Difference Wiki

Strategy Formulation vs. Strategy Implementation: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 20, 2023
Strategy Formulation involves designing a plan of action, while Strategy Implementation puts that plan into action.

Key Differences

Strategy Formulation is the phase where organizations determine their goals and chart out the means to achieve them. It involves analysis, thinking, and decision-making. On the other hand, Strategy Implementation takes the designed plan from the formulation phase and brings it to life, executing the strategies and ensuring they are effectively put into place.
In Strategy Formulation, the emphasis is on understanding the external environment, analyzing internal capabilities, and designing a roadmap to achieve desired outcomes. It's about conceptualizing the best path forward. Conversely, Strategy Implementation focuses on mobilizing resources, aligning organizational processes, and driving the organization towards the goals set during formulation.
The success of Strategy Formulation hinges on the depth of research, clarity of vision, and the robustness of the devised strategy. In contrast, the success of Strategy Implementation rests on the organization's ability to adapt, coordinate, and execute the plan, ensuring that all departments and teams are in sync.
While Strategy Formulation is often the realm of top management, Strategy Implementation requires efforts from every level of the organization. Everyone, from leadership to frontline employees, plays a crucial role in bringing the strategy to fruition. Without proper implementation, even the most well-thought-out strategies from the formulation phase can fail.
Summarizing, Strategy Formulation and Strategy Implementation are two sides of the strategic management coin. While the former designs the roadmap, the latter ensures the journey is undertaken successfully.

Comparison Chart


Designing a plan of action.
Executing the designed plan.


Analysis, thinking, decision-making.
Mobilizing resources, coordination, execution.

Success Depends On

Depth of research, clarity of vision.
Organizational adaptability and alignment.

Main Participants

Typically top management.
All levels of the organization.


A clear and actionable strategy.
Achieved goals and measurable results.

Strategy Formulation and Strategy Implementation Definitions

Strategy Formulation

The process of conceiving strategic plans to achieve goals.
Strategy Formulation is the first step towards market dominance.

Strategy Implementation

Executing the strategies designed during formulation.
The success of our Strategy Implementation will be evident in our quarterly results.

Strategy Formulation

Designing a plan based on analysis and decision-making.
The CEO emphasized the importance of a thorough Strategy Formulation for the upcoming fiscal year.

Strategy Implementation

Mobilizing resources to achieve strategic objectives.
Strategy Implementation required the reallocation of funds to priority projects.

Strategy Formulation

Setting a course of action after understanding strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Their Strategy Formulation process benefited greatly from a detailed SWOT analysis.

Strategy Implementation

The phase of translating strategic plans into organizational action.
Effective Strategy Implementation is as crucial as a well-designed plan.

Strategy Formulation

Determining organizational direction based on internal and external factors.
Through Strategy Formulation, the company decided to explore the Asian market.

Strategy Implementation

Driving the organization towards formulated goals by executing the plan.
Leadership played a pivotal role in successful Strategy Implementation.

Strategy Formulation

Crafting a strategic blueprint for organizational success.
Strategy Formulation sessions were held off-site to avoid distractions.

Strategy Implementation

Bringing the formulated plan to life through action.
The team worked tirelessly to ensure seamless Strategy Implementation across departments.


Which phase comes first, Strategy Formulation or Implementation?

Strategy Formulation always precedes Implementation.

Can Strategy Implementation succeed without a solid Strategy Formulation?

A weak formulation can hinder successful implementation, as the foundation might be flawed.

What's the primary aim of Strategy Formulation?

To design a clear and actionable plan based on organizational goals.

How does Strategy Implementation differ?

It focuses on executing the plan designed during the formulation phase.

Who is typically involved in Strategy Formulation?

It's often the responsibility of top management or strategic planners.

How crucial is alignment during Strategy Implementation?

Extremely crucial, as misalignment can derail the strategic plan.

How frequently should organizations revisit their Strategy Formulation?

Ideally, it should be revisited annually, but also when significant changes occur in the market or internally.

How can organizations ensure effective Strategy Implementation?

Through clear communication, resource allocation, and regular monitoring.

How do you measure the success of Strategy Implementation?

Through key performance indicators (KPIs) and the achievement of strategic objectives.

Can Strategy Formulation change once it's set?

While it provides direction, it's not rigid and can adapt to new information or conditions.

What's the role of leadership in Strategy Implementation?

Leadership guides, motivates, and ensures alignment throughout the implementation process.

What tools are often used in Strategy Formulation?

SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, and Porter's Five Forces are common tools.

How can organizations ensure that Strategy Implementation remains on track?

Regular reviews, feedback loops, and adjustments based on real-time data can keep implementation on course.

Can employees impact Strategy Implementation?

Yes, employees at all levels play a crucial role in executing the strategy.

Is technology important in Strategy Formulation?

Yes, technology can provide data and insights that can shape strategic decisions.

Are competitors considered during Strategy Formulation?

Yes, understanding competitors is crucial to formulate an effective strategy.

Is external input valuable during Strategy Formulation?

Yes, external insights can provide a broader perspective and uncover blind spots.

Can external factors hinder Strategy Implementation?

Absolutely, factors like market changes, regulatory shifts, or economic downturns can impact implementation.

Why is Strategy Formulation critical?

It sets the direction and provides a roadmap for the organization's future.

What challenges can arise during Strategy Implementation?

Resistance to change, resource constraints, and lack of alignment are common challenges.
About Author
Written 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.
Edited 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.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons