Thursday, June 18, 2009

Try This: Map Goals to Strategy, and Action Plans to Tactics

I love the terms strategic and tactical. A strategy is a high-level, big-picture thing, while a tactic belongs to the more specific things pertaining to the strategy.

Strategies and tactics can sound like goals and plans just a bit. Goals are pretty high level, and the trouble I’ve gotten into in the past was an over-commit on goals – I want to set a goal for everything! – and no real plans for getting there with any of them. As I said above, what I’ve needed to do is get the emotion out of it, and have some nice, sensible steps to follow to actually achieve these things. That’s the tactical part.

It’s like you’re a contractor. You go out and get some business from a customer; they want you to do a project. That’s fantastic. You sign a contract to do such-and-such project by such-and-such date. Now you need to get your sub-contractors together to get the work done.

What if you never get around to signing contracts with the sub-contractors? You get shafted, that’s what. You haven’t done your job as a contractor, and you haven’t fulfilled the contract you signed with the customer.

Here’s the other thing. If you’ve got committed strategies with uncommitted tactics (that means goals with no firm plans), then you’d best not be committing on any new strategies until it’s taken care of. Fail on this part, and you will quickly find yourself overcommitted and overwhelmed.

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