Strategic Planning for Organizations

Before any other description be made, it is always better to make the most precise definition of what really is strategic planning. We know that it is common and readily seen and used by many organizations, especially the ones that are dedicated in business. Strategic planning is a tool. Specifically, it is the one that is used in management, or simply we can just say that it is a management tool, and like other management tools, it is focused only on its one and only objectives. (www. There are many definitions offered by resources in management, but in the end, they all boils down to one. Strategic planning is simply a tool that is concern with the future, or that guides or gives direction to the future of an organization (sp.pdf). It is the plan concerned with the present organization or management based on the projected or assumed future.

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( In other words, it is simply the map that the company or any organization used so that they can manage the present by the basis of what may happen to the future, and at the same time, they can prepare for the future by establishing a well-written strategic plan.So, why really is it important to have a strategic plan? There are simple reasons why the management staffs come up with doing a plan for the company or for the organization.

During assessment, they are concern with the present state of the company and the way that they arrive at that state. This is also the time that they are thinking of what’s next, and so they set up goals. And, finally to fulfill their goal, they have to have a strategic plan (sp.pdf).  Another simple reason that established the popularity of the strategic plan is the unpreparedness of oneself or an organization to the changing environment. The notion that the future is very unpredictable leads to the thinking that we should only act when the change is already here.

In this situation, most of the organizations are just losing their time for the effort to cope with the new changes brought up by many other changes ( In fact, there are many ways on predicting or at least making higher probability of the prediction of the future.

There are demographic statistics, census maps, economic charts and graphs and other information that can help a specific company. In this statement, we are making clear that strategic planning is highly considerate of what might happen in the future.There are really many importances that can be derived from planning or making a strategic plan for an organization. First, it forces an organization to look into the future. Without a strategic plan, all that the organization can do is to wait for the time to elapsed and when some actions take place or some problem arise; they are forced to respond to it.

Second, it gives awareness to the welfare of the members and the condition of the facilities. Strategic plan are really concerned with the needs of the organization. Third, it makes the management and the members unified by setting them in a place where they are all focused on one objective. Thus, the sense of teamwork is improved through this practice. Fourth, it promotes effective leadership since the one that do the strategic plan takes care of everything and the followers he had becomes adept of the beliefs he can part to them. Fifth, it promotes the sense of responsibility and accountability.

Since it is still, like the ordinary management, concern with the staffing, every member of the organizations feels their importance in accomplishing the same goal that is assigned to them. If one of them becomes or travel away from the common path they are supposed to walk in, then one must take him back.The incorporation of the predicted future condition or the status in the future to the strategic plan is what makes it different from the long-term planning (www.allianceonline. org).

Although they have both considerations for the future, they have different view on the reliability of the conditions they predicted might happen on the future. In long-term planning, the predicted future condition is presumed to be highly probable that they make the plan suitable for the predicated condition only. On the other hand, the strategic planning assumes the error of approximation and thus makes the plan flexible enough to cope with the changes that might happen still and are not on their predicted future conditions. Thus, the only difference lies on the flexibility of the plan or the strategies.Since we are starting to make distinctions, let us make the definition clearer by making clear description of what strategic planning is not. Strategic planning is not a left-to-right precedence formula that goes with the steps one then two and so on (www. Although it a permanent written document that specifies a finite set of instructions, the strategic plan is a continuous changing plan that requires always the updated version of it. This statement is simply extending the value of flexibility of strategic planning.Now that we had laid many things about its importance, it is still valuable to describe the possible disadvantages of the strategic planning. Note that it is focused on the changing future, thus the accuracy or the practicality of the plan is not assumed and will always be not perfect (McNamara).

Since it is always based on approximations and predictions, errors are inevitable, and thus the implementation of the plan is not guaranteed a success.To make such errors less or make approximations and predictions as accurate as possible, the strategic framework or the development of the strategic plan must be handled with great care and concentration. There are various parts that consists a strategic plan. They are the mission statement or the purpose, the vision statement, the core values of the employees and the organization, and the strategies, goal and plan.The mission statement or the purpose simply describes the role of the company or the organization to its audience. It is simply the essence for the existence of the organization (Heathfield).

