Planning for Success: A Guide to Tactical Planning in Business

Let’s take a look at what tactical business planning is, why it matters, and how to use it to improve your business outcomes.

When it comes to running a successful business, planning is key. But how do you make sure your plans are effective and achievable?

That’s where tactical business planning comes in. Tactical planning focuses on the “how” of getting things done. It’s the difference between having an idea and making it happen.

Let’s take a look at what tactical business planning is, why it matters, and how to use it to improve your business outcomes.

What’s the Difference Between Strategy and Tactics?

Have you ever heard someone talk about strategy or tactics in business, and wondered what the difference was?

It is actually simpler than it might sound:

In a nutshell, strategy refers to your big-picture plan, while tactics are more focused on your day-to-day implementation of that plan.

Let’s take a look at each of these concepts and how they work together.

Strategy: The Big Picture

A strategy is an overarching plan that guides your decisions and helps you achieve your goals.

It is created by looking at your current situation, evaluating the potential outcomes, and determining how best to achieve your desired results.

Strategy should be based on data and research, as well as an understanding of past successes and failures. A good strategy will set out specific objectives, identify key stakeholders, outline potential risks, and provide an actionable timeline for success.

Tactics: The Nitty Gritty Implementation

Tactics are the ways you go about executing your strategy. They are specific actions taken to achieve desired results.

Tactics can include anything from developing marketing materials to launching a new product or service. A tactic could be a specific way your team sells your product, or a certain method you've created to support your customers, or even a growth hack you use to grow your business.

Tactics should always be tailored to meet the needs of your business as well as those of your customers or clients. When creating or implementing tactics it's important to consider the impact on both your short-term goals (such as increasing sales) and your long-term goals (such as building brand awareness).

Tactical plans should also include measurable metrics so that progress can be tracked over time.

Strategic vs. Tactical Planning?

When it comes to planning, there are two main approaches — strategic planning and tactical planning .

Both involve setting goals, assessing progress, and making decisions that will help you reach those goals.

But what exactly is the difference between these two types of plans, and how can understanding their differences help you make better decisions for your business?

Let's take a closer look.

What Is Strategic Planning?

At its core, strategic planning involves looking at the big picture.

This type of planning focuses on long-term objectives and goals, taking into account any external factors that could impact your progress.

A key part of strategic planning is considering which strategies could be implemented in order to achieve your "big picture" goals, and which factors might influence the success or failure of those strategies.

For example, when creating a strategic plan for your business you might consider factors like market trends, potential growth opportunities, and the competitive landscape, in order to determine which actions should be taken in order to reach your desired outcome.

What Is Tactical Planning?

Tactical planning is focused more on short-term objectives than long-term ones.

A tactical plan looks at specific tasks that can be completed in order to achieve a goal or objective within a certain time frame, and it focuses on utilizing resources efficiently in order to complete those tasks successfully.

For example, if you wanted to launch a marketing campaign for your business within the next month, your tactical plan might involve creating an actionable timeline with steps such as researching target markets, creating content assets for the campaign, and budgeting for your project, in order to ensure everything is completed before the desired deadline.

What is Tactical Planning in Business?

Tactical planning in business involves developing an actionable plan using available resources, while at the same time attempting to minimize the risk levels associated with the different options.

Let's break that down.

A tactical plan starts by identifying measurable goals or objectives related to specific outcomes (such as increasing revenue or improving productivity).

Then, one develops the steps required to reach those objectives within a predefined time frame. A tactical objective is usually something achievable within a short period of time, say 1–6 months.

When building a tactical plan for your business it's important to take into consideration any potential obstacles or roadblocks that might get in the way. By predicting challenges and coming up with solutions for overcoming them, continual progress can be made towards completion of the goals set out in your tactical plan.

It's also important to establish performance measures so that progress can be tracked over time in order to determine if key objectives are being met.

Why Does Tactical Planning in Business Matter?

Tactical planning is an essential tool for businesses and organizations wanting to succeed (which most certainly is all of them).

Without a comprehensive plan of action, well-defined goals, clear strategies and a focus on implementation, it becomes difficult to accomplish anything worthwhile, and many organizations fall into the habit of foregoing tactical planning.

Tactical planning forces managers to regularly assess their operations — making sure they don't become complacent while also encouraging them to be creative in finding new opportunities. It also helps with decision making and aligning to future objectives.

All this promotes growth and progress, helping organizations reach their full potential as efficiently as possible. It's easy to see why tactical planning matters!

