Strategic Thinking Versus Strategic Planning: What’s Best for You?

The simple definition of strategy is “deciding how we will prevail in the upcoming era.” However, there is no clear explanation of what strategy is. 

This is due, in part, to the fact that strategists and business theorists have studied strategy for many years and do so from various perspectives.

For example, some individuals think that you need to thoroughly assess the current, foresee changes in your market or sector, and then use this information to plan how you’ll flourish in the future. 

In contrast, others believe it is impossible to anticipate the future and would rather see their plans develop naturally.

What Is Strategic Thinking?

Strategic thinking is a deliberate and logical thought process that evaluates key elements and variables that will affect a company’s long-term performance, a group of people, or an individual.

Strategic thinking involves the purposeful and cautious prediction of dangers, weaknesses, and opportunities. 

In the end, strategic thinking and analysis provide a distinct set of objectives, strategies, and novel concepts necessary to persist and grow in a tough, dynamic environment. This thinking must consider market pressures, economic reality, and resource availability.

Making decisions is the core of strategic thinking. Your decision-making process will be thoughtful and well-informed if you have a strategic perspective. 

You will exhibit original thinking, view challenges in new ways, innovate and be aware of possibilities and how to seize them. When you think strategically, you prepare for the future and are concerned with long-term success.

Is strategic thinking something that comes naturally to individuals, or is it something that you can teach yourself to do?  The answer is yes.

Simple Ways To Cultivate Strategic Thinking Skills

1. Take charge

Taking the effort and preparing your actions beforehand are critical components of strategic thinking. 

This allows you to build an innovative ability to execute ideas that strategic minds can only make. 

You become more involved and productive in your work or business when you are self-motivated and encouraged to complete a task.

For instance, if you’re a clinical coder employed by a large corporation, you might assess the various processes and identify opportunities for change. 

This can entail setting up a backup system to keep all of your coding work. You might experience more possibilities and improved productivity at work as a result.

2. Keep Yourself Updated

Establish networks, increase your reading, and participate in conferences and exhibitions abroad. 

Developing a strategic mentality is more about finding new ways to solve old issues and thinking differently.

To better grasp your consumers’ viewpoints and develop your strategic thinking abilities, you can ask your seniors for help and speak openly with your clients. 

To keep yourself updated about the potential in your sector, read books, online blogs, magazines, and online trade publications of your choosing. 

To meet new individuals, you can also participate in online forums and communicate with others who share your interests.

3. Don’t Ignore Opposing Ideas

After you’ve chosen a course of action that will enable your company to achieve its objectives, challenge your presumptions and subject your theory to a thorough test. 

You can ensure you’re taking advantage of another option by doing this.

Playing the devil’s advocate with your theories can help you anticipate where your case could fall short and prepare you to justify your approach when others raise concerns. 

It also helps you develop the reasoning abilities required to explain and carry out your plan.

Make it a practice to check your assumptions whenever you’re ready to make a statement if you want to master this skill. 

Should you think about an alternative viewpoint? Is there another option that you could have missed?

Example of Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking can necessitate a certain level of imagination. This imagination helps you to create new approaches to work through problems. 

You can inspire yourself to produce fresh and creative thoughts when carefully preparing the measures to address a challenge.

Even if your list of prospective ideas doesn’t seem logical initially, try to think creatively. Then, you can evaluate your suggestions and their level of threat. 

Logic and creativity can be used in strategic thinking. It allows you to combine your innovative thinking into a holistic solution.

For Example, An ad agency that enhances the marketing operations of its companies accepts applications from marketing consultants. 

The work comprises assessing companies’ marketing efforts. It also includes identifying strategies to improve and maximize their reach. 

Applicants must describe their background on the job application with

  1. Similar work.
  2. Transferable skills.
  3. Qualifications.

This applicant demonstrates their aptitude for the position. They do it by conducting a new evaluation of one of the company’s current clients. 

This concept makes them stand out from other candidates. Risk is involved since they incorporate something the employer didn’t want. But, after evaluating the idea, they decide it’s okay.

What Is Strategic Planning?

Formalizing the strategies created via strategic thinking to benefit the whole business planning process is the goal of strategic planning. 

Although this method also imagines the future, it transforms that vision into clearly outlined goals, objectives, and a list of actions defining how to accomplish those goals. 

As a manner of doing and regularly acting to assess, concentrate and implement, strategic planning may be viewed as the business planning process’s how, when, and who.

Even though the two have different scopes, they are interconnected and helpful to one another. In the end, strategic thinking without strategic planning leads to an ongoing search for a framework and method. 

In contrast, strategic planning without strategic thinking leads to a meaningless process of goal setting and assessing targets that aren’t always stepping stones to delivering actual outcomes. 

Strategic planning provides voice, action, and structure, whereas strategic thinking guides strategic planning.

Example of Strategic Planning

A city strategy is often a comprehensive plan with features related to the economy, the environment, quality of life, and infrastructure. 

Plans frequently have a lengthy time horizon of 5, 10, 20, or 25 years with few actions done in the direction of the plan in the patient budget. 

Fancy marketing images are frequently used to showcase city strategies. Plans frequently need to be revised or partially realized because of the lengthy time horizons required as priorities shift over time.

Objective 1 Offer all students free, affordable, and nutritious lunches prepared by renowned chefs.
Plan 1. Create and distribute lunch menus

2. Purchase lunches from several vendors and evaluate them for performance and quality

3. Ask kids and parents for regular input on the program to improve it.

Outcome Look out for every child in the city by providing access to a healthy lunch every school day.


Objective 2 Enhancement of Air Quality
Plan 1. To remove the worst cars off the road, aggressively implement an emissions testing program for trucks and small motorcyclists.

2. Within five years, all city buses must be electric. Every fiscal year, at least 20% of the fleet must be replaced.

Outcome Target a citywide average of 3.5 particulate matter of 40 ppm or below.


Objective 3 Enhancement of Internet 
Plan 1. Invest in the infrastructure of the Internet backbone to connect to more regions

2. Offer 50% of the downtown core free high-speed wifi.

Outcome 85% more local businesses will be satisfied with the internet infrastructure.



As suggested by the topic, you should not be contemplating what’s best for you; Strategic thinking or Strategic planning. Instead, you must realize that both go hand-in-hand instead of prioritizing one over the other. 

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