Strategy and Planning: Knowing the Difference Can Make the Difference

Strategy and Planning: What’s the difference between strategy and planning? Knowing the answer to this can make all the difference in executing on your strategy. Here is my take on the distinctions between the two:

Strategy: The art of designing several possible responses to opportunities and threats in your chosen markets. These responses take into account the relative strengths and weaknesses within your organization, and what you intend to do about them.

Planning: The discipline associated with setting out your goals, priorities, deliverables, resources and schedules to deliver on your key strategic responses, while staying flexible to allow for shifts in strategies.

Why does the difference between strategy and planning matter? Well for one, strategies need to allow for such things as competitive response…you’re not just making a single move on the strategy chessboard – each time you make a visible move, your competitors will make theirs, and you need to either stick to your chosen strategy or make a shift in strategy. There are other factors that may call for a shift in strategy, such as economic and social conditions, new technology, market shifts, etc. Planning on the other hand is always a slave to strategy. Therefore, you shouldn’t be making major mid-stream changes in your plans unless your strategy calls for it.

So that’s it – strategy planning involves making planning subservient to strategy, and making strategy sensitive to shifts in your competitive, economic and social environments.

Please leave a comment below if you have an  interest in strategy and planning…

Brian Ward