Strategic Mapping vs Strategic Planning

What is the difference between strategic mapping and strategic planning?

You may be familiar with the term strategic planning, but did you know there’s a specific subset of this planning process called strategic mapping? Strategic mapping is a tool that can be used to help businesses achieve their desired outcomes by creating a visual representation of the steps needed to reach those goals.

While strategic planning is often thought of as a linear process, strategic mapping takes a more holistic approach, considering all of the factors that could impact the achievement of the organization’s goals. This includes looking at both internal and external factors, such as competition, economic conditions, and technological advancements. Additionally, strategic mapping can help business leaders identify potential risks and opportunities that they may not have considered. Although strategic mapping focuses on creating clarity, direction, and a plan for a fiscal quarter, this process also considers the longevity and sustainability of your business.

By taking all of these factors into account, organizations can create a more comprehensive plan that will increase their chances of success.

A strategic plan to reach your goals

While strategic planning and strategic mapping are similar in that both processes figure out the order in which your business goals should be met to achieve the highest level of success, strategic mapping focuses on goal setting for a fiscal quarter versus an entire year or more. This difference is important to understand because it means that strategic mapping requires a more hands-on approach. Business can and do change quickly, and when you review your goals more frequently and for a shorter term, you can make sure you are on track to meet them.

A key distinction between the two methods is that strategic mapping can be used by businesses of any size and at any stage in their development. Strategic planning, on the other hand, is typically used by larger businesses with more established structures and operations. Goal setting shouldn’t just be for upper management, but for every department that plays a role in keeping the business running. By involving team input in the goal-setting process, companies can ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives.

Seven Key Business Objectives

Before you can set your company on the path to growth or sustainability, it is important to first understand where it presently stands. Conducting an analysis of your business’s current state gives you the information you need to scale, save money, or become more streamlined. For example, if your company is not growing as quickly as you would like, understanding where it stands today will help you develop a plan to increase growth. Alternatively, if your company is already sustainable, but you would like to improve its back-end organization, again, conducting an analysis of the current state will give you a roadmap for doing so.

Strategic mapping focuses on identifying and understanding the relationships between seven different factors of a business. These areas include:

  • Finances and Legal
  • Operations
  • Customer Experience
  • Visibility
  • Product Creation and Innovation
  • Team Excellence
  • Personal and Professional Development

What is the Benefit of Strategic Mapping?

Strategic mapping can be an extremely beneficial tool for businesses of all sizes. One of the biggest benefits of strategic mapping is that it can help businesses make better decisions. By taking the time to map out all of the potential options and outcomes, businesses will have a clear picture of where they are and a better idea of the steps needed to get to where they are going. This can save a lot of time and money in the long run.

Another benefit of strategic mapping is that once the plan is shared, it can improve communication between different departments. When everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal, it is much easier to get things done. This can lead to increased efficiency and profitability.

How Do I Start Strategic Mapping?

When it comes to mapping out a strategy for your business, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are a few key steps you should take to get started.

First, it is important to develop a solid foundation (mission, vision, and values) and a clear vision for your business.

  • What do you want your business to achieve?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • What needs to be done in order to achieve your vision?

Once you have a vision in mind, you can start identifying your company’s key goals and objectives.

The next step is to develop a plan of action. This will involve breaking down your goals and objectives into smaller, more manageable, actionable steps revolving around the seven key business objectives.

  • What needs to be done first?
  • What are the deadlines for each task?
  • Who will be responsible for each task?

Once you have a plan of action, it’s important to track your progress over time.


Strategic mapping is an incredibly useful tool for businesses, large or small, that want to have a better grasp of the competitive landscape they’re a part of. It can help businesses identify opportunities and threats, and make more informed decisions about where to allocate resources. Here at The 25th Hour, our signature service is Transform Your Time, and we specialize in strategic mapping. We truly believe that businesses that operate in rapidly changing industries or markets can benefit immensely from strategic mapping, so if that’s something you’re interested in, connect with us today.


Transform Your Time: A Strategic Mapping Intensive

If you’re overwhelmed and unsure how to move forward, The 25th Hour’s signature strategic mapping intensive, Transform Your Time, is the answer. It's more than traditional strategic planning. It's a deep dive into seven core pillars of your business, derived from The Ops Authority's Strategic Mapping Model ™.