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Strategic Planning: What is it?

Strategic planning should not be confused with business planning, operational planning, forecasting or budgeting. The twin hallmarks of strategic planning are the great size of the decisions and their long term significance over many years. It is essential to get these top decisions right before going on to these other, lower and shorter range, forms of planning:  The strategic decisions are the ones that will alter the very destiny of the organization; those other types of planning are for setting out the actions required to carry out the strategies in increasing detail.

Strategic planning must therefore be undertaken at the highest levels of management. The selection of the members of a Planning Team is critical. Since no strategic plan can be put into action unless it has been approved by the CEO, it follows that he or she should lead the strategic planning team. The members should be limited to his or her most senior colleagues.

This team should progress through a carefully devised sequence of steps which are described in the pages of this website. Because of the importance of this top planning project we strongly recommend the temporary appointment of someone with experience of strategic planning to guide and steer the team through the planning process.

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The process fosters a real sense of ownership and has a positive effect on morale...

— Michael Chaney, Wesfarmer's ex CEO, now Chairman of National Australia Bank