Strategic Planning vs. Operational Planning: What's the Difference?

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Key Difference

Planning is a significant activity as it lets one clear the steps to be followed to achieve the success. In other words, we can say that planning is the advance setting off ideas and thoughts, which tells that what is to be done in the future. Different organizations and corporations also have plans, which they execute to gain the desired results. Mainly there are two types of planning’s set in the corporate world. One is the Strategic Planning, and the other one is the Operational Planning. The plan set to achieve the long-term objectives is known as the strategic planning, whereas the plan made to achieve the short time objective is known as the operation planning. The strategic planning has the wide influence on the business activities, whereas the operation planning has a narrow influence on the business activities of the firm.

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Comparison Chart

Strategic PlanningOperational Planning
DefinitionThe plan set to achieve the long-term objectives is known as the strategic planning.The plan made to achieve the short time objective is known as the operation planning.
InfluenceWide influenceNarrow influence
Management involvedTop Level MangementMid Level Mangemnent
To be followed byThe entire company, including each of the departments and units.It may be only for the specific departments and units.
PeriodLonger term, the modification takes place in it after the higher-ups meeting.Short term, can be modified on the monthly or weekly basis.

What is Strategic Planning?

The strategic planning is the long-term planning that is set by the higher-ups of the organization. In this type of planning, they decide the main aim and approach of the company. This plan remains unchanged for the specific tenure, and it changes after the meeting of the top management. It is an analytical process which thoroughly looks into the model of the business on the whole with regards to the micro and macro environment. The other task for the strategic planning is policy, and rules and regulations making. In this type of planning, the top priorities, ambitions of the firm are also defined along with the ultimate goal, which the corporation eyes to achieve in the longer term. As we know that a company comprises of different units or departments, which have their individual managers and supervisor, the plan decided through the strategic planning is to be followed by each and every of the department and unit as it is the plan designed for the entire company. The allocation of resources is also done in this planning along with the strategy planning. SWOT  Analysis  (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) and the PEST Analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological Environment) are some of the most prominent statistical tools that are used in strategic planning.

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What is Operational Planning?

The operational plan is the detailed plan which is made under the umbrella of strategic planning. In other words, it is the clear picture or the plan that is to be executed to achieve the strategic goals of the company. Although, it is short term in nature as it is up with the day-to-day tasks policy. In this type of planning, specific activities and events are planned on te regular basis to gain the desired objectives by the top management of the company. The each of the department or unit in the firm formulates its plan in the operational planning; the middle-level management has authority in this type of planning process. The operational plan is the short-time plan which lasts for a year or six months period, although the policy in this type of plan can be immediately changed; even on the monthly or the weekly basis. The ultimate goals set in the strategic planning are thoroughly looked and the clear picture or the plan is formulated to achieve the long-term goals of the company.

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Strategic Planning vs. Operational Planning

  • The plan set to achieve the long-term objectives is known as the strategic planning, whereas the plan made to achieve the short time objective is known as the operation planning.
  • The strategic planning has the wide influence on the business activities, whereas the operation planning has a narrow influence on the business activities of the firm.
  • Top management of the firm takes part in the strategic planning, whereas the mid-level management takes part in the operational planning.
  • The strategic plan is to be followed by each and every of the department and unit of the firm. On the other hand, the operational planning is for the specific unit or department.
  • The strategic planning remains unchanged for the longer tenure. Contrary to this,  the operational planning is a kind of day-to-day planning it can be changed.

Explanatory Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2weg_EorCR0