Management can and should use strategic planning, to the extent feasible, to address anticipated problems, both internal and external. “Strategic,” or “strategy,” means the use of a broadly focused, long-range perspective that defines the nature of the organization and the environment in which it operates while laying out a map for how best to move forward. It cannot necessarily anticipate all potential internal weaknesses, for example, the well-positioned disgruntled employee or officer who defects to the competition or sabotages the operation from the inside. Strategic planning can, however, be used to anticipate most potential internal weaknesses, as well external threats. Senior company officers are expected to be aware of the idiosyncrasies of individual subordinates and to have a sense of where within the organization system failure is most likely to occur – either human or technical. Similarly, any responsible corporate management-level officer is fully cognizant of the external environment in which his or her company operates. Depending upon the type of business, external threats could involve a sudden change in public attitudes or tastes, the potential for an increase in competition from new entrants into a market, the potential for disruption of supplies due to labor, environmental, political, or economic developments, and the threat of government intervention for any number of reasons.
Strategic planning is a sine qua non of a successful corporate enterprise. By its very nature, it seeks to identify potential weaknesses in its internal make-up as well as identify potential opportunities as well as threats from the outside. With great risk comes great reward, but great risk can also result in catastrophic failure if internal weaknesses and external threats are not identified and, if possible, addressed.