It is important to state that the paper "Differences between Annual Planning and Strategic Planning" is a great example of a management assignment. More particularly and simply put, strategic planning determines where an organization is going over the next year or more and how it is going to get there. It is a process that tries to describe an organization’ s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and, at the same time, outlines the organization’ s (usually five-year) goals, strategies to achieve the goals and directions for the given duration of time. Concretely, strategic planning – as a planning tool – provides a blueprint to further and strengthen the organization’ s activities, address areas for improvement, and move the program forward to new accomplishments. In the past, organizations call the process of strategic planning long-range planning.
More recently, however, planners turned to “ strategic planning” to more ably capture the nature of this comprehensive, thoughtful and well-placed planning process. Typically, the process of strategic planning is organization-wide or focused on a major function such as a division, department or other major function. As with any management tool, it is used for one purpose: to help an organization do a better job by focusing its energy, ensuring that members of the organization are working towards the same goals, assessing and adjusting the direction of the organization in response to a changing environment. A specific way of looking at strategic planning is to consider the activities that it includes.
Firstly, it consists of strategic analysis. This activity includes conducting a scan, or review, of the organization’ s internal and external realities and environment. Secondly, it consists of setting strategic direction. Vis-à -vis the major issues and opportunities facing the organization, planners then consider what the organization must do.
This includes the setting of the over-all accomplishments (or strategic goals) the organization should achieve and the over-all methods (or strategies) to achieve the accomplishments. And, finally, strategic planning consists of action planning, which is the careful laying out of how the strategic goals will be accomplished. Often this includes specifying objectives or specific results with each strategic goal. Under the process of action planning, it is common to develop an annual plan (sometimes called operational plan or management plan), which includes the strategic goals, strategies, objectives, responsibilities and timelines that should be done in the coming year.
While the strategic plan is spearheaded by the top management, the annual plan is accomplished by the lower – i.e. , middle and/or first-line – managers. Between the strategic plan and the annual work plan, there are some overlaps. However, the differences between them are similarly obvious. The strategic plan describes the broad strategies a program will use to achieve its, say, five-year program goals. In contrast, the annual work plan is the program coordinator’ s guide to running the program on a yearly basis. The strategic plan gives an overarching five-year view of the program and goals.
The annual plan walks the user through a specific, annual program objective, program timeline, and an outline of what particular people need to do to implement the program – for example, recruit members, convene the meetings, document the meetings, create criteria for identifying partnership members, etc.
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