Monday, October 19, 2015

Strategy Planning vs. Strategy Management

Strategic planning is the glove; Strategic Management is the hand inside the glove.

Strategic planning is the process of determining the strategy and how it will be implemented. Strategic management is the continuous planning, analysis, monitoring, and assessment of all that is necessary for an organization to meet its visions, missions, goals, and objectives. Strategic management can include strategic planning but also includes the actual implementation, evaluation, and modification of the strategy. There is absolutely no doubt that many people use the terms very imprecisely and that often blurs the lines between the words and results in confusion. In more detail, what are the differences between strategic planning and strategic management?

Strategic planning is the glove; Strategic Management is the hand inside the glove. And sometimes when strategies change, the hand adjusts the shape of the glove. Everything that we do, we plan, implementation, monitoring, assessment name it, it is planned. Therefore, true planning is the glove, management is the hand in the glove. What is the importance of managing strategy as against the management of a strategic plan? It is more important to manage the strategy than it is to manage the plan. the strategic plan as merely the documentation of the strategy process. Thus, at the beginning of the implementation phase, there should be no difference in managing a strategy and managing the plan. However, no plan is perfect. As the implementation proceeds, it is to be expected that some changes will need to be made in the original plan. If you are managing the plan, those necessary changes might not be made because if they were, then the plan would not be "the plan." However, if you are managing the strategy, then you will make the necessary changes to the plan in order to accomplish the strategic goals. More often than not, strategic management is an iterative continuum with nonlinear steps.

In many organizations, there is a discontinuity or even a chasm between ‘strategy’ and ‘execution’; between desired and delivered performance and results. In respect of gaps between strategy planning and execution, the strategy is a statement of ‘higher intent’ but is not a detailed plan in itself. A strategic plan may outline the preferred course of action at the outset of implementing the strategy – provide direction – but this will inevitably evolve. If planned in detail as far ahead as the end state, much planning time and effort will be wasted. This performance gap is actually the result of the gaps caused by internal ‘friction.’ Strategy Management provides coherence between actual capability and the objectives that have been defined, and addresses in outline how the strategic objectives will be achieved, which includes exploiting your center of gravity. It provides a rationale and framework for operational and tactical actions. There is also the gap between desired actions and the actual actions of people at the front line. Since the actual actions of people are what lead to organizational outcomes and results, if there is a difference between actual and desired actions, especially in a dynamic environment, it is not surprising that there will be a gap between actual and desired results.

The operative phrase in Strategy Management  is to "build the capabilities." The key here is engaging the whole organization in knowing and understanding the key strategies of the business and why the leadership has chosen them. Avoid these capability and culture gaps such as, an inability to build momentum and increase the tempo of operations; ·a waste of time, emotional energy and other resources invested in work that, while it may be well executed in itself, is unaligned to the bigger picture; the burnout of people; a cumbersome organization, lacking agility to thrive and survive. There is a logical scenario in building strategic capability/fulfillment into the culture of an organization:
-Communicate strategies in the connection of corporate goals and vision or objectives for the company.
-Enroll/name champions for each key (4-5) strategies committed to the outcome.
-Create working teams for each strategy that determine what actions are required "by-whens" promised by each member for accountability.
-Consistent meetings for progress, managing breakdowns, etc.
-Quarterly reports to the organization at large on each strategic initiative.
-Acknowledgments and celebrations for breakthroughs and successes.

Strategic agility can be achieved via well-integrating strategy planning and strategy management seamlessly, strategic agility means that strategic planning becomes a "living process" with regular evaluation, scanning, listening, revisiting and potential course correction. The forward-looking companies realize that the traditional management is marred by inherent strategic and organizational constraints, and they are looking for alternatives, therefore, the agile strategy is on the way.


A lot of good points in here Pearl, thank you. I have typically combined much of what you have under Management into Planning. This enables the Planning process to be seen as not a one-and-done but a living process as you describe. That leaves room for us to drive Strategic Execution as the second key process, enabling a truly end to end view of strategy. All your points are valid, just a reshuffling to instill a simplified communication capability of "plan to execute" which provides a direct feedback path from the executable to strategic intent. I'm sure others in this group have their own variant. Well written, thanks again.

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