ASSIGNMENT >> 15. Read “Strategic Planning.”


No study of planning and targets is complete without examining the subject of strategic planning. It is of such vital importance that it merits an in-depth study as to its definition and use as well as its relationship to other aspects of management. 

The term “STRATEGY” is derived from the Greek words: 

strategos, which means “general,” 

stratos, which means “army,” 

agein, meaning “to lead.” 

STRATEGY, therefore, by dictionary definition, refers to a plan for the overall conduct of a war or sector of it. 

By extrapolation (inferring from known facts), it has also come to mean a plan for the skillful overall conduct of a large field of operations, or a sector of such operations, toward the achievement of a specific goal or result. 

This is planning that is done at upper-echelon level, as, if it is to be effective, it must be done from an overview of the broad existing situation. 

It is a statement of the intended plans for accomplishing a broad objective and inherent in its definition is the idea of clever use of resources or maneuvers for outwitting the enemy or overcoming existing obstacles to win the objective. 

It is the central strategy worked out at the top which, like an umbrella, covers the activities of the echelons below it. 

That tells us what strategic planning is.

What It Does

What strategic planning does is provide direction for the activities of all the lower echelons. All the tactical plans and programs and projects to be carried out at lower echelons in order to accomplish the objective stream down from the strategic plan at the top. It is the overall plan against which all of these are coordinated. 

This gives a clear look at why strategic planning is so vitally important and why it must be done by the upper-level planning body if management is to be effective and succeed. 

What happens if strategic planning is missing? Well, what happens in the conduct of a war if no strategic planning is done? 

Key troops can be left unflanked and unsupported in key areas while other troops fight aimless battles at some minor outpost. Supplies and ammunition could be deployed (positioned for use) to the wrong area or not forwarded at all. Conflict of orders, jammed lines and maneuvers, wasted resources and lost battles all result. With the lack of a plan, coordination is missing and it’s a scene of confusion and dispersal. In short, disaster. 

What a difference between this and a strong, coordinated, positive thrust toward attaining the objective! 

Transposing all of this over into our own activity gives an even clearer look at why strategic planning must be done at the upper levels of management. The key word here is “done.” It cannot be neglected or dropped out. It cannot be assumed to be done. Strategic planning must be done and stated and made known at least to the next lower levels of management so coordination and correct targeting can take place. 

Purpose and Strategic Planning

A strategic plan begins with the observation of a situation to be handled or a goal to be met. 

It always carries with it a statement of the definite purpose or purposes to be achieved. 

Once the purpose has been established, it is possible to derive from it various strategic plannings. 


Any strategic plan can encompass a number of major actions required from one or more different sectors in order to achieve the purpose. These are expressed in highly general terms as they are a statement of the initial overall planning that has been done. From them one can then derive tactical plannings. But all of these things have to fit together. 


Situation: The ABC Paper Company, though continuing to produce its formerly successful line of paper products, is also continuing to concentrate solely on its regular, already-established clientele while neglecting a number of its potential publics. The company is rapidly going broke and losing its execs to companies where there is “more opportunity for expansion.” 

Purpose: Put a full-blown paper company there which reaches all of its potential public for volume sales of existing and new products, while it also continues to sell and service its regular clientele in volume, and thus restore the company’s solvency and build its repute as a lucrative, progressive concern with opportunities for expansion. 

Strategic Plan: The strategic planning, based on the situation and established purpose, might go something like this: 

1. The most immediate and vital action needed to arrest the losses is to (without interrupting any ongoing business or taking down or destroying any other unit) set up and get functioning a new sales unit (alongside the existing one) which will have as its first priority the development of immediate new clients for the current line of products from among (a) retail paper outlets, (b) wholesale paper outlets, and (c) direct mail order. Clean, experienced salesmen will need to be procured to head up each of these sections, and other professional salesmen will need to be located in volume. These can be hired at very low retainer and make the bulk of their money on commissions. This operation can then be expanded over broader areas using district managers, salesmen who start other salesmen and even door-to-door salesmen. As a part of this plan, commission systems, package sales kits and promotion and advertising will need to be worked out. Getting this going on an immediate basis will boost sales and offset losses and very shortly expand the company into the field of stellar profits. 

2. While the immediate holding action is going in, current sales and servicing of clients must be maintained. At the same time, sales and production records of existing staff will need to be reviewed as well as a thorough accounting done of company books to find where the losses are coming from. Any unproductive personnel will need to be dismissed and those who do produce retained. Should any embezzlement or financial irregularity be found this will need to be handled with appropriate legal action. In other words, the current operation is to be fully reviewed, cleaned up and its production not only maintained but stepped up all possible, with production targets set and met.

