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A Question; Strategic Management vs. Strategic Planning, what’s the difference?

14 May

Its not always a clear cut between pebbles, some are white some are brown, but who gets to wear the crown?

In both strategic, and academic circles, we all strive for the maintaining of the highest standards of intellectual thought; especially when referring to the philosophy of strategy. In plain English – it’s all about perception as we deal with philosophy, and any philosophy changes constantly; or should…thereby influencing strategy directly as a result.

Thus “philosophy”; both in the business and strategic sense dictates when it becomes BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY, and then as a result also becomes a STRATEGY OR STRATEGIC.

When the basic of “FORMING STRATEGY“,  is met, and the elements of  strategy become apparent, then we should have;

  • a vision,
  • a mission,
  • goals,
  • and action plans…
  • then we refer to something as being or becoming Strategic; or as STRATEGIC PLANNING.

1)Strategic plans are made up of action plans;

Where Action Planning deals with;

Who What Where When How How much
Responsibility Objectives Location Time/ frame Goals Quantity/ cost

2)Now we get to Strategic Management, it in turn gives us a required business perspective; a business perspective is the organisation of all activities, in a structured manner. We want to or need to organise things, in order to be able to measure and gauge things like our; performance, progress and quality, all whilst these strategic plans unfold, into smaller action plans,and then into finality.

The whole purpose of management is to add;

  • structure,
  • process,
  • procedures,
  • policy,
  • resources,
  • and organisation.

All in order to connect all the resources, with systems, and get results in the form of products or services, that impacts on other initiative, activities, and plans, that then starts coinciding with the business model, and plan, and its ideology, to make all its aims happen.

Management as a process; becomes systematically inclined and also procedural, it steers these “action plans”, or “strategic plans” with intent, that are otherwise in effect just seen as dead pieces of paper, which needs to be interpreted, and given life. Management becomes this means.  By combining ideas, with effort, substance starts to emerge with an expected resolve or end state,, coming from some place, somewhere between practical and philosophical – dealing with all aspects between knowledge and wisdom, then when backed up with factual relevance – then we are seen to manage.

Describing management and actually doing it is difficult, it becomes two worlds, as we all experience life from different angles, and levels of difficulty. Never-the-less, it’s these “words” that we use, that should unite us in mind and effort to perform the same functions. Therefore it’s very essential that we find the same meaning in terminology so that we may all benefit from both the knowledge and the wisdom it brings.

Then only will we know the true distinction – or difference – between them, planning and management.

Very philosophical, yes that’s the point. It somehow never becomes a simple enough explanation, when we just take out the words strategic, and try and deduce some common meaning. When in fact, planning and management are two very different animals.

Then we are only left with, management and planning. There you have it sweet and short, straight to the point. The one is all about management the other planning, or is it?

Some will argue that these terms do not exist at all; People try and get way to clever (and Philosophical) for their own good. then this happens, then you get aspects arising like; Strategic management vs. strategic planning, what’s the difference?

This can be attributed to the relationship between words and their meanings, that also become culturally significant, and extremely complicated when we want to take or when taken to literally. For instance; if we take the literal meaning of the words used and get their synonyms, then Strategic means planned”, then that would in fact imply that you can’t come up with something like “planned planning” or can you, what does that mean or imply anyway?…  Nor could you tell if it is still the same thing? Then Strategic planning should have a significant meaning if we choose to explain something significant by merging these two words, should it not?

When in doubt, we should also look at a words connotation; thus implying – what is suggested as well as its denotation – what our intellect tells us it should imply, and then we will know what we are looking at.

This aspect belongs to the field of semantics. For now though, what you need to know is that words do not have single or even simple meanings – they have implicit meaning.

Traditionally, grammarians have referred to the meanings of words in two parts: their;

  1. Denotation; referring to the literal meaning of the word
  2. Connotation; referring to a relationship to the word either emotional or otherwise; something which the word evokes in people…

1) Strategic + Planning;

  • As a denotation; Strategic; literally means – planned.
  • As a connotation; Strategic; implies – organised or deliberate actions…
  • As a denotation; Planning; literally means – preparation
  • As a connotation; Planning; implies – scheduling or setting up

So if we connect the two words now; we get strategic planning meaning or implying;

  • As a denotation = Planned preparation
  • As a connotation; = Organised / deliberate – preparation or setting up

2) Strategic  + Management;

  • As a denotation; it implies supervision
  • As a connotation; it implies organised, or administration
  • Strategic Management; as a denotation; planned supervision; and levels of supervision, or hierarchy in business
  • Strategic Management; as a connotation; deliberate organisation of actions – The deliberate preparation then of actions consistent with organisation…



Here we go..  Strategic + planning; implies; planned or deliberate preparation then

                              Strategic + management; implies planned supervision or administration 

So yes, they are still two totally different animals

And then you also get Grand Strategy  and Business formation

Get my new book here; its pumped with strategic relevance;   


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