Strategy Is . . .
Strategy is many things: plan, pattern, position, ploy and perspective. As plan, strategy relates how we intend realizing our goals. As pattern, strategy is the "rhyme and reason" that emerges in the course of making the endless decisions that reconcile the reality we encounter with the aims we hold dear. As position, strategy is the stance we take: take the high ground, be the low-cost provider, compete on the basis of value, price to what the market will bear, match or beat the price offered by any competitor, let no threat go unmet. As ploy, strategy is a ruse, it relies on secrecy and deception: "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." As perspective, strategy is part vantage point and part the view from that vantage point, particularly the way this view shapes and guides decisions and actions.
1. Strategic planning should be done when an organization is just getting started. (The strategic plan is usually part of an overall business plan, along with a marketing plan, financial plan and operational/management plan.)
2. Strategic planning should also be done in preparation for a new major venture, for example, developing a new department, division, major new product or line of products, etc.
3. Strategic planning should also be conducted at least once a year in order to be ready for the coming fiscal year (the financial management of an organization is usually based on a year-to-year, or fiscal year, basis). In this case, strategic planning should be conducted in time to identify the organizational goals to be achieved at least over the coming fiscal year, resources needed to achieve those goals, and funded needed to obtain the resources.