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Strategic Planning vs. Strategic Management — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on December 1, 2023
Strategic Planning is the process of defining a direction for the future, while Strategic Management is the ongoing process of executing and adapting those plans.
Strategic Planning vs. Strategic Management — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Strategic Planning and Strategic Management


Key Differences

Strategic Planning involves creating a roadmap for an organization's future direction and goals. Strategic Management, on the other hand, concerns the consistent alignment of resources and actions with these strategic goals.
Strategic Planning often takes place at higher levels of an organization, focusing on long-term objectives and strategies. Strategic Management, in contrast, involves all levels and encompasses the day-to-day activities that move the organization towards its goals.
While Strategic Planning provides a clear vision and direction for the future, Strategic Management ensures that this vision is realized by addressing real-time challenges and adapting as necessary.
Strategic Planning is about defining "where" and "why" an organization aims to be in the future. Strategic Management deals with the "how" – the tools, processes, and measures needed to ensure the strategic plan's success.

Comparison Chart


Setting direction and goals
Execution and adaptation of plans

Level of Implementation

Primarily higher levels
All levels of the organization


Typically long-term
Ongoing with real-time adjustments


Provides vision and direction
Ensures vision is realized


More theoretical
More practical

Compare with Definitions

Strategic Planning

Framework for aligning resources with aspirations.
Through Strategic Planning, the nonprofit could align its mission with actionable steps.

Strategic Management

Aligning daily operations with strategic goals.
Their excellence in Strategic Management led to consistent growth year over year.

Strategic Planning

A tool for setting and prioritizing objectives.
Strategic Planning helped prioritize projects for the upcoming fiscal year.

Strategic Management

Navigating an organization towards its strategic aspirations.
Strategic Management was key in pivoting the business during the economic downturn.

Strategic Planning

Process of defining long-term goals.
With Strategic Planning, the firm identified its five-year objectives.

Strategic Management

Execution and adaptation of strategic plans.
Effective Strategic Management ensured the company remained agile in a changing market.

Strategic Planning

Visionary blueprint for an organization's future.
The new CEO emphasized the importance of robust Strategic Planning.

Strategic Management

Tools and processes for realizing strategic vision.
Continuous training in Strategic Management equipped the managers for challenges ahead.

Strategic Planning

A roadmap for future organizational direction.
The company embarked on a month-long Strategic Planning session.

Strategic Management

Ongoing process to achieve strategic objectives.
The team excelled in Strategic Management, consistently meeting their targets.

Common Curiosities

Who is involved in Strategic Management?

Strategic Management involves all levels of an organization, ensuring daily actions align with strategic objectives.

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic Planning is the process of setting a future direction and goals for an organization.

How does Strategic Management differ from Strategic Planning?

Strategic Management involves executing and adapting the plans laid out during Strategic Planning.

Why is Strategic Planning important?

Strategic Planning provides a clear vision and sets priorities, helping organizations navigate towards their desired future.

What are the outcomes of effective Strategic Planning?

Effective Strategic Planning provides clarity, direction, and a roadmap for achieving long-term goals.

Does Strategic Planning involve risk assessment?

Yes, Strategic Planning often includes assessing potential risks and devising strategies to mitigate them.

Is Strategic Planning a one-time event?

No, Strategic Planning is an iterative process, revisited periodically to ensure relevance.

How often should organizations engage in Strategic Planning?

It varies, but many organizations engage in Strategic Planning annually or biennially.

Are there tools specifically designed for Strategic Management?

Yes, there are various tools and methodologies, like SWOT analysis or Balanced Scorecard, to aid in Strategic Management.

Can an organization succeed without Strategic Management?

Without Strategic Management, an organization might struggle to execute and adapt its strategic plans effectively.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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