“Strategic planning will help you fully uncover your available options, set priorities for them, and define the methods to achieve them.”
One thing you understand from these words by Robert J. Mckain is how strategic planning forces executives to challenge a future they can only guess or wish to achieve. Every institution sets goals, objectives or agendas for a fixed period of time to keep the business running. And without efficient strategic planning, it is not possible to achieve great results in your business.
Strategic planning requires time, effort and continuous assessment. If applied properly, it can bring your business on the right track.
If you are someone who has the ability to see the big picture critically and develop a plan that can help a business tick off its long-term goals, then this field is right for you. In this article, we have compiled everything you need to know to enter this profession.
What is Strategic Planning?
If you are looking for a formal definition, here’s what the United Nations (UN) has to say: “strategic planning is a structured process of looking into the future and identifying trends and pitfalls against which organisational priorities have to be aligned.”
In other words, strategic planning is the ongoing organisational process of using available knowledge to define its intended direction. It helps executives to prioritise efforts, allocate resources, and align employees and stakeholders.
With strategic planning, you can identify your organisation’s goals & the tactics required to accomplish those goals and analyse the performance to evaluate progress. Business entities need to optimise their performance, for which they rely on strategic planners. Every organisation is different, so is their roadmap for fulfilling goals. However, the basic elements of strategic planning remain the same.
Let’s try to understand this with a few examples
There’s a university that wants to free students from debts, boost student participation in scientific research and increase student enrollment in certain programmes. Would they require strategic planning? Yes, of course. To achieve this, the university needs to create a plan of action that includes the complete blueprint to pull off every goal.
- Let’s take another example of a product-based company. In their annual or half-yearly agenda meetings, they discuss their new goals and targets they wish to achieve. This time, they want to focus on increasing their revenue with gross margins of 34%. For this goal, they define objectives or ways to make this happen. This may include launching 10 new products, expanding distribution to other geographical areas or enhancing product quality. For every goal, there will be an action plan with a target and time frame. Yes, this is what strategic planning is all about.
Benefits of strategic planning
- Creates one Forward-Looking Vision
- Enhances Productivity
- Boosts Profits
- Identifies Flaws and Biases
- Tracks Progress
Elements of strategic planning
- Vision Statement
- Mission Statement
- Goals (short-term & long-term)
- SWOT Analysis
- Action Plan
Every strategic plan must answer the following questions
- Destination: Where do I see my business?
- Starting Point: Where is the business right now?
- The Road: How to reach the destination?
- Evaluation: How do I learn the progress of my plan?
What is a Strategy Planning Manager?
Strategy Planning Manager or Manager of Strategic Planning is indulged in analytical and research activities directed towards an organisation’s strategic, short-term, and long-term goals. Unlike other professionals, their work concerns all levels of an organisation to access operations and determine areas of improvement. While drafting a strategy plan, they have to keep in mind the company budgets to ensure no excess usage.
Their work also includes developing strategies by conducting product launches, regional rollouts and business campaigns. The insights from these are then discussed with executives and business leaders to work towards formulating an action plan that is targeted to improve company performance and enhance future results.