3.A program is to be worked out whereby surveys are done of all publics to find out what new paper products the publics want or will buy. Based on these survey results, a whole new line of paper products (additional to the old established line) can then be developed, produced, promoted and sold broadly. The program for establishing the new line of goods will need to cover financing, the organizing of the new production unit (including clean executives, competent designers, any needed additional workmen) as well as any additional machinery or equipment required. It will also need to cover broad PR, promotion and sales campaigns that push the new products as well as the old for volume sales of both. Inherent in this planning would be a campaign to enhance the company’s image as pioneers in the field of new paper products with opportunities for expansion-minded executives. 


Such a strategic plan not only corrects a bad situation but turns it around into a highly profitable and expanding scene for the future of the whole company. 

What one is trying to accomplish is digging the scene out of the soup and expanding it into a terrific level of viability. 

From this strategic plan, tactical planning would be done, taking the broad strategic targets and breaking them down into precise and exactly targeted actions which get the strategic planning executed. 

One would have many people working on this and it would be essential that they all had the purpose straight and that there be no conflicting internal spots in the overall campaign. Somebody reading over such plans might not see the importance of it unless they understood the situation and had a general overall riding purpose from which they could refine their tactical planning. 

It is quite common in tactical execution of a strategic planning to find it necessary to modify some tactical targets or add new ones or even drop out some as found to be unnecessary. 

The tactical management of a strategic planning is a bit of an art in itself so this is allowed for. 

Given a good purpose, then, against which things can be coordinated, the strategic action necessary to accomplish it can then be worked out and the tactical plans to bring the strategic plans into existence can follow. 

This way a group can flourish and prosper. When all strengths and forces are aligned to a single thrust a tremendous amount of power can be developed. 

So one gets the purpose stated and from that works out what strategy will be used to accomplish the purpose and this then bridges the purpose into a tactical feasibility. 

When the strategic plan, with its purpose, has been put forward, it is picked up by the next lower level of command and turned into tactical planning. 

Strategic Versus Tactical Planning

Strategy differs from tactics. 

This is a point which must be clearly understood by the various echelons of management. 

There is a very, very great difference between a strategic plan and a tactical plan. 

While tactical planning is used to win an engagement, strategic planning is used to win the full campaign. 

While the strategic plan is the large-scale, long-range plan to ensure victory, a tactical plan tells exactly who to move what to where and exactly what to do at that point. 

The tactical plan must integrate into the strategic plan and accomplish the strategic plan. And it must do this with precise, doable targets. 

And that, in essence, is management. 

Bridging Between Purpose and Tactical

One error that is commonly made by untrained personnel is to jump from purpose to tactical planning, omitting the strategic plan. And this won’t work. The reason it won’t work is that unless one’s targeted tactical plan is aligned to a strategic plan it will go off the rails

The point to be understood here is that strategic planning creates tactical planning. One won’t get one’s purpose achieved unless there is a strategy worked out and used by which to achieve it. And, based on that strategy, one works out the tactical moves to be made to implement the strategy. But jumping from purpose to tactical, ignoring the strategy, one will miss. 

So, between purpose and tactical there is always the step of strategic planning. We could say that by a strategic plan is meant some means to get the purpose itself to function. 

It is actually a plan that has to do with cleverness. 

One might be well aware of the purpose and might come up with a number of tactical targets having to do with it. And possibly the targets will work, in themselves. But the purpose is to get a situation handled and, lacking a strategic means to do this, one might still find himself facing the same problem. 

Putting the actual bridge there between purpose and tactical, which bridge is the strategic side of it, the purpose will have some chance of succeeding. 

existing in something as a natural, permanent, essential or characteristic feature or quality.

any movement or procedure intended as a skillful step toward some objective, such as one involving military or naval units that are organized to move or change position, etc., in order to be correctly positioned for meeting an enemy force.

(of a body of troops) left open to attack, not protected or defended due to lack of additional defenses on the sides (flanks). The flanks of a body of troops, being a weak point of defense, are often the target of enemy attack.

a military base with a small group of troops, located at a distance from the main body of an army, assigned to guard a particular place or area.

moving or transferring something from one subject, area, etc., to another.

possessing all the qualities or features to be fully or completely developed.

the clients or customers of a professional organization or business, considered as a group.

producing profit or wealth; profitable.

a fee paid to a person in exchange for his services. A retainer is often paid with the understanding that additional payments may be made depending on specific objectives being met.

the written records of money that a business has spent or received.

the action or an instance of taking for personal use money or property that has been given on trust by others, without their knowledge or permission.

out of difficulty or trouble.

moving along as though being carried or supported by something in motion. Riding literally means to sit and be carried along by a horse or other animal or to be carried along as in a car or bicycle.

out of the correct, normal or usual condition; not functioning, working or acting correctly. The phrase alludes to a train that has run off the railway tracks and is literally off its rails.