A planning is like milk that you leave a day outside the fridge. Luckily, not all milk gets spoiled easily. But even the fact that a plan is overdue before you know it, the activity of planning is still very important. There are many areas where you are either unaware or consciously involved in planning. There is little chance that you succeed at the university if you do not (constantly) plan.
To build a house you need a plan. In fact such a planning is quite stable; you have someone design the house, you discuss some changes, accept the terms and cost calculations and the house will be built – according to plan.
To start a new business you also need a plan; a business plan. This is what you prepare once and than adjust when you are on you way. A business plan is less fixed than the former plan, but more constant than for example a strategy.
Where a business plan is to guide an operation, a strategic plan is to guide the enterprise into the future. And this unique feature makes a strategic plan worthless. Yet strategic planning is very valuable.
We cannot foresee even the near future. The only thing we know is that a business, an organization, a sector and society is constantly changing. All these influences make that a (strategic) plan on a single point in time is of little value. But the contributions made to the plan are! The contribution of the trend analysis, the input of a marketing approach, the problems in the current business that need to be solved, and the vision that is to be materialized.
Not in the last place you want to know what you have achieved so far. Where do we stand on this road to the near future?
© 2006 Hans Bool
Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management tools. Have a look at some of our free management tools