Types of Plans

Overview of Types of Strategic Plans

The broader overview of strategic plans, as well as the five subgroups within strategic planning, provide businesses with direction.

Learning Objectives

Differentiate between the five general planning frames and recognize considerations that must be made prior to planning

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Strategic plans are what communicate the corporate strategy, direction, and resource allocation. There are generally five subgroups of strategic plans.
  • Short-range plans generally constitute a specific time frame in which a specific series of operations will be carried out, assessed, and measured.
  • Long-range plans are arguably the most crucial to the continued success of a business, ultimately highlighting the way in which operations interact to achieve long-term profitability and returns on investment.
  • Operational plans comprise the most specific subgroup of strategic planning, describing the specific objectives and milestones a business should consider in executing each particular operation. Operational plans are often used by control professionals.
  • Standing plans are based on the operations that must be repeated indefinitely within a business or corporation.
  • As opposed to standing plans, single-use plans cover a specific operation or process that is an outlier to normal operations.

Key Terms

  • strategic planning: An organization’s process of defining its direction and making decisions on allocating resources to pursue that direction.
  • standing plan: A strategy for achieving an objective that can be continually used or modified.
  • single-use plans: A strategy for achieving an objective that can only be used in one situation.

Strategic management is primarily concerned with the planning and execution processes that lead to the effective operations of a business. Strategic management leverages strategic planning in order to design and execute a variety of plans specifically created to approach various facets of the business and competitive environment. It is worth analyzing the broader overview of strategic plans, as well as the five subgroups within strategic planning that provide businesses with an outline of their strategic direction.

Strategic plans are what communicate the corporate strategy, direction, and resource allocation.

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Factors of a strategic plan: This illustration summarizes the various factors that must be considered in constructing a corporation’s strategic plan. At the pinnacle of the pyramid is the most important element of any strategic plan—the vision. Under that, in descending order, are accountability, stakeholder involvement, tools and skills, enabling behavior, and measures and processes.

Specific Types of Plans

Following the generation of a vision and mission statement, and the subsequent operations that will allow these to be achieved, smaller facets of the planning process begin to come into play. These include five general planning frames, which can be applied to different aspects of the operational process:

  • Short-range plans: Short-range plans generally apply to a specific time frame in which a specific series of operations will be carried out, assessed, and measured. The standard short-range plan will represent annual or semiannual operations with a short-term deliverable. These short-term plans cover the specifics of each day-to-day operation.
  • Long-range plans:Long-range plans are arguably the most crucial to the continued success of a business, ultimately highlighting the way in which operations interact to achieve long-term profitability and returns on investment. As corporations grow in size and complexity, so do the long-range plans that constitute the interaction of individual processes. Long-range plans are those most closely related to the overall strategic-planning process.
  • Operational plans:Operational plans are the most specific subset of strategic planning, describing the specific objectives and milestones a business should consider in executing each particular operation. Operational plans establish both the budgetary resources necessary for execution and the tangible and easily assessed objectives that can define the success of any given project.
  • Standing plans:Standing plans are based on the operations that must be repeated indefinitely within a business or corporation. Standing plans govern the processes that occur regularly, providing an overview for consistent activities.
  • Single-use plans:As opposed to standing plans, single-use plans cover a specific operation or process that is an outlier to normal operations. In all likelihood, a single-use plan will never need to be repeated and will simply cover the content involved in one circumstance.

By combining all of these plans—often a few of each subgroup, depending on the scale and complexity of a business—a general strategic overview can be obtained. The interaction of all of these plans constitute the overall strategic trajectory of a business, measuring profitability and efficiency as the company executes operations.