Strategy Planning Manager: Role & Responsibilities
Strategic planners need to have strong analytical skills as they have to keenly observe the company’s existing approach, its further opportunities and shortcomings. Their exact role varies as per the company’s own structure and approach, but overall, their responsibilities include the following:
- Analysing and assessing data to identify areas of improvement and opportunities
- Formulating a strategic plan for the company, including long-term and short-term goals that sync with the company’s mission statement
- Continuously administering and measuring the company’s performance against set targets
- Carrying research to recognise new opportunities for growth in the market or development of new markets
- Assessing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns to determine whether they are achieving their target in the desired format or not
- Conducting regular meetings with external stakeholders like investors, partners, and suppliers
- Evaluating the efficiency of new technologies and check their viability within the company’s operations
- Coordinating with the executive team members to ensure that all departments are working towards the same goal
- Reporting detailed progress of targets, identifying pain points and suggesting solutions
- Building and managing strategic relationships
- Keeping a close eye on company expenditures to recommend ways to support cost savings, extra cost avoidance, and improved efficiency of the technical units
- Managing budget and acting as a bridge between finance and commercial functions
- Supervising a division of the company with a variety of responsibilities, but the main focus is on long-range planning initiatives
- Coordinating with internal vendor operations framework and processes (It allows the strategic planning manager manage with third-party partners)
- Informing and making suggestions on a timely basis to the higher management on strategic planning and performance reports
- Defining a structured plan for reporting progress, identifying risks and crafting viable solutions for them
- Implementing a workforce planning roadmap that is in harmony with the industry’s practices
- Coordinating with the vendors and ensuring that they are carrying out their deliverables while optimising costs
How to Become a Strategic Planning Manager?
Undoubtedly, becoming a Strategic Planning Manager is a rewarding career opportunity for those who have leadership qualities and strong analytical skills. So, if you are planning to dive into this field, then here’s the path you need to follow:
1. Complete your graduation
Candidates who intend to become a Strategic Planning Manager generally go for a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Economics, Finance, Management or any business-oriented course. Though you can enter this profession with a bachelor’s degree, hiring managers mostly prefer candidates with a master’s degree, especially an MBA degree. If you have a master’s qualification, then it is more likely that you can beat the competition. Along with this, you can undertake some training programmes alongside your studies to get a good grasp of this profession.
2. Acquire some experience
To reach the position of Strategic Planning Manager, you require at least three to four years of experience. You can start by taking up internship opportunities, and after completing your academics, you can pitch for job roles like Management Consultant, Financial Advisor, or Project Manager.
As a strong knowledge of business procedures and operations is necessary to assume this position, gaining a few years of industry experience will be beneficial for you in getting a lucrative opportunity.
3. Develop appropriate skills
Your education will teach you the basic concepts and practises of business administration, whereas the industry experience lets you understand the practical application of strategic planning. But, throughout your journey, you must continually enhance relevant skills such as:
- Interpersonal skills
- Leadership skills
- Strong Communication skills
- Ability to resolve conflicts
- Analytical and problem-solving capability
- Project management skills
- Critical thinking
- Information systems knowledge
- Marketing skills
Salary in India and Future Scope
As you may know, in business, new challenges keep on arising, and so does the change in the way we perform. Thus, it is the duty of a Strategic Planning Manager to determine the future plan of action while considering the company’s existing strengths, weaknesses and objectives. Owing to the dynamic nature of this field, there are numerous opportunities for this role. Strategic Planning Manager jobs are considered some of the most desirable profiles in large and mid-size corporations. An entry-level Strategic Planning Manager who has less than three years of work experience can earn up to INR 11.8 LPA.
- The average salary as a Strategic Planning Manager is INR 13,60,000 PA
- The highest salary of a Strategic Planning Manager is INR 30,00,000 PA
Source: Ambition Box
Top Industries Where You Can Work
- IT Services and Consulting
- Financial Services
- Engineering and Construction
Some of the top-paying cities for Strategic Planning Managers:
- New Delhi
With each day, you see a new episode of an old series in the business world. In these changing dynamics of business approaches, companies need to focus on developing high-growth strategies that consistently give them ample room for growth and increased profit margins. For accomplishing these cumulative goals, strategic planning management professionals play a vital role. Therefore, they are constantly in demand. So, if the skills required and the nature of work align with your interests, then buckle and begin the journey of your desired career.
Aayushi is an avid reader, writer and travel enthusiast. She has been working as a Content Creator for 8 years and has been employed in the Education industry for the last two years. She has worked in multiple niches. She is always looking for opportunities to learn new things and grow; and wants to contribute maximum to the cause of education, upholding the Sustainable Development Goal 4.