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Strategic Management: Planning

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Strategic Management: Planning

Strategic management can be used to determine an organization's mission, vision, values, goals, objectives, roles and responsibilities, etc. Strategic planning is a management tool. As with any management tool, it is used to help an organization do a better job. It is used to focus its energy, to ensure that members of the organization are working toward common goals, to assess and fine-tune the organization's direction in response to change. Essentially, strategic management is an effort to produce decisions and actions that guide what an organization is, what the organization does, and why it does it. Being strategic means being clear about the organization's objectives, being aware of the organization's resources, and incorporating both into being consciously responsive to a dynamic environment. The process is about planning because it involves intentionally setting goals (i.e., choosing a future) and developing an approach to achieving those goals. The process is disciplined and calls for a certain protocol to keep it focused. The process raises questions that help planners observe experience, test assumptions, gather information about the current situation, and anticipate the future environment. Finally, the strategic planning process is about fundamental decisions and actions because choices must be made in order to answer the sequence of questions mentioned above. The strategic plan is ultimately no more, and no less, than a set of decisions about what to do, why to do it, and how to do it. Because it is impossible to do everything that needs to be done in one day, strategic planning implies that some decisions and actions are more important than others. Much of the strategy depends on making the difficult decisions about what is most important to achieving success. The strategic planning process can be tricky and even cluttered, but it is always defined by the basic thoughts outlined above.

Strategic planning is only useful if it supports strategic thinking and leads to strategic management. Strategic thinking means making an assessment using three key requirements: having a definite purpose be in mind; understanding of the environment, particularly of the forces that affect or impede the fulfillment of that purpose; and creativity in developing effective responses to those forces. It follows, then, that strategic management is the application of strategic thinking to the job of leading an organization. It is critical in strategic planning to consider how an organization will accomplish its goals. There are a variety of definitions for strategies, but everyone basically agrees that a strategy is the answer to the questions, "what?" and "how?" There are several different categories of strategies



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