Strategy vs Planning

We often confuse the two, strategy vs planning.

Many use these two terms interchangeably, which is wrong because to different people it means different things.

Context: I spent 6 years working as part of the Corporate Strategy Office, doing Management Consulting and High-Value Deals.


Strategy is where we are now, where are we going, and what and why it needs to be done.

It takes into account the market, competition, market potential, suppliers, customers and existing data to make an informed decision.

Through strategy, we're able to find gaps in the market and find ways to exploit them.

It's also done before a Planning takes place, it's long term and rarely changes.

Strategy is the Map, from and to.

In football, defence pass to mid-fielder, mid-fielder to offensive and score goal. A very broad, high-level approach to football.


Planning on the other hand is about How, Who and When it's going to be delivered.

With planning, we can come up with Plan A, Plan B and so forth.

Planning is a specific execution. If plan A fails, we default to plan B and so forth. We anticipate failure and prepare with backup plans.

Good planning takes into account potential failures.

Planning is the option of the route from point A to B.

In football, the plan is like, pass the ball to Messi, he will score. If it fails, pass the ball to Ronaldo. (They have never played in the same team).

Strategy vs Planning 1
Strategy vs Planning

Which one do I use?

Both. Consider flying an aeroplane example.

Without a strategy, planning is like piloting the aeroplane, taking off without knowing where to go and fly until you run out of fuel. You don't know to land in to ocean, mountains, or another airport.

Without planning, we'll still be stuck at the airport and not take off. In other words, it's only a wish.

With both, you know where and how to go to your destination.

Other Definitions

Strategic Planning - An open-minded approach to determine the vision of the future, especially when you don't have data, identify goals and objectives.

Organisational Planning - it's a process of defining the company's reason for existing, setting goals aimed at realising full potential. Who does what at the organisational level based on their strengths. Every company must have this. (This is most of the time set once, rarely change and usually comes before Strategy)

Corporate Strategy - Unique plan or framework that is a very-long term where the company is heading. E.g. LG stops manufacturing phones and focus on displays-business.

Still Confused?

The world of business management is rather confusing with different people having a different take on the matter because business is not an exact science (fill with theories than Law).

What matters is your answer to the following questions.

  1. Where do you want to go?
  2. What do you intend to sell?
  3. How competitive is the market?
  4. What is your company's Unique Value Proposition?
  5. How are you going to deliver value?
  6. Who will deliver the those value?
  7. What are the backup plans?


Though people use the terms strategy and planning interchangeably, it really doesn't matter. As long as you have most questions answered.

Take your time to understand your business.

An idiot with a Plan can beat a Genius without a Plan.

A share would be, Sublime.

Hi, I'm Edwin

I'm a multilayer Marketer + Designer that helps businesses get more leads. My core skills are web design, SEO and Copywriting. I work at Web Design, Laman7

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