How to Build a Tactical Plan

As they say, " failing to plan is planning to fail. "

And it's true — you can't hope to reach your goals without having a plan in place.

Whether it's for personal or professional reasons, there are some core steps you should always keep in mind when creating a tactical plan.

Step 1: Identify Your Goals and Objectives

The first step when creating a tactical plan is to identify your goals and objectives.

This includes both short and long term goals, as well as measurable milestones that indicate progress along the way.

It's important to be realistic when setting your goals — if they are too ambitious, you may end up burning yourself out before you even get started! Instead, break down the larger goal into smaller, achievable tasks that can be completed over time.

Step 2: Assess Your Resources and Capabilities

Once you have identified your goals, take an honest look at your resources and capabilities. Do you have enough time? Money? Knowledge? Skills ?

If not, consider how you can act on those resources and capabilities in order to make progress towards your goal. Also consider any external factors that could affect the outcome of your plan, like for example, if there is new legislation coming into effect that could impact the success of your project.

Step 3: Create an Action Plan

Now it's time to start putting together an action plan.

This includes outlining what tasks need to be done in order to achieve each goal or milestone within the timeline set out in the previous steps.

Make sure each task in your tactical action plan is detailed with specific deadlines and assigned roles so everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. It's also important to include contingency plans in case something goes wrong along the way; this will ensure that any disruptions are minimized as much as possible.

Step 4: Monitor Progress and Adjust As Necessary

As with any project, monitoring progress is key if you want it to succeed.

Be sure to regularly check in with team members and adjust plans as needed. This will help ensure that everything stays on track and no one gets left behind or overwhelmed due to lack of direction or guidance from leadership .  

Step 5: Celebrate Successes!

Once all of your hard work has paid off and all of the planned tasks have been completed successfully, don’t forget to take some time to celebrate your successes!

Whether it’s sending an email thanking everyone involved, or inviting your team to a celebratory dinner, taking some time out from all the hard work is essential for staying motivated.

Executing a successful tactical plan isn't easy. It takes coordination, communication, and commitment from all parties involved in order for it to work properly.

But if done correctly, tactical planning can yield amazing results for your business.

By following the steps of defining your strategic goals, identifying tactics, and then executing the plan, you'll have everything you need to succeed.

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How To Create A Tactical Plan To Execute Your Business Strategy

A tactical plan is crucial if you want to put your business strategy into play. A strategy is an overarching vision for your company, but means absolutely nothing when no action is put behind it. That’s where a tactical plan comes in.

Tactics are the measurable action items you've set to meet the objectives you’ve created in your strategic plan.  This is where you get to work. This is where you make things happen. This is where you know if you’ve veered off track.

A tactical plan takes a fair amount of time to create, but once done, everyone has their marching orders. It’s the very best way to make sure everyone is on the same page and that all activity is centered around the strategic vision. Busy work is almost always eradicated when a tactical plan is created and implemented.

Here are the components of your tactical plan.

Once you’ve created your strategic plan, you will have created a set of objectives that will help you reach your strategic vision. These objectives are measurable and achievable. Things like “Reach 100,000 website visitors a month.” or “Boost employee productivity by 30%.” These objectives can be measured and improved upon. All objectives now need action items, or tactics, assigned to them.

Action Items

When a tactic helps you get closer to achieving more than one objective, you are being ultra efficient.

Key performance indicators are the steps along the way that inform you if you’re on the right track. A KPI for reaching more website visitors could be “consistently getting 25,000 visitors in Q1, 50,000 in Q2, 75,000 in Q3 and 100,000 in Q4” KPIs chunk down your efforts so you can keep on top of progress you are making.

Responsible Party and Due Date

When an objective is set and tactics are created, you must find out if your team members have the proper resources to carry them out. If there is software or training needed, this is when you call attention to it. Your team needs to be well equipped to carry out their job. Get the proper resources to your team as soon as possible so there are no delays in your plan.

Your team should never be working on tactics without knowing the strategic vision of your company. They need to be able to see the big picture and how their role fits into what you are trying to achieve. They may have brilliant ideas that can be implemented or ways to save time and money. If you can involve your team in making tactics, all the better. They know their job better than anyone and can help to create the best action items and KPIs to reach objectives.

One of the biggest advantages to having a tactical plan is that no one is left behind wondering what needs to be done. Sometimes things get so busy that silos form. When you sit down with a team member to check in with them on their tactical plan and KPIs, you’ll see how far they’ve come or if they are hitting road blocks and need help.

With a tactical plan, you can physically see momentum happening and your strategic plan come to life.

