Strategic Thinking and Strategic Planning and Their Impact on Organizations

Strategic thinking and strategic planning are prickly subjects. In part, due to old views of strategic planning as a definition and process. The old process of strategic planning efforts relied heavily on a “top-down” leadership approach, then pushed down to management for implementation resulting in little effect and lots of frustration once introduced to the complexity and chaotic throws of their competitive environment. In a paper on modern strategic management, Tim O’Shannassy, from the school of management RMIT University of Australia, he confrontations the top down approach and exposes how the approach is no longer viable in the modern age (O’Shannassy, 2003, pp. 53- 60). Rather Tim infers a modern concept of strategic planning and thinking must occur using a stakeholder approach (2003, p. 53).

Considering Mintzberg’s concept of strategic planning as analysis and strategic thinking as synthesis, it becomes apparent there are many areas people from many backgrounds can engage in the strategic process (Mintberg, 2016). Strategic thinking within an organization allows the leader to contemplate the contributions of staff, partnerships, vendors, and debt holders and weight how these things are going to affect the strategic planning efforts into the future. This ability to combine both analytical and creative points coalesce around gaining a greater understanding of its competitive value and positioning into the future marketplace. Both strategic planning and strategic thinking are interdependent. Improvement of strategic thinking improves the strategic planning efforts. The strategic plan should in turn then improve the strategic thinking processes (Heracleous, 1998).

In conclusion, the strength of both strategic planning and thinking is based on the ability of leaders being able to get outside of traditional methods of strategy development and embrace both strategic capabilities as separate concepts with different purposes but adjoined in strengthening each through both analytical and creativity organizations that navigate through a complex and oft-chaotic future.

Heracleous, L. (1998). Strategic Thinking or Strategic Planning? Strategy at the Leading Edge: New Research & Conference Reports, 481-487.
Mintberg, H. (2016, April 6). The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review:
O’Shannassy, T. (2003, April 6). Modern Strategic Management: Balancing Strategic Thinking and Strategic Planning for Internal and External Stakeholders. Singapore Management Review, Volume 25 No.1, 53-67. Retrieved from EBSCO Host:

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