Strategic Plan: Difference Between a Strategy and Goal

While working on Strategic Plans with my clients, I frequently felt the lack of clarity between strategy and goals, particularly among junior or mid-level staff. This small piece is written to explain the difference and the connection between the two. Strategies are typically more flexible and adaptable, while goals are generally more stable but not necessarily permanent. Here's a closer look at the distinction:


  • Stability: Goals are stable markers of what an organization aims to achieve. They are tied to the organization's mission and long-term vision and tend to remain consistent over time.
  • Adaptability: While goals are relatively stable, they are not set in stone. As external environments and organizational priorities evolve, it may be necessary to revise goals. However, such changes usually happen over longer periods and are less frequent compared to changes in strategies.


  • Flexibility: Strategies are the methods or plans chosen to achieve the set goals. They are more adaptable and subject to change as they are developed in response to the internal and external environment. If a strategy isn’t working or if conditions change, the strategy can be adjusted without altering the overarching goals.
  • Responsiveness: Strategies are more responsive to immediate challenges and opportunities. They can be modified to leverage new technologies, respond to emerging market trends, adapt to legal changes, or address unforeseen challenges.

Example for LASOONA:

Let's take the example of LASOONA with whom I am working on a Strategic Plan.
  • Goal: One of LASOONA’s goals might be to "Enhance community resilience to natural disasters."
  • Strategy: A strategy to achieve this goal could initially involve community training programs. However, if new technologies become available, LASOONA might adapt its strategy to include a technological component, such as a mobile app for disaster preparedness, without changing the overall goal.


  • Goals provide a long-term direction and are relatively stable, reflecting the core mission and values of the organization. They can change, but such changes are less frequent and usually driven by significant shifts in the organization's mission, vision, or external environment.
  • Strategies are the means to achieve these goals and are more flexible, allowing organizations to navigate the changing landscape, experiment with different approaches, and respond to new information and circumstances.