Stephanie Burns

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Strategic vs. Tactical Planning: The What, When, & Why

Meredith Hart

Published: March 01, 2022

Whether you've set personal or business goals, you likely created a plan to achieve them. Without clearly defined steps, it can be difficult or even discouraging to tackle the goal you've set.

Strategic vs. Tactical Planning

One example of a situation where planning and strategy come in handy is during a job search . Let's say you've spent weeks or months scouring the internet for a new sales job, but none of the job postings seem to match your skill set or career interests.

Have you taken a step back and thought about a specific type of sales job you want? And did you consider the most important qualities you're looking for in an employer or career?

Your online job search will become less tedious and disheartening if you have a clear set of objectives to follow. While you might get more search results for "sales manager", you'll find jobs that are a better fit for you if you clarify by searching for "senior sales manager - medical devices."

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With your new search strategy, you've identified a seniority level and the industry you'd like to work in. The next steps you set for yourself are to periodically repeat this search and only apply to the roles that seem like the best fit for you and your career aspirations.

Thinking strategically helps you narrow down your search and use your time more effectively. Plus, you'll increase the likelihood of landing a job that's a great fit for you.

Once you aced your interviews and landed the perfect sales job, you'll find that these types of planning, strategic and tactical, are used by many businesses and sales teams to set themselves up for success.

Strategic vs. Tactical Planning

Strategic planning lays out the long-term, broad goals that a business or individual wants to achieve. And tactical planning outlines the short-term steps and actions that should be taken to achieve the goals described in the strategic plan.

Your strategic plan provides the general idea of how to reach a goal, and the tactical plan is where you lay out the steps to achieve that goal.

Since the objectives set in the strategic plan are more general and are evaluated over a longer period of time, strategic planning typically occurs at the beginning of a year, quarter, or month. These plans should be reviewed every quarter.

Tactical planning occurs after the strategic plan is outlined, and the tactical plan can be reexamined on a more frequent basis — if need be.

Details how the purpose, duration, and output differs between Strategic and Tactical Planning in black and light grey

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Here are some high-level examples that touch on the difference between the two types of planning.

Strategy vs. Tactics

Let's consider the perspective of a hypothetical company analyzing different strategies to improve different aspects of its sales operations.

1. Sales Recruitment

2. Smarketing

3. Technological Infrastructure

Taken together, the strategies and tactics a sales organization employs — like the ones listed above — comprise what are known as sales plans.

Sales Plans

A sales plan encompasses both strategic and tactical planning and contributes to an organization's overarching sales strategy . It outlines the broad goals your sales team and reps should strive for, and it creates an action plan to reach them.

The strategic plan sheds light on the mission, objectives, and future goals of the organization or individual. Managers, VPs, and executives typically create strategic plans for an organization, but this type of plan can also be used by individuals to achieve personal or professional goals.

These are the key components to include in a strategic plan:

Strategic planning and tactical planning provide guidelines for businesses, teams, and individuals to follow. And the tactical plan outlines exactly how they'll achieve the final result.

Strategic Goals vs. Tactical Goals

A major part of planning, whether it’s strategic or tactical, is setting goals. You should actually set goals for both your strategic planning and your tactical planning. Having those objectives clearly laid out helps push your plans into direct action. Your strategic goals should be broader while your tactical ones should be more specific.

For example, a strategic goal may be to develop a company culture that encourages growth and retention. A tactical goal may be to survey all existing employees to gain information on why they weren’t retained. If your tactical planning and your strategic planning are related, then the goals for each should also have a connection between them.

Strategic Planning

A strategy is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.” So, strategic planning is meant to achieve something for the bigger picture.

Tactical planning includes the immediate actions that feed into the larger purpose outlined by a strategy. These plans are carried out in the long term and incorporate big, impactful changes. There are nine strategic planning models your business can use as a starting point.

South Dakota Mines strategic plan with vision and mission statements in blue and white.

Strategic Planning Examples

IT company's strategic business initiatives in blue, orange, and white

Since tactical planning is more direct, it’s often more specific to your team or business. Strategic plans, however, are often broad enough to be applied to a whole niche or industry. For instance, strategic planning for sales could involve some similar goals across different companies, but their tactical plans may be unique. Here are a few examples of strategic plans that could apply to different businesses.

Tactical Planning

Tactical planning occurs after a business, team, or individual has created a strategic plan that outlines general goals and objectives. A tactical plan describes the steps and actions that must be taken to achieve the goals from the strategic plan.

Once you've created your strategic plan, it's time to determine the tactics you'll use to reach your goals. This is where the tactical plan comes into play.

