The Difference Between a Plan and a Strategy
Do you know the difference between a plan and a strategy? Every strategy is a plan of sorts, but few plans are strategies. Thinking strategically takes a broader view and considers more variables than the planning that most of us do. Some ventures and adventures require a plan. Others require strategy.
Knowing which is which can mean the difference between watching the game and owning the team.
Are You Building a Birthday Cake or a Business?
BigStock: Birthday Cake
When we build a birthday cake, the plan — a recipe — takes place in a closed system. The birthday cake builder controls all of the key circumstances that will affect successful achievement of the goal.
And so the result is predictable.
We start building a birthday cake and we end with the birthday cake we set out to build. Rarely does an economic downturn affect it. It’s unlikely that another human unexpectedly tosses in a cupful of ketchup. A failure is a problem with execution or a flaw in the plan.
A plan is set of action steps to achieve a stated goal. Plans usually assume a closed system.
Birthday cakes can be build in a closed system.
A business can’t.
Building a business takes place in an open system. The business builder has inputs from outside the system and far less control. A business grows in an open system of change. It takes more than a plan to take advantage of the opportunity to grow that every change represents. That’s what makes a strategy the better road to growth.
Strategy is a realistic plan to advance over time by leveraging opportunities uniquely available to you.
- Have a Mission â set an ultimate philosophical, economical, and / or political purpose
- Assess and Reasses Your Position Every time You Gain Ground â Look, listen, measure, test your current situation, climate, resources, opportunities
- Use Changing Climate, Conditions, and Trends â Find the advantage in interruption and unexpected — use change as a ally to grow.
- Move Forward Tactically in Increments â Size, choose, and commit to campaigns that reflect obstacles, goals, and prizes
Don’t just plan to grow. Leverage the opportunity that shows up everywhere you are.
Do you use and leverage only resources you can control?
Could be you’re building a birthday cake not a business.
—ME “Liz” Strauss