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

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 27, 2023
Strategic planning is the process of defining a strategy and direction, while strategic management involves implementing, evaluating, and adjusting these strategies.

Key Differences

Strategic planning is the process of outlining an organization's direction, setting goals and deciding on the actions to achieve these goals. Strategic management, however, encompasses not only planning but also the execution and ongoing oversight of these strategies.
Strategic planning focuses on establishing long-term objectives and determining resources needed, while strategic management involves adapting plans as necessary and managing daily operations to align with these strategies.
The outcome of strategic planning is a clear roadmap for the future, including a vision and mission. In contrast, strategic management is an iterative process, constantly adjusting to changes in the internal and external environment.
Strategic planning often occurs at higher levels of management, involving top executives and decision-makers. Strategic management, on the other hand, permeates all levels of an organization, involving continuous decision-making and problem-solving.
The key to successful strategic planning is foresight and long-term perspective, while effective strategic management requires flexibility, ongoing assessment, and responsive leadership.

Comparison Chart


Defining strategy and setting long-term goals
Implementing and managing the defined strategy


Predominantly planning and designing
Includes planning, execution, and monitoring

Level of Operation

Generally at the top or executive level
Involves all levels of an organization


Long-term perspective
Continuous and adaptive process

Primary Objective

Establishing a clear roadmap and direction
Achieving strategic goals through management

Strategic Planning and Strategic Management Definitions

Strategic Planning

A methodical approach to setting long-term goals.
Strategic planning helped them identify new opportunities for growth.

Strategic Management

Continuous assessment of strategy effectiveness.
Regular strategic management meetings were held to monitor progress.

Strategic Planning

Establishing a vision and direction for an organization.
The board's strategic planning set the course for the next five years.

Strategic Management

The ongoing process of implementing strategic plans.
Through strategic management, they successfully executed the new marketing strategy.

Strategic Planning

The process of defining an organization’s strategy.
The company's strategic planning session focused on expanding into new markets.

Strategic Management

Managing resources to achieve strategic objectives.
Strategic management ensured the efficient use of funds in the project.

Strategic Planning

Determining the actions to achieve organizational objectives.
Their strategic planning involved diversifying their product line.

Strategic Management

The alignment of operational activities with strategic goals.
Strategic management was key in aligning the sales team with company objectives.

Strategic Planning

A decision-making tool to allocate resources effectively.
Strategic planning was used to decide which projects received funding.

Strategic Management

The adaptation of strategies based on environmental changes.
Their strategic management involved adjusting goals in response to market shifts.


Can strategic planning change?

Yes, it can be updated based on new information or changes.

What is strategic planning?

It's the process of setting goals and determining how to achieve them.

Who is involved in strategic planning?

Typically top executives and key decision-makers.

Is strategic planning necessary for all businesses?

Most businesses benefit from having a clear strategy.

Who performs strategic management?

All levels of management, from executives to mid-level managers.

What is strategic management?

It's the practice of implementing and adjusting strategic plans.

How does strategic management differ from day-to-day management?

It focuses more on long-term goals and strategic alignment.

What role does innovation play in strategic planning?

It's essential for staying competitive and relevant.

How often should strategic planning be done?

It varies, but often annually or biannually.

Do small businesses need strategic management?

Yes, to guide growth and adapt to changes.

How important is communication in strategic management?

Crucial for ensuring alignment and execution.

Is strategic management a continuous process?

Yes, it requires ongoing effort and adaptation.

Can strategic planning predict future trends?

It attempts to, though predictions aren't always accurate.

What are common challenges in strategic planning?

Lack of clear vision, inadequate resources, and resistance to change.

Can strategic management help in crisis situations?

Yes, it provides a framework for response and adaptation.

Can strategic management affect company culture?

Yes, it can significantly influence organizational culture.

Can external factors influence strategic planning?

Yes, like market trends and economic conditions.

How is success measured in strategic management?

Through the achievement of strategic goals and objectives.

How does technology impact strategic planning?

It offers tools for analysis and forecasting.

Are strategic planning and management only for for-profit businesses?

No, they're valuable for any organization.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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