You’ve taken time to put together a business plan. You’ve set your strategy. Now what? How do you make the strategy a reality in your everyday business life?
What makes the difference between a highly successful company and one that is just an average performer? I believe that tactical planning is the key. In my consulting work, I emphasize to companies the importance of taking strategy to tactics. Tactical planning takes strategy to action. It is where the work gets done.
Tactical planning can also be called department planning. It is a plan developed annually by each department leader and his or her team. Three key components of a basic tactical plan include action plans, measurements, and an education and training plan for department employees. Each action plan is developed to achieve an organizational goal, and must have an owner and a prioritized completion date. Because accountability is so important, all action plans should be reviewed at least monthly. Ask the question: “Are we getting done what we said we would?”
Why do I stress the importance of developing and executing tactical plans? There are several reasons:
• Tactical or department planning drives the execution of the strategic plan through all levels of the organization.
• Tactical plans turn strategy into actions.
• Tactical plans increase the number of people working “on” the business versus “in” the business. If you are coming up with a new process, you are working “on” the business. If you are using that new process, you are working “in” the business. Most organizations spend about 90-percent to 95-percent of their time working “in” the business, and they could greatly improve the performance of their organization if they could find a better balance between the two.
• Tactical plans prioritize our activities and tie our daily work to our overall strategy.
• Tactical plans result in company-wide involvement, buy-in and accountability.
As each department completes its action plans working “on” the business, the success of the organization accelerates. As that happens, we also increase the competitive advantage/differentiation over our competition. We get more business and get paid more for it. In other words, as we keep getting better and better at what we do it drives increases in sales and profitability, despite the economic climate.
Implementing the tactical planning process into an organization takes a lot of work and discipline. Just get started as your organization will get better at it each year. We have seen that the most successful and profitable companies we work with have become experts at tactical planning. Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT! ®
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