The Oxymoron of Strategic Planning

There is no such thing as “strategic planning.” This term denotes some sort of rarefied, specialized planning activity – as if the planning activity itself was strategic.

Rather, there is the planning of strategies. This term makes much more sense and is much more accurate.

Strategies need to be developed, planned, and then deployed. The planning of strategies is an analytical and synthetical process: the business strategist starts by scanning and analyzing a firm’s current environment, clarifies the forces determining the nature of competition and industry structure, and then seeks to determine how the firm can best position itself to blunt the strong forces and exploit the weak ones. Thus, the strategy formulation process is not a planning activity, it is a creative activity aimed at finding an optimal position from which a competitive advantage can be secured.

The best business strategists don’t plan – they analyze, synthesize, and create. Strategic planning is for those who don’t know any better.


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