Strategic planning dates back to the time when ancient Greek warriors planned campaigns for military warfare. The etymology of 'strategy' is with the Greeks, who elected a 'strategos', (general of the army) to lead the regiment. These men gave the 'strategic' advice to win battles and manage wars. Thus, this kind of planning aimed at achieving the final result of the action plan. In the modern times, this aspect of planning has been understood and adopted by men in all walks of life. Yet, it is the military discipline that gets the credit for popularizing this dynamic method of planning. Strategic plans revolve around only three main questions - 1. What do we do? 2. For whom do we do it? 3. How do we come through?
Strategic Planning Models
Both, World War I and World War II have seen exemplary planning in operations like Operation Overlord, Blitzkrieg, Pearl Harbor, and the Fabian Strategy. Nations have been defined as a result of these strategies. The power of these strategies can be still felt, through the lasting effects it left on human race. The classic examples of this are Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unfortunately, military strategies were designed to bring a control over the enemy, which rendered in copious amounts of destruction. However, it was the Russian army's strategy which defeated Hitler's dictatorship and established a civilian rule there. To quote the English soldier, military historian and inter-war theorist, Captain Liddell Hart, "the art of distributing and applying military means to fulfill the ends of policy". This quote perfectly summarizes the essence of military strategic planning.
Entrepreneurs and businessmen are always looking for the perfect recipe for success, that is sure to sell like hot cakes. A strategic business plan provides a framework and foundation for a business to run. It gives a detailed plan of how a business entity is going to go about achieving targets, markets and its eventual sales. A successful business strategy will envisage the goal, define the mission statement, determine the objectives and implement the programs.
Sounds unfathomable, but yes even the sacred text of Bhagvad Geeta talks about strategic planning. The revered scripture brings out the strategic leadership of Lord Krishna, as he begins to answer Arjun's questions about war and duties. The efficient strategic planner, Krishna tells Arjun that he must fight for what is right and not for what is his. Arjun on the other hand argues that war is ungodly and would lead to callous bloodshed. It is at this point that Krishna shows Arjun the direction, by saying, he is the chosen one and Arjun will have to fight the battle at Kurukshetra to defeat the evils. Thus, strategic planning also requires leadership (seen through Krishna) in a situation of complete uncertainty (seen through Arjun).
Models of strategic planning have various connotations. Although a melange of spirituality, army, business and many other fields use it in various ways, it has only one aim and purpose. The purpose is clear: 'conquer'. Now whether you choose the Bhagvad Geeta or Blitzkrieg as your call, either routes will bring you to the same destination, called 'glory'.