Tip of the Week: Use Strategic Planning to Promote Success


In addition to changing the organization's mission and vision, strategic planning actually helps define the business.

Nearly every business organization, including nonprofits, has a strategic plan. A strategic plan helps to ensure that the organization is doing the right things now and in the future. Strategic planning is an overarching type of planning, with operational, business, resource, organizational, and contingency planning subsumed under it.

Strategic planning is often undertaken with the future in mind, usually at least several years in advance. It includes founding or changing the organization’s mission and vision, as well as its overall strategic goals. Furthermore, strategic planning actually helps define the business. For example, a pharmacy can decide whether it’s in the relatively narrow business of selling medications or in the broader business of health and wellness. This will help to define the competition and establish a framework for decision making. An overly narrow strategic plan can result in the business becoming obsolete or losing customers, sometimes rather quickly. The planning must be afforded the proper time and resources for the process itself; otherwise, it simply becomes a waste of time.

Feletto et al. undertook a comprehensive strategic planning approach to developing a framework for cognitive services implementation.1 They approached the planning process with a key value in mind—organizational flexibility—when approaching community pharmacists in a survey of their business practices. They found operational, structural, and strategic flexibility to be critical in building the necessary capacity to construct, implement, and sustain cognitive pharmaceutical services.1 Having capacity is seen as a necessary component to move toward patient-centered care, including financial, logistic, personnel, and even cultural (the right mindset) capacity to expand a business or strategically rethink its mission.

Pharmacy owners and managers, depending on the size of their organization as well as their rank and title, might be involved in some level of strategic planning. Evidence in the literature among health care and all other types of organizations overwhelmingly suggests greater success when formal strategic planning is implemented. All pharmacists, particularly those aspiring to ascend the corporate ladder or become an innovator to develop new services or business models, would do well to learn more about the process.

Additional information about Strategic Planning in Pharmacy Operations can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at Touro University in California.


Feletto E, Wilson LK, Roberts AS, et al. Measuring organizational flexibility in community pharmacy: Building the capacity to implement cognitive pharmaceutical services. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2011;7:27-38.

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