising performance and results through system feedback, and of making ongoing adjustments as conditions change.”

WHAT IS A STRATEGIC PLAN?

A strategic plan serves as a road map or blueprint for improving the performance of the organization. The plan includes a vision of what the organization aspires to be, a mission stating the purpose of the organization, values that guide organizational behavior and culture, outcomes representing what will be achieved if the vision and mission are realized, and objectives and strategies that form the action plan for actualizing the outcomes.

WHY IS STRATEGIC PLANNING IMPORTANT?

Author Charles Handy in The Art of Paradox articulates the realities of our world today, “We’ve got to live with chaos and uncertainty, to try to be comfortable with it and not to look for certainty where we won’t get it.” Today’s world challenges us with uncertainty, chaos, and unpredictability. For an organization to gain stability and balance in such an environment, it is essential for the organization to have a vision and mission connected to innovative strategies.