I am going to answer my own question right from the beginning: the purpose of strategic planning is, at its foundation, to align a company’s mission and their vision.

If you are wondering why I say this, think of this: without a vision or a mission, a plan exists in a vacuum. Your mission states exactly what the name implies: your mission. Your vision says where you want to be. Your strategic plan says how you are going to get from intention to realization.

So if you aren’t building you strategy around your mission and vision, then you aren’t really doing anything. That is why organizations that develop plans without considering their mission and vision often fail in their execution. In fact, it is estimated that about 70% of strategic plans are never executed. Thus, the purpose of strategic planning is missed altogether when it is not properly crafted and executed.

See? The purpose of strategic planning really is, or should be, to help you align your mission with your vision.

Mission, Values, and Vision

The difference between a strategic plan and a business plan is a matter of projection. Your business plan is something you are trying to accomplish now. Your strategic plan is a longer-term goal designed to really move your business forward.

That is why your mission, values and vision all play such big parts in the ultimate purpose of your strategic planning process.

In the past, I have talked a lot about how to create your mission, goals and visions, so I won’t go into it too much here. However, as a reminder, I will say that if you don’t have these things, then you should definitely sit down and create them before you ever even try to create a strategic plan.

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Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

Your goals, objectives, strategies and tactics are those guiding factors that will ultimately connect your mission to your vision. They are the cornerstone of every strategic plan. They are the roadmap for growth and prosperity. They define what will be accomplished, by whom and by when. They represent the purpose of strategic planning at a secondary level, beyond the mission, values and vision statements.

By having focused goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics – coupled with a strong accountability system – your organization’s likelihood of success is enhanced, and the strategic planning purpose will develop real meaning.

In fact, in a survey, leaders at companies with a formal strategic planning process say that the planning process leads to decisions that help companies meet its goals. How many of these leaders said that? 64%.

Finding the Purpose of Strategic Planning

If we all agree that the purpose of strategic planning is to align our missions and visions, then next we need to know exactly how we can accomplish this purpose.

Looking at some more stats from the article linked to above, let’s think about this for a second:

  • Very few (only 23%) companies say they have a formal strategic planning process.
  • Of those that do, the top 10% say that the process helps them see real results.

So, in order to meet the purpose, it stands to reason that there are a few key steps:

  1. Make sure you have a mission and vision on which to focus.
  2. Make sure you incorporate that mission and vision into your strategic plan.
  3. Create specific, actionable goals, objectives, and tactics in order to execute on your plan.
  4. Have a formal strategic planning process.
  5. Once you have a plan, execute, execute, execute.

Once you are ready to start executing, make sure to take a look at the AchieveIt Execution Management Platform.

Meagan M. Flores
Meagan M. Flores
Meagan M. Flores is the Vice President of Marketing for AchieveIt. A genuine 'problem-solver', when Meagan isn't nose-down in the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, you can find her leveraging her expertise spanning early stage startups to mature growth enterprises to comment trends and best practices related to strategy development and execution, leadership and revenue marketing.