Strategy is about the direction of travel for an organisation. Once the strategy has been agreed, an organiisation will typically look at 2 types of planning to execute the strategy– strategic and operational.
A strategic plan is a co-ordinated and systematic way to develop the course and direction for the organisation. A popular way to communicate the strategy to the organisation is through a picture/diagram that tells the story of the organisation. One example would be the Strategy Map created by Robert Kaplan and David Norton as part of the Balanced Scorecard framework. The strategic plan is for the organisation as a whole and is therefore at a high level.
An operational plan provides a clear picture of how a department, section or team will contribute towards the organisation’s vision.
Within a strategic plan there will be a number of outcomes to be achieved in order to realise the organisation’s Vision. The operational plan for a particular department, section or team will identify which outcomes they can specifically contribute towards and show how they will do so.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” Confucius