Strategic planning is the process through which an organization defines its strategy, direction as well as make decisions to allocate its resources. On the other hand, Operational planning is a subset of strategic work plan. It defines the short term methods of achieving the strategic objectives set while strategic planning is done.
Strategic planning is proactive in nature and spans over a long time periods usually 10 years or so. On the other hand, operational planning is also proactive but changes are made to it depending on the current requirements. They are relative short term in nature, spanning a time period of 1-3 years.
Strategic planning is the formal planning for the future course and defines the following:
- What do we do?
- For whom we do it?
- How do we succeed?
On the other hand, operational planning defines the following:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to be?
- How do we get there?
- How do we measure our progress?
Strategic planning is an organizational process whereby a business defines its strategy and direction. It is the top level of planning in a company where decisions are made regarding distribution of resources. Its sets out the vision, mission and values of a company. It plans out what has to be achieved in the longer term like 10 years or so.
On the other hand, Operational planning is part of the strategic planning. It is actually levels down from strategic planning. It is short term in nature. It sets out to achieve the milestones set out in strategic planning by making operational goals, targets and plans to achieve those targets. It sets out the activities and budgets for the next 1-3 years in future
Strategic planning is different from operational planning. In strategic planning, plans regarding the overall strategy of the firm are set. These are generally long term and focus on achieving a long term objective that relates to the firm’s strategy. On the other hand, operational planning can be considered to be a way of implementing strategic plans and it is generally short term. These operational plans are different for different divisions and are not cross functional. Operational plans are short term and they do not necessarily affect firm strategy.