Strategy is a general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty.
Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve goals are usually limited. Strategy generally involves setting goals and priorities, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). Strategy can be intended or can emerge as a pattern of activity as the person or organization adapts to its environment.
It typically involves two major processes:
Implementation: Refers to the action plans taken to achieve the goals established by the guiding policy.
Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. It helps coordinate the two processes required by the strategy, formulation and implementation. However, strategic planning is analytical in nature (i.e., it involves "finding the dots"); strategy formation itself involves synthesis (i.e., "connecting the dots") via strategic thinking. As such, strategic planning occurs around the strategy formation activity.
Strategic thinking is defined as a mental or thinking process applied by an individual in the context of achieving a goal or set of goals in a game or other endeavor. As a cognitive activity, it produces thought.
Strategic thinking includes finding and developing a strategic foresight capacity for an organization or individual, by exploring all possible futures, and challenging conventional thinking to foster decision making today.
The strategist must have a great capacity for both analysis and synthesis; analysis is necessary to assemble the data on which he makes his diagnosis, synthesis in order to produce from these data the diagnosis itself—and the diagnosis in fact amounts to a choice between alternative courses of action.