When we travel, we usually have a clear destination in mind. We know what mode of transport we want to use, how long it will take to get there, who is travelling with us and what route we are going to take. This is because we have spent a good amount of time beforehand planning our trip.
You would not simply turn up at an airport with no luggage or booked ticket and expect to end up at your ideal destination (although some more adventurous people might argue that is the best way to travel). Instead, you would have to waste time with last minute paperwork, have limited options, and you might end up going to a less desirable place, or you might even have to go home and start all over again.
The same can be said of planning a business or organization. If there is no clear plan, the owners or managers will have no way of knowing what outcome they want to achieve or how to get there. Successful organizations use strategic planning to map out the best way to achieve their desired outcome.
A strategic plan is a document created specifically for an organization, which clearly states the organization’s core values, mission statement and objectives. It covers the available resources such as staff, supplies and technology, and it states how these are to be used for the advancement of the overall business. It is a valuable tool that can be used to measure progress at any stage and to determine when all the objectives have been met. Strategic planning is the process used to create a strategic plan.