Difference Between Strategy and Plan (With Table)

Strategy and planning are two terms that often confuses people as to when and where to use those terms appropriately. Planning is determining and drafting goals for the future, while strategy is associated with drafting a long-term plan to achieve a goal. Planning involves thinking, while strategy involves action-taking. Both may sound similar but have distinguishing features that set them apart.

Strategy vs Plan

The difference between strategy and plan is that planning is concerned with the future. Planning is thinking as to what to do and how to do a certain task. On the other hand, strategy is carefully choosing the best plan to accomplish a certain goal. Planning is a short-term process, while strategy is a long term one.

Strategy is carefully choosing the best plan to accomplish a certain task or goal. The strategy involves practical thinking, and it is a component of planning. The strategy involves action. Strategy is formulating a plan (a comprehensive one) to achieve a goal easily. A strategy is formed by analyzing the situation, picking the best plan, considering all the pros and cons and use them to achieve a goal.

Planning is a part of management. It is the first step in the functions of management. Planning is concerned with the future. Planning involves assumptions. It means thinking as to what to do and how to do a task. It is pre-preparation for the future task. The time period of planning depends completely on the goal which is to be achieved.

Comparison Table Between Strategy and Plan

Parameters of ComparisonStrategyPlan
MeaningStrategy is a broad plan that involves action.The plan is related to thinking. It involves a plan which will be used in the future.
Time periodStrategy is a long-term process.The time period depends on the goal which is to be achieved.
RequirementAnalyzing, practical thinking, evaluating the pros and cons.Thorough thinking of what to do next.
BasisThe strategy involves action and thinking.Planning involves thinking only.
ProcessStrategy is the first step.Planning is followed by strategy.

What is Strategy?

Strategy is nothing but a broad plan that will be converted into actions to achieve a certain objective. Strategy can be used anywhere. It is the most used term in a business environment. The strategy involves carefully choosing the best plan by analyzing the situation, evaluating the pros and cons, considering the resources (if any), logical reasoning, and putting the plan into action.

Strategy is often associated and used for a long-term goal. In terms of succession, strategy is the first step which is then followed by planning. The strategy involves both thinking and action, while planning involves only thinking. It may be defined as how a business or an individual achieve their respective goals. Strategy comes under the branch of the decision-making process.

A strategy is often created and used by the business organization to beat or eliminate its competitors. In a business environment, strategy is divided into four types. They are corporate strategy, operational strategy, business strategy, and functional strategy. A business strategy is something that is used by the business to sustain its product or service in the market or popularize its product or service or keep the business stable in the market. They are further divided into three types of strategies.

What is Plan?

Planning is a function of management. It is the second step after strategy, meaning a strategy is prepared by coordinating all the plans to achieve a certain goal. Planning involves thinking as to what to do next and how to do it. It is the first step in the functions of management which is then followed by organizing, leading and controlling. Planning is used in a business to plan the objectives or goals by thoroughly thinking. Just like strategy, planning also has several types.

They are operational planning, strategic planning, tactical planning, and contingency planning. Strategic planning is the important plan that will be put into action to achieve a certain goal or an objective. They are planned by the top management levels. These plans are often implemented to achieve a long-term goal.

Tactical planning is a short-term plan to achieve a small goal. It is planned by the low management personals. On the other hand, contingency planning is ready to use plan (a backup plan), which is used if the primary plan does not come out well as predicted. An operational plan is something that defines how work should take place to achieve the respective goal.

Main Differences Between Strategy and Plan

  1. Strategy is a broad plan that involves action. On the other hand, planning is associated with thinking of what to do and how to do a certain task.
  2. Strategy is a long-term process, and it is much more complicated than planning. On the other hand, the time period of planning depends on the task.
  3. The strategy involves analyzing the situation, evaluating the pros and cons and considering practical thinking, whereas planning entirely depends on thinking.
  4. Strategy is the first step which is followed by planning.
  5. Strategy is choosing the best plan and put the plan into action, while planning is drafting the plan alone.

Conclusion

Strategy and plan play an integral role in the business environment. Both strategy and plan help in achieving a certain goal. People often get confused with both the terms “strategy” and “plan” as they sound similar and has quite the same process.

A plan is a map that is used for achieving a certain task. It is prepared pre-hand to use in the future. On the other hand, a strategy is a passage in which a firm implements its actions to attain a certain goal. The strategy involves analyzing the problem, identifying the best plan, logical situations and put the best plan into action.

References

  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-01695-002
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2486227
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