It is the responsibility of the organization. Simple enough, it can be described as what really is the company or organization is doing. Many forms of mission statements exist. There are some forms that has an overall stated mission statements and then there are specific mission statements following or incorporated in the overall mission statements (www.managementhelp.

org). Heathfield laid some examples and one of them is the mission statement of the Wal-mart that says something about the same opportunity they gave for the rich and the not-so-rich, by selling quality products that are affordable. I have known of mission statement and I think I saw it in my previous schools, and by that time I’m not really aware of what that is, but now I think, I should be more attentive with the details of such statements.A well-written mission statement, I think, must be precise but still should not be so specific that it will limit the responsibility of the organization. It should be concise and direct to the point so that confusion can be lessen. And of course, it must be comprehensible and suitable not only for the management but for the employees to understand.

Although most may do mission or have purpose for business or commercial use only, the social responsibility of one company or the organization must not be put aside. The mission statement must consider the welfare and the benefits of the consumer without losing the business factors or the commercial context of the mission statement.Mission statements also have relationship between the planned change and unplanned change. Since mission is about the present, any planned change in the objectives and/or the instructions that governs and organization must be reflected in the mission statement. For example, if an organization is doing delivery in their localities, then their mission has something to do about the local deliveries. If they decided to have broader scope, that is, they planned to make deliveries in the neighboring country, then their mission must has something to do with international delivery.

The same is true with the unplanned change, the only difference is that the unplanned change happens fast that the revision of the mission statement might be delayed.The next one is the statement or the part is confused with the mission statement. It is the vision statement. Some use this interchangeably or thought that they are similar or under a similar consideration, but actually they are not. If mission or purpose speaks for the present obligation of the organization, the vision statement on the other hand, is concern with the future. Simply, the vision statement speaks of what the organization wants to attain or what status should it be (Heathfield).

Like the mission statement, the vision statement must be precise and concise or straightforward. Being concise, employees or the member of the organization can readily memorize them, thus they are more likely to be accomplished (Heathfield). It should be practical and attainable. It is just alright to dream big, but setting an impossible or seemingly impossible vision should not be. Vision statement gives direction to the organization.

It is the “mission-to-be” of an organization.The important thing about the vision is the implementation. Since it is the one that shapes the future of an organization, then it must implemented and be memorized by the heart of every. Even in a simple school clubs or organization, the members must understand and implement the vision, and so as the mission because they are really important. According to Heathfield, companies that understand the vision and mission statements have an almost thirty percent greater returns than those who are not. Also, workers in the United States, most of them, do not think that what they are doing is consistent with what is stated as their purpose or mission.

Mission and vision statements do not only speak of the present and the future of the company but it also concerns the satisfaction of the member of the organization, and they do help in their performance.In a company with many stockholders, their reactions and ideals collectively must be reflected in both the mission and the vision statements. Besides the fact that it will not create argument, it also shows the unity and the sameness of their ends in their work.Core values will be the next to be discussed. If the mission and vision has been well-defined, then it is important to set values.

Values are pleasant or helpful characteristics that benefit one or a group (Heathfield). Each values of the member that are agreed upon are common to them forms the core values and others may have defined or named it as corporate culture. They decided the name simply because it seems that the values in the corporate culture are the ones that guide every member in their everyday work life. They are important because they are responsible for decision making, and the upbringing of confidence, and their personal relation with other members of the organization (McNamara). In doing a strategic plan, the core values must be defined carefully so as not to exaggerate values such as ambition and not to include values that is not consistent with the mission and the vision of the organization. Also, some strategic plan sometimes includes values that are important or will not help them attain their main goal.

