The Difference Between a Plan and a Strategy

by | Sep 15, 2011 | Consulting, Leadership

These two terms, often used interchangeably are far from the same … Each is a completely different concept.

The Plan

A plan is usually a list of steps taken to accomplish a goal. A plan tackles questions like how, when, where, who, and what? A plan is a good thing to have. In fact, it is vital to the success of almost any effort. However developing a plan should not be the first step in addressing a task.

The Strategy

A strategy is bigger than a plan. Strategy tackles the question of why? It has a large scope and looks at the end result as well as the many paths to the desired outcome. A strategy looks at every possible influencing factor, both seen and unforeseen and comes to terms with the whole situation, not just one end result.

Plan vs. Strategy

A plan says, “Here are the steps,” while a strategy says, “Here are the best steps.” Strategy speaks to the reasons why, while the plan is focused on how.

In a perfect world the strategy always comes before a plan and shapes the details of the plan. A strategy is the overarching wisdom that coordinates all of the plans in order to effectively reach the goals.

The Take Away

Remember, having a plan is essential, but developing a strategy should always come first. And whatever you do, don’t try to fit a strategy around existing plans. Rather, develop the right strategy and create the appropriate plans around the strategy.

Strategy drives the plan toward the goal. A plan alone wanders aimlessly.

Infinity Concepts can help better define your strategy and put your plan into action. Let’s talk today!

George Konetes