Strategic planning essentially represents where an organisation is; where it wants to be and how it is going to get there. Too often, strategic plans are constructed because "we need to have one" with very little thought engaged in.
True strategic planning involves planning, implementation and review. All the activities involved set priorities, focus energy and resources and strengthen operations ensuring that everyone associated with the organisation are working toward common goals. The strategic plan is driven by the board and implemented on its behalf by the CEO.
The strategic plan must include milestones against which progress can be measured. Progress (or road blocks) identified should lead to an updating of the strategic plan to ensure that it remains relevant.
It is critically important that the strategic plan remains an ever-present item on board meeting agendas and not just locked away until the next annual required date. The strategic plan should also be used when conducting the annual CEO evaluation.