Strategy is the backbone of your business – the direction you take to end up at your desired final destination … And every business needs a main strategy.
But is there a difference between strategy and strategic planning and implementation? The short answer is yes.
And in this blog you’ll learn the difference between strategy and strategic planning and implementation, and why they are both important to the growth and success of your big vision and your business.
Strategy VS strategic planning VS strategic implementation
- Strategy is broad and conceptual, strategic planning adds detail, and implementation is the detailed execution.
- Strategy is often more long-term, while strategic planning and implementation are more immediate and can be ongoing.
- Strategy focuses on the big picture, strategic planning on the details of achieving that picture, and implementation on the actual doing.
In essence, strategy sets the direction, strategic planning maps the route, and implementation is the journey of actually moving along that route.
What’s the difference between strategy and strategic planning and implantation?
What is strategy?
This is your vision of how you want to shape your business and what you want it to look like in the future. Strategy refers to the overarching approach and it’s designed to achieve a particular goal or set of goals.
Strategy is often more long-term and focuses on positioning and competitive advantage. It can be flexible and allows for adaptability to your changing circumstances.
What is strategic planning?
Strategic planning helps CEOs and businesses take their vision and turn it into a plan or roadmap to achieve your goals. A plan goes beyond the strategy itself to define the processes needed to achieve your final goal or set of goals.
A strategic plan involves a structured, step-by-step approach to define and refine your strategy. It’s detailed and involves not only setting specific goals, but determining actions to achieve these goals, and then allocating resources to each step and action.
Typically, strategic planning is conducted annually, I like to do mine and advise clients to do theirs in January at the start of the year.
Once you have the plan, you will need someone to execute the plan, without it you won’t be able to achieve anything.
What is strategic implementation?
The implementation stage is the journey you work toward to achieve your goal. It is essentially the process of executing the plans and strategies developed through strategic planning.
This stage can be challenging because it involves team, time and cost management skills and agility. You will need a strong team to help implement your strategy and strategic plan, and they should work according to the plan as much as possible.
Your implementation team is focused on the operational side of the strategy, and deals with the day-to-day tasks required to achieve the strategic objectives. Implementation happens continually and involves adjusting plans as needed.
What is the purpose of a strategy?
Forbes states that a strategy helps prepare an organisation for the future so you can see out our big vision.
“Strategy is forward-looking and that it should help organisation’s focus on other things than just the short-term and day-to-day activities.”
The power of strategic planning
If you think about travelling from Melbourne to Paris … your strategy to get there is via a plane – and hopefully first class (we can all dream right?!).
Strategic planning is the twin engines of that plane that move it forward, just like propelling your business forward towards its goals.
Strategic implementation is the pilot! You’re not getting anywhere until the pilot starts those engines! And your pilot has the map and means to get you to your destination.
The benefits of strategic planning are huge!
- Clarity in purpose
Strategic planning brings a laser focus to your big vision. It achieves the “what” by setting clear objectives, defines the “how” through meticulously crafted strategies, outlines the “when” with well-timed milestones, and assigns the “who” by specifying responsibilities.
This clarity acts as a guiding light, ensuring that every team member understands how they and their role fit into that big vision.
- Alignment and accountability
Keeping everyone on the same page is not just a metaphor; it’s a strategic imperative of strategic planning and, in turn, implementation.
Strategic planning provides a framework, aligning individual tasks and team efforts with your long-term and short-term goals.
With clearly defined tasks and milestones, each team member is equipped with a roadmap for implementation. This helps with a sense of ownership but also accountability.
- Enhanced collaboration
The relationship team members have contributes to the productivity of your business, and strategic planning can help to improve these collaborations.
When you combine strategic planning with your day-to-day operations, a group of people transforms into a powerful unit working together towards your big vision.
- Resource optimisation
It’s important to note that strategic planning is not just about setting goals, it’s about using your resources wisely to achieve those goals.
That includes your team members, who’s in what seat and what else is needed to implement the strategic plan.
It’s time to get excited about strategic planning
I’m calling all business women to get excited about strategic planning! Why? Because it’s all about the direction you want your business to take – and that’s exciting! Just imagine where your strategic plan will take your big vision.
Strategic planning includes:
- Objectives and goals.
- Prioritising key milestones.
- Understanding and allocating resourcs, including who the key team members are and their responsibilities. It also includes the types of equipment and tech tools needed.
- Devising metrics (these are your KPI measures).
- Identifying associated risks and have a contingency plan to make changes as quickly as possible.
- Being agile to overcome any issues that arise so you can shift your approach to work around them.
- Documentation – document it all, including the good and bad, to help create a rinse and repeat process, and improve your next project.
- reate a central document that the team can refer to during the implementation stage, include guidelines, procedures, processes and so on.
- Final approval before implementation begins.
While having a strategic plan is a good thing and the only way to go, it’s also important that you execute your plan and now is the best time to start your strategic planning and execution.
What is an implementation plan?
Now that you know about strategy and strategic planning, the last piece of the puzzle is strategic implementation.
According to blog.bit.ai, “the implementation plan facilitates the execution of a plan, idea, model, design, specification, standard, algorithm, or policy by presenting clear implementation steps that need to follow. Thus, an implementation plan is the documented steps you need to take to successfully achieve your implementation pursuits.”
Implementation plans are often created to support your strategic plan. (Source: blog.bit.ai)
Download my free Strategic Planning Template
To help you move your business in a direction that is right for you (and your business), download my free Strategic Planning Template today!
It’s been designed to give you the structure for your business planning success. You can also use it as an easy-to-update communications tool that you share with your team so everyone is on the same page.
Use this template as a guide for reviewing your business, identifying opportunities for growth, and developing your operations and team.