I think, though values differ from person to person, it is still important that an organization imposed a set of values so that argument can be avoided and consistency and harmony in the workplace might be improved.The last part that consist the strategic plan is the strategy, goal and plans. Some called them collective as action planning (

The last part, I may say is the core of every strategic plan since it is the evaluation of the future. It says something about the action that may take place in the future. In setting up or writing the action plan, the first one to consider is the strategy or the objectives. They are small steps in the strategic plan, or specifically on the action plan, that says what should be the first thing to do, then the second and so on (McNamara). For example, the strategy maybe of a delivery company is to invade international trade.

After making specific objectives, goals then can be formulated. As always goals must be SMART.  That means, that goal must be specific in the sense that it can readily be understood; must be measurable so that every aspect of the goal can be calculated and thus, be more precise in terms of resource and time allocation. Goals should also attainable since it will sooner be pursue; realistic and resource-oriented and they must be time-based whether it is long-term or short term only. Goals are wider or broader in scope than the objectives. In other words, objectives are the building blocks of the goal (www. Thus, to accomplish the strategic goal build, each of its objectives must be fulfilled. The last one is to make plans or actions. Plan must be composed of a finite set of steps that specifies clear instructions.

Usually, a strategic plan has many action plans. The reason in doing this is that strategic plan, again, should cope with unpredictable changes that might happen during the implementation period. And by accomplishing the action planning, the steps in strategic planning are done.Of course, after having a well-written strategic plan, the next thing to do is to implement. The problem with most company is that they left out the strategic plans in their shelves.

Bad for them, since they are like trashing their future and not ensuring the future of the company or the organization. The key to the implementation of the strategic plan is to make the members aware of the writings on the plan ( Unless they understand what is written there, they will still do the same thing and have no direction in doing their work.

They must also be open to changes and be moved by the management so that their work will still be efficient.The problem with strategic planning is the dynamic changes in the environment. For a business organization, even if they had accomplish a strategic plan suitable to cope with what they expect to happen in the economy of their country, there are still conditions that can make their strategic plan a failure. For example, the current trend in the United States economy is that the economy is stable and is predicted to stay in that level until two years from now. If a drastic economic turn over happens, then the strategic plan might not handle the adjustments needed to cope with the new conditions.

Thus, strategic plan becomes no use here and the new or revised plan must be readily made so that the business will not become bankrupt or income-less sooner.Today, the economic condition that greatly affects the world market is globalization. The new heights of technology attained by the knowledge of humans caused a dramatic effect of the international and federal economy that they must be hurried to make strategic plans that can accommodate the adjustments. The technology, as stated will sooner, make traditional companies banished. Those that uses traditional machines or manual labors in production can be totally defeated by those that uses higher forms of technology such as bigger and new machines and robotics.

Some of them are smaller companies or the small-scale industries that run through a small capital. I think they are the one that should make strategic plans sooner. There are also political issues that sometimes become a hindrances or a contradiction to the assumed conditions in the strategic plan.  Sometimes, the negotiation of the consumer and the producer is the market becomes a failure that the political system needs to interfere, and in doing this, the assumptions made in the strategic plan becomes outdated or not relevant, that’s why, like the domino effect, every part of strategic plan is affected.The future is still not defined and cannot be accurately presumed even if many scientific forecast and predictions are made. The main purpose of strategic planning is to ensure the future of the business and at the same time make improvements.

There are some sayings that strategic planning will never be perfect, but still it is important to consider every aspect of it. Surely, what will happen to the company or organization cannot be predicted accurately. Through strategic planning, an organization somehow can have a wall to back up when everything seems to be falling down.ReferenceBasic Overview of Various Strategic Planning Models. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from http://humanresources., Carter. Basic Description of Strategic Planning.

Retrieved July 20, 2007 from http://www.managementhelp.

org/plan_dec/str_plan/basics.htm.Strategic Planning and Goal Setting. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from

htm.Strategic Planning Handbook. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from sphand.pdf.