You have gone through the planning process, set goals and developed a strategic plan. But all of those things are not worth the paper they are written on if you do not have the ability to execute!
Tactics are where the rubber meets the road in implementing the strategic plan. It is the” how you get it done” activities that drive the organization toward the desired goals and objectives. They “tie back” to the key productivity indicators required to assure successful attainment of the company’s goals.
First break down the tactics in to smaller areas of responsibilities. Sales & Marketing, Operations, and Finance & Administration are areas to consider, but more granularity is typically required. The key to good tactical planning is the assignment and follow up of responsibilities to achieve certain elements that will allow the next steps to be taken. As a good friend and early mentor once told me, “Delegation without follow up is NOT management!”
Tactical plans build on one another. They are building blocks and cornerstones of accomplishing both the near term and long term goals of the company. If one area fails, it frequently snowballs into additional areas of failure.
Accordingly, tactics are the day to day activities that must take place in order to achieve certain objectives. Think for a minute in military terms. We have an objective, take an Air Base held by the enemy. The strategy is to win the road leading to the airbase, control the ingress and egress of the supply lines and then ultimately take the base. The tactics used may be, send a special ops force over the mountains with pack animals (mules) and use the element of surprise to take the road and air base. They need to be at this location and win this battle, then on to the next location and win that battle, and so on until they reach the objective! (For WW II buffs, this was very roughly how my father’s group, Merrill’s Marauders performed their role in Burma in WW II). The soldiers were the tactical plan elements required to carry out the strategy and achieve the objective! Get it?
So in business, or as Warren Buffet has recently stated, “We are in an economic war” the tactics could be as follows:
Sales & Marketing:
Goal: Land 4 new national Accounts
Strategy: Have the National Accounts Manager identify the best companies to contact and develop a plan to contact these prospective companies.
Tactical Element Whom By When
1) Hire a new National Accounts Manager Sales Mgr. 3/31/ 20XX
2) Identify 20 prospective accounts Nat’l Accts Mgr. 4/30/20XX
3) Prepare “Battle Plan” for each acct. Nat’l Accts Mgr. Ongoing
The key for the tactics is to assign a specific responsibility to an individual and a specific time when it is to be completed. This accountability provides where they turn for action in the event things get off course or schedule.
Goals + Strategies + Tactical Execution = Success
Good Luck on the Battle Field!