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Whilst the planning process produces outputs, as described above, strategy implementation or execution of the strategic plan produces Outcomes.These outcomes will invariably differ from the strategic goals.These values may be captured in an organization's vision and mission statements.
The term "budget" is used for a financial plan for the upcoming year.
A "forecast" is typically a combination of actual performance year-to-date plus expected performance for the remainder of the year, so is generally compared against plan or budget and prior performance.
Strategic planning is a process and thus has inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes. It may be formal or informal and is typically iterative, with feedback loops throughout the process.
Some elements of the process may be continuous and others may be executed as discrete projects with a definitive start and end during a period.
It may also extend to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy.
Strategic planning became prominent in corporations during the 1960s and remains an important aspect of strategic management.
Strategic planning provides inputs for strategic thinking, which guides the actual strategy formation.
Typical strategic planning efforts include the evaluation of the organization's mission and strategic issues to strengthen current practices and determine the need for new programming.
Inputs are gathered to help support an understanding of the competitive environment and its opportunities and risks.
Other inputs include an understanding of the values of key stakeholders, such as the board, shareholders, and senior management.