Skills you'll gain: Communication, Strategy and Operations, Leadership and Management, Project Management, Entrepreneurship, Agile Software Development, Business Psychology, Change Management, Culture, Human Resources, Leadership Development, Marketing, Operations Management, Planning, Sales, Scrum (Software Development), Software Engineering, Strategy, Supply Chain and Logistics
Beginner · Course · 1-4 Weeks
Skills you'll gain: Leadership and Management, Strategy and Operations, Business Analysis, Business Process Management, Change Management, Collaboration, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Development, Operational Analysis, Operations Management, Organizational Development, People Development, Planning, Project Management, Supply Chain and Logistics, Entrepreneurship
Mixed · Course · 1-4 Weeks
Skills you'll gain: Data Analysis, Data Management, Databases, SQL, Statistical Programming, Business Analysis, Microsoft Excel, Spreadsheet Software, Bioinformatics, Database Administration, Probability & Statistics, Process Analysis, Strategy and Operations, Web Development
Beginner · Course · 1-4 Weeks
Strategic planning is the process by which an organization sets its goals, defines its path for achieving them, and allocates required resources accordingly. This process of creating a business strategy is important because it establishes agreement around the common goals of an enterprise and provides a shared framework for evaluating progress. Thus, beyond simply helping to guide the annual budget, strategic planning is an important leadership and management tool.
The strategic planning process can be broken down in a variety of ways, but generally has three phases: strategic analysis, strategy formulation, and strategy implementation. The analysis phase requires a capabilities analysis of the business as well as consideration of its competitive position within the industry structure it operates in. Formulation takes these insights as a basis for setting achievable goals and deciding on appropriate courses of action to achieve them.
Of course, the most challenging phase of strategic planning is implementation. As any manager knows, even the most careful planning process can never anticipate all the complexities the future holds - particularly considering the rapid changes occurring in our world today. Strategic management means knowing how to adapt to changing circumstances as the business moves forward while continuing to rely upon the goals set in the strategic planning process for guidance.
Every manager in an organization must understand strategic planning, as this process is typically central to setting annual budgets and reporting for each department. Thus, Human resources (HR) managers, sales and marketing managers, financial managers, and other department heads need to be able to provide useful inputs into the planning process as well as participate in its ongoing implementation.
Strategic planning skills are especially important for top-level executives, such as chief executive officers (CEOs), chief operating officers (COOs), chief financial officers (CFOs), and other “C-suite” positions in a company. These executives are responsible for devising the overarching strategy for the company, establishing the policies required to meet them, and ensuring that managers understand and follow through on their implementation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chief executives earned a median salary of $184,460 in May 2019, making this a very highly compensated skill set.
Yes. Coursera offers a wide range of business courses as well as Specializations online, including opportunities to learn about strategic planning specifically from top-ranked schools like the University of Virginia and Copenhagen Business School. You can even learn about this skill as part of Coursera’s full-fledged online MBA programs offered by schools like the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Macquarie University.
Regardless of what your career goals are, or the educational strategy you’re pursuing to achieve them, Coursera lets you learn online on a flexible schedule. Thus, you can learn about strategic planning while continuing to work at your existing job, making this an excellent choice for mid-career professionals as well as business-minded students that want a high-level skill set as they begin their career.
The skills and experience that you might need to already have before starting to learn strategic planning may include experience with organizational management work, assessing company practices and methods, and helping executives to make decisions that could help them guide their organizations in more focused ways. In much the same way that a financial planner helps people understand their investments and how to make the most of their return, strategic planners can help companies set corporate priorities, focus the company’s energy and resources into potentially high ROI activities, and help to strengthen overall operations. Being able to have these skills and experience before learning strategic planning may make you a valuable asset to a team.
The kind of people that are best suited for work that involves strategic planning are those people who display good analytical characteristics for business vision, have leadership confidence, are strong with data and numbers, are computer literate, and can communicate well. People in strategic planning roles usually work in analyzing and assessing business environments to come up with a strategic formulation to organize business units. To do this high-level work, they often are smart, detail-oriented, have agreeable personalities, and can get the job done. These people may also have a bachelor's or master’s degree in accounting, business, finance, or economics.
You might know if learning strategic planning is right for you if you have enthusiasm for directing the level of change in a group, a team, a business, or a corporate organization. Learning about strategic planning can take on many facets, from understanding the basics of a more human resources focus for employee changes to a more technology-based focus for a company-wide change to digital transformation methods. Learning strategic planning can be a strong stepping stone to staying abreast of changes in business processes and practices. Strategic planning is a large field of opportunity for a creative, detail-focused, innovative individual to take, and if this is interesting to you, you may find this to be a rewarding new career path.