Strategic Planning Education and Training Key Terms

Understanding the terminology for strategic planning

Any company that wants to succeed to the best of its abilities and capabilities should develop and continually update a strategic plan. Effective strategic planning helps a company identify if it’s on track and is staying focused on the path it has determined will lead to success.

If you're getting ready to develop your company's strategic plan, make your first step understanding strategic planning terminology. This guide begins with a basic definition for strategic planning and then moves on to needs assessment, benchmarking, mission statement, goals and performance measure.

Strategic planning

Strategic planning is a continually evolving process within a company that involves decision making about its intended future outcomes, how they'll be achieved, how the company will identify the point at which it achieves intended outcomes and how it will evaluate those outcomes or performance.

Needs assessment

A needs assessment is a process identifying discrepancies between what should be and what are the current conditions..The resulting gap between the two represents what the company and its employees still need. A needs assessment is a valuable tool within the strategic planning process that helps focus a company and prevent waste of valuable company resources like people, time and money.
Ohio State University


Benchmarking is a process used to compare specific performance measures of one company's organizational performance against other company's performance. The purpose of using benchmarking is to improve performance through the implementation of best practices identified in the benchmarking process.

Mission statement

In strategic planning, a mission statement is a brief but concise statement describing a company's intentions, its philosophy and its basic purpose.


A significant portion of the strategic planning process calls for documented goals, measurable statements of specific organizational performance achievements that, if reached, would indicate success for the organization. Another common term for goals is targets.
goal setting by reading Energy Star's approach to goal setting. Click on the three links within the text for even more information.

Performance measure

Think of strategic planning as macro and performance measures as micro. Performance measures are the baby steps that get a company to its goals; they're yardsticks, or standards, a company uses for measuring progress toward its goals and objectives. Performance measures are also strategic performance measures, output measures, tactical performance measures and outcome measures.
University of North Texas website. 

Find Pre-Screened Vendors

Compare quotes and save: