Strategic planning is an established organizational management planning activity which seeks to define its strategy and direction as well as allocating resources appropriately to ensure the functioning of the organization and achieving specific objectives. Strategic planning is an effective long-term abstract directional map that identifies a vision and ambitions for an enterprise and lays out specific steps it plans to take to achieve it (Vo, 2022). Large organizations and corporations engage in strategic planning, largely as a symbolic gesture as a remnant of business practices from previous decades. It is symbolically good, attracts beneficial PR and potentially enhances investor trust and confidence. However, most often the outlined documents and plans are shelved within a fiscal year. For most organizations, the primary planning occurs on an annual basis when fiscal year objectives are set and there are realistic expectations, known plans (such as upcoming product releases), and much better forecasts on the various factors that may impact a business (Betz, 2021).
The large corporations likely do not engage in traditional strategic planning because they are inherently too complex operating in such dynamic, multifaceted environments that it simply becomes a waste of resources to do long-term strategic planning. While these companies do have visions and strategies, they focus more concretely on the direct objectives and issues in front of them. Martin (2014) argues that strategic planning is detrimental because it is both, attempting to predict a highly unpredictable long-term future and committing to a strategy can lead to decision-making that cuts off opportunities. Martin (2014) goes on to suggest that because the future is unknown and fearful to both managers and investors, they choose to rationalize it by making it a problem to be solved, accompanied by the long-term planning, financial spreadsheets, and a comprehensive plan for the company to achieve a target. However, that is severely limiting, being more of a way to cope with fear, while in fact the unknown is a an essential part of strategy creation. He says, “true strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices” (Martin, 2014).
That is likely why these large successful companies face significant challenges in strategic planning, there are just too many complex factors to predict. Furthermore, in order for strategic planning to be effective, it requires strong communication to ensure everyone is on board as well as alignment of multiple departments and all leadership levels. While not impossible, it is difficult to achieve at such incredible scale such as Apple or American Airlines or Microsoft. Instead, taking a more direct approach, managers consider long-term strategy but do not obsess over it or use precious resources on essentially a guessing game. Rather, they take a rough approach of thinking through of what it would take to achieve an objective and making the assessment on whether it would be realistic to try.
Strategic planning can be applied in the Army recruitment process to achieve the best competence in the ability to recruit, train, retain, and deploy individuals wanting to join the military. The strategic planning outlines a general institutional strategy for the Army in its ability to provide necessary forces and capabilities to Combatant Commanders. It also outlines priorities for the employment of available resources based on the analysis of strategic environment, operational requirements, and national guidance. A strategic planning approach can ensure that the Army’s policies and programs on recruitment remain consistent with national security and strategic guidance and objectives as well as the Army’s responsibilities for mitigating force management risk, institutional risk, and future challenges risk (Department of the Army, n.d.).
Betz, M. (2021). Strategic planning: Read this before it’s that time again. Web.
Department of the Army. (n.d.). The army strategic planning guidance 2006-2023. Web.
Martin, R.L. (2014). The big lie of strategic planning. Harvard Business Review. Web.
Vo, E. (2022). What is strategic planning? Web.