There are several different theories of rationale for strategic planning. Three important ones focus on slightly different areas of planning. The direction rationale asserts that strategic planning develops a direction for systems. Future shaping rationale says that a strategic plan helps a system to shape its own future, and the big-picture rationale states that strategic planning creates a context in which a system operates. These are all true and important rationales for strategic planning. With the combined skills of strategic planning and strategic thinking, all three of these rationales can be obtained through the process of strategy formation and execution in organizations.

Stakeholder buy-in to the IFRs that we identify is another important result of strategic planning. Stakeholders, those with some sort of investment in the systems, include potential key decision makers and influencers within the organization. Engaging stakeholders in the formulation of system-level IFRs helps to foster commitment to the strategy and the system. They also provide insights, knowledge of the system on a macro level, and ideas that may have been otherwise overlooked. The implementation of system strategy in the supersystem helps these factors to function outside of the system, resulting in better competitive positioning in the marketplace.