Even the most elaborate and detailed planning can’t guarantee success if the project in question is not effectively managed. In the business arena, long-range strategic planning is typically done in the form of a business plan, a marketing agenda and through long-term corporate agenda planning. Once plans are developed, the process must continue through proper project management, delegation and ongoing review of progress.
Strategic planning usually involves a budgeting process, making calculations and predictions for the amount of revenue necessary to complete various projects and operational goals. While the budget planning stage is a necessary step in the strategic planning process, estimations are subject to change due to a variety of factors, such as operating costs increases, unexpected delays in project implementation or even an under- or over-estimation of costs. Strategic management of the project can help identify discrepancies in the strategic planning budget and make alterations accordingly.
Outside influences beyond a company’s control can impact a strategic planning process. For example, a subcontractor may go out of business, the cost of raw materials may increase significantly or a labor dispute could halt progress. Strategic management of the process can quickly rectify the situation by finding new suppliers, negotiating with union representatives or bringing in extra hands to complete the project on time. In many ways, strategic management takes over where strategic planning falls short.
Natural disasters, fires and the death of key company personnel are among the unexpected events that can throw a wrench into a strategic planning process. Strategic management, on the other hand, allows a company to consider all contingencies, institute emergency operating procedures and move forward with recovery efforts. Strategic management essentially employs a human element that is able to react to necessary changes in the strategic plan.
Human Resources Management
While facts and figures can vary dramatically in the strategic planning process, strategic management of personnel often has even more variables, given the nature of the human condition. You may plan for a particular group of employees to operate and produce in a predetermined way, but only strategic management of employees can bring that plan to fruition. Strategic management allows for the evaluation of staff members and their suitability for particular tasks and gauges worker productivity in accordance with goals and objectives of the strategic plan.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.