Strategic planning often gets a black eye in organizational life because it is so often a canned process that is forced to fit into a current situation. Teams of people engage in what is often characterized as navel gazing eventually producing a document that quickly gets shelved or worse, tossed. To many, it seems like a colossal waste of time and money with little relevance to the work at hand or to the strategic direction of the organization.

The problem with the typical approach to strategic planning is that it is thought of as an event that has an end point, rather than as a process that becomes part of how organizations do their work. Effective strategic planning from, is an emergent process that reflects current reality and adapts to a constantly changing environment ultimately resulting in an organization continually engaged in strategic thinking.

Strategic thinking is all about finding solutions to what are typically characterized as adaptive problems, as opposed to technical problems. Technical problems are well defined with known solutions that can be solved by one person or organization. These solutions can be implemented quickly and usually require change in one or a few places within the organizational boundaries. A more traditional style of command and control leadership is very effective when dealing with technical problems.

Strategic planning involves advance preparation for the future endeavours that your business or company might face in the future. This is a step-by-step process with exact and clear objectives and products that can be evaluated and implemented. In other words, strategic planning is anticipating solutions to a problem based on the present situation.

Strategic planning looks 3 to 5 years ahead giving enough preparation time to face and overcome difficult situations. It uses strong indicators to know what kind of problems will be facing in the future. Some of these indicators include:

Census demographic statisticsEconomic indicatorsGovernment policiesTechnological advances

Why Strategic Planning
Some people might ask why strategic planning when you can do crisis management. Well, aside from the fact that it will make you feel less nervous when you have a plan prepared ahead of time, here are more reasons why you should consider strategic planning:

It will determine the mission/vision of your company – This is particularly true for those who are just starting with their business. It would be best to determine what are the missions and visions of your company. This way you will be able to see the path that you need to take towards success.It will influence the future – Since you are always thinking and planning ahead, for the future of your business then this will somewhat influence what the future of your company will look like.Awareness of the facilities that you need – You will be able to determine the facilities and other things that you need to improve your business when you start planning ahead of time.To provide strong leadership – A good leader must lead his/her people towards the future and you will be able to do this when you have a strong plan for the future not only for the organization but also for all the employees.It will inspire everyone – Lastly, having a clear vision of your organization 3 to 5 years from now will inspire everyone to work harder. They will feel more secured and therefore they will be able to do their work efficiently.

These are the importance of strategic planning. If you are just starting with your own business then you might as well prepare a strategic plan that will keep your business strong and prepared for various challenges and trials.