Ugly language: strategic planning
Sam Smith - The phrase "strategic planning" is a pretentious business school substitute for the far more descriptive term "long range planning." Progressives should wipe business school words from their vocabulary and this is a good place to start.
Prompting me to send him this reply:
You know I tend to agree with you far more often than not, but as someone who tries to help nonprofits, I make a particular and, I think, quite meaningful distinction between strategic planning and long-range planning.
As I use the terms, strategic planning is not schedule based at all; rather, it works best when the participants identify their specific critical dependencies -- the things they have to have to operate and to reach their goals -- and then assess the stability/instability facing each of those critical dependencies and the causes for those.
The key task is to identify the most important threats to the most important things that the organization has to have to function (attain its goals). If there is any time element at all, it's usually only when figuring out which of the problems identified need to be addressed first. Strategic planning actively assesses the "out there" -- the larger forces in society, including limits on natural resources, that will affect the organization's ability to attain its goals.
Long-range planning, on the other hand, is just that -- an inwardly focused look at the organization's goals and objectives. Ideally, leaders consciously relate the results of their strategic planning work to their long-range planning, recognizing that, like federal budgets, the further out you go, the more fanciful they are, particularly because of the factors that the strategic planners have identified.
What most organizations do, to the extent that they plan at all, is a watered down form of long-range planning that occurs during sessions called "strategic planning." You can immediately recognize the faux strategic planning by its assumption that the larger world will remain pretty much as it is today (business as usual assumption) for the indefinite future.