Strategic Planning Glossary


Glossary of Terms

Below is a list of terms commonly used in strategic planning. There are many sources that contain these definitions. OSM uses definitions provided by "The International Association for Strategy Professionals" ( and the textbook "Strategy in the 21st Century: A Practical Strategic Management Process".

Change Management - the application of a structured process and set of tools for leading the people side of change to achieve a desired outcome. (IASP)

Continuous Improvement - a mindset and a practice of constantly re-examining and improving products, services or processes. (IASP)

Core Values - fundamental beliefs, philosophies, principles or standards that define the organization's character. They dictate correct behavior and guide the decisions and actions of an organization's leaders and workforce. (IASP)

Key Drivers of Success - areas, internal or external to the organization, where positive results must be generated for the organization to achieve its primary goal(s) and ultimately long-term vision. (IASP)

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) - a significant and quantifiable measure to gauge and compare performance in terms of meeting strategic and operational objectives that are most critical to the success of the organization. (IASP)

Mission - an actionable statement that identifies the organization's purpose and reason for existence. (IASP)

Organizational Capability - a set of resources that work together to enable the organization to produce a particular result. (IASP)

Organizational Change Management - the method of leveraging organizational change to bring about successful resolution. (IASP)

Organizational Transformation - the process of transforming the organization to align its operating model to the new strategy. (IASP)

SMART - a mnemonic device for the characteristics of effective objectives.  They should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.  (IASP)

Strategic Alignment - the ensemble of activities required to ensure that all stakeholders come together in agreement and work jointly in a focused and committed fashion to make the strategy work and achieve the shared long-term vision of the organization. (IASP)

Strategic Direction - the vision, mission, values, policies and primary goal statements of a strategic plan. (Rollinson & Young)

Strategic Goals - the long-range, generally stated, directional aims to be achieved in accordance with the organization's vision and mission. (IASP)

Strategic Initiative - a key enterprise undertaking to support the strategy and move the organization forward toward attaining its strategic objectives. (IASP)

Strategic Management - managerial decisions and actions that determine the long-run performance of an organization.  (Rollinson & Young)

Strategic Measure - a quantifiable and qualitative value that is used to track progress towards achieving strategic goals and objectives. (IASP)

Strategic Objective - defines an outcome, or set of outcomes, the organization must achieve to meet its strategic goal(s) and to have its strategy succeed.  (IASP)

Strategic Plan - documents the strategy. (IASP)

Strategic Planning - process by which an organization defines and articulates its vision, mission, values, goals, strategies and strategic operating (the results of strategic thinking) for an identified period of time. (Rollinson & Young)

Strategic Thinking - analytic, creative and critical thought processes that produce the ideas and insights that drive the strategic management process from formulation, to planning and through implementation. Result of strategic thinking is the organization’s strategic plan. (Rollinson & Young)

Strategy - a plan of action to achieve a goal(s) that aligns capabilities, competencies, and resources to take advantage of opportunities and counter threats.  A complete statement of strategy must include what is to be accomplished and how to accomplish it. (Rollinson & Young)

Vision - an inspirational statement that articulates the desired future state of an organization in terms of its strategic direction. (IASP)


The International Association for Strategy Professionals. Accessed 28 Sept. 2022.

Rollinson, R., & Young, E. (2010). Strategy in the 21st century : A Practical Strategic Management Process. LookingGlass Publishing.