The tactics and action plan describe the activities of the organization to implement the business strategy and achieve the strategic objectives. The action plan is the final piece of a strategic management system that translates mission and vision into goals and objectives which then drive business strategy which then unfolds into action plans.
While the business strategy presents a long-term description of where and how the organization intends to compete, the tactics and action plan are focused on specific outcomes, the short-term time frame, and discrete steps. They describe the activity that will take place to further enhance the organization’s core competencies, build a sustainable competitive advantage, and deliver superior value to customers.
Tactics are programs, initiatives, and projects to implement the strategy, to incrementally change the organization in the direction of the vision, goals, and objectives. As such, tactics are at a higher level and are then composed of a variety of specific actions.
The action plan describes the specific tasks that will be performed in order to carry out the tactics, implement the strategy, and achieve the goals and objectives. These action plans need specific definition of the task, the responsible person, the completion date, and any resources required. These action plans are then constantly monitored to assure that the organization is progressing in the implementation of its strategy.
In a previous article we gave an example goal that might be “Develop a more capable and stable workforce.” One of the supporting objectives might then be “Reduce annual non-retirement turnover to less than 8% of the total workforce by January of 2020.” With this objective, a tactic might be a program to change the culture of the organization. One of the actions might then be to develop and roll out a comprehensive employee communication plan. The action plan will identify the responsible person, the resources required, and the milestone dates.
All organizations are constrained by limited resources – limited number of people, limited available funds, limited time, etc. The other purpose of the action plan is to prioritize the allocation of these resources towards the highest leverage activities. To achieve the organization’s objectives, we need to assure that we are investing our resources on the activities that will build value and generate the highest return.
Does your organization have a clear, effective strategy supported by a good action plan? What do you see as the biggest challenge regarding your action plan?