Strategic and Operational Planning

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The planning process is comprised of two key parts---strategic planning and operational planning. Strategic planning establishes an organization's long-term vision, objectives and strategies required to achieve the objectives. Operational planning is the execution phase. It outlines a framework for implementing the strategies and achieving the objectives.

Strategic Plan
The strategic plan covers a three to five year time frame. Annual reviews are conducted to assess if the plan is on track and if changes are required. An analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats provides a starting point. The strategic plan identifies the performance measures used to monitor progress towards achieving the objectives. Strategic plans are developed by senior management although departments can develop their own strategic plans under the umbrella of the corporate-level plan. Operational Plan

Operational planning covers a one year time frame. It outlines the actions required to implement each strategy. It identifies the resources needed, responsibilities and time frames for implementing actions. Operational plans govern day-to-day business and lay the foundation for preparing the annual budget. Personal objectives are defined at this level. The strategic plan lays the foundation for the operational plan. However, operational planning identifies strengths and weaknesses in the organization that, in turn, influence strategic direction. Neither process is developed in isolation from the other. The strategic objectives drive the programs and projects at the operational level. Without this linkage, projects cannot secure resources. Performance measures are identified at the strategic level and implemented at the operational level. Each functional area, such as customer service or manufacturing, requires an operational plan to outline actions that will achieve the desired results. A changing environment can render strategies obsolete. Organizations need to monitor...
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