Strategic planning is more stressed primarily in military operations, in the government and in business activities. In a business, strategic planning provides guidance regarding financial and marketing strategies, human resources, information technology adjustments and orientation of the company in general.
Within a government, strategic planning gives timely guidance for total governmental management and provides norms for the formulation of public policy and new laws. Exploitation of land and water resources, infrastructure development funding for water and waste water management, development of roads and parks as well as functional plans for land use and transportation, all come under governmental strategic planning guidance.
Needless to say, strategic planning guidance can be put to use in any activity that requires a coordinated effort of more than one person, whether it be entertainment, sports, arts, literature or even warfare.
According to Caleb Laieski, Strategic planning guidance is meant to guide persons or organizations starting the strategic planning process for the first time and also those reviewing their existing plans. Accordingly, the guidance should never be considered as a guidebook or secret formula for success. Strategic planning guidance basically involves evolving simple and easy to follow steps towards an orchestrated, time-bound planning process. Such a route will allow the desired flexibility and a uniformity of approach useful for all the parties involved.
Of the many strategic planning guidelines, there are six factors that are worth mentioning. The first is the Mission of an organization and why or how it should be achieved. Situation Analysis studies the present status of the organization in terms of its mission, its future, the customers and specific strengths or weaknesses. The organization’s Vision and Strategic Goals come next. It tries to find out what the organization expects to achieve and identifies the key performance indicators. Next, you have Strategic Issues that point to obstacles or barriers facing the organization. Strategies or plans-of-action to overcome these barriers and reach the outlined goals takes priority at this point. Strategies decide the directions to be followed by the organization. Finally, Program Planning deals with plans and ideas that translate strategies into concrete, well-thought out actions.
Strategic planning is thus a complex process that requires careful coordination and adequate skills.