What is strategic planning?
Strategic planning is the process of setting the long-term strategy for an organisation. It may sound like a complicated concept, but it can all be boiled down to answering three questions:
- Where are we now? (The current state)
- Where do we want to be in the future? (The future state)
- How do we get there? (The strategy)
The hard part is answering those questions and having the confidence to commit to a course of action - especially if it's risky.
Those responsible for setting the strategy must be able to realistically analyse the capabilities of the organisation, analyse their competitors and markets that they play in, and use that information to make smart strategic decisions about what the organisation is going to do (e.g. what markets to play in, what products and services to offer) to get to where it wants to be in the future.
Get it wrong, and the survival of the organisation (and everyone's jobs) is at stake.
Why do I need to know this?
Everything you do should in some way be helping the organisation to achieve its goals and objectives. When you understand the strategic direction (i.e. where your organisation is headed) it helps you to align what you are doing to the goals and objectives of the organisation and ensure that you are headed in the same direction.
Also, if you have had limited exposure to these concepts, it should help you to better understand the reasoning behind some of the high-level decisions and initiatives within your organisation.