It's used to outline the steps a business or individual will need to take to accomplish the priorities that have been set. Here are a few things to consider when developing your tactical plan:

Your tactical plan will provide the answers to these questions to help you meet the objectives of the strategic plan.

So, what do strategic and tactical planning look like in practice?

Tactical Planning Examples

While strategic and tactical plans can vary by company or industry, there are some that can apply to many sales organizations and teams.

Here are a few examples that are common for sales teams and reps. The strategic plans are numbered, and the tactical plans are outlined below.

1. Fill my pipeline with more leads over the next two weeks.

2. Close more enterprise deals each month.

3. Hire 20 more entry-level sales representatives by the end of Q1.

Your Business Needs Both Strategic and Tactical Planning

There is a purpose to both strategic and tactical planning. Each moves your business’ progress closer to larger goals and objectives. With a solid strategic plan and a detailed tactical plan, you'll be well-equipped to grow your business.

Editor's note: This post was originally published on February 28, 2019, and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Strategic vs. Tactical Planning: The What, When, & Why

Plan your business's growth strategy with this free template.


What Is Tactical Planning? Definition, Key Steps, and Examples

Executing a strategic plan takes careful consideration, planning, and prioritization. When outlining how to achieve overarching strategic objectives, tactical planning is a process that organizations use to help increase efficiency and reach their goals successfully. In this article, we will outline what tactical planning is, why it’s important, and its necessary elements.

Table of Contents

Tactical Planning Definition

Tactical planning is the process of taking an overarching strategic plan and creating actionable short and medium-term timelines to achieve your goals. Tactical planning usually helps define goals at multiple levels and can help break down long-term strategic objectives into benchmarks that can be reached in smaller and more focused projects. Alignment is important for creating effective goals, and tactical planning is a key step to achieving alignment throughout a strategic vision.

As previously mentioned, tactical planning is usually utilized when an organization needs to formulate a plan of action to meet larger strategic objectives. This could be an immediate call to action or one that spans a couple of months; it just depends on the desired objectives. Because of this, tactical planning is a flexible strategy that organizations utilize when they need to break down a larger vision into tangible steps.

Tactical planning usually involves a couple of key steps, including creating goals, dividing responsibility, funneling resources, creating a timeline, and assigning specific tasks. Creating goals is a key part of the tactical planning process, and teams traditionally seek to create SMART goals to help fuel their success. Setting SMART goals allows organizations to increase efficiency and productivity for teams by creating clear, attainable goals for any size project. SMART goals stand for:

Tactical planning is not strictly used as an actionable prompt for strategic planning and can be applied in multiple other scenarios as well. Here are some of the ways that tactical planning can be utilized within an organization:

Tactical planning vs. strategic planning infographic

Tactical Planning Process: 6 Key Steps

Tactical planning is a process that can be edited depending on the strategic plans being pursued by an organization, but it generally follows a similar set of steps when implemented correctly. Here are the main elements of tactical planning that your team can’t miss.

One of the most important parts of tactical planning is mapping goals accurately between strategic long-term goals and short-term objectives. For most organizations, this will entail creating a system of SMART goals to target objectives and provide a system of actionable tasks to achieve short-term goals and move toward long-term objectives. Because tactical planning is focused on linking strategic goals with achievable immediate actions, most of these goals will be structured to optimize immediate performance and create systems of action for current projects.

The goal-creation process should begin with the overarching strategic goals and should trickle down to creating projects that address these goals while also meeting customer needs. Goals need to be measurable to ensure they can be tracked throughout the process. Tracking goals is key to optimizing them and understanding if they’re meeting objectives. As defined by SMART goals, goals need a couple of items to be accurate and actionable. They need to be relevant to the overall objectives of the team, achievable to keep progress moving, and timely to create predictable and accurate project cycles. All of these elements help create informed and successful goals for your team to follow.

Tactics are the specific strategies and micro-strategies that your team uses to reach your goals. This involves the research, development, implementation, and quality assurance of any solution created as part of a larger goal. Implementing tactics for your team is a process of creating a small-scale strategy to achieve your goals through task implementation. Tactics will explain the strategy and targeting of specific tasks to come and will allow teams to reach their goals in the most efficient way possible.

One thing that’s important to emphasize when creating tactics for your goals is the KPIs that your team is monitoring. Tracking the right KPIs (key performance indicators) is critical to ensuring goals are accurately positioned to reach high-level strategic objectives, and these KPIs need to translate into the tactics of each team as well. Make sure that the KPIs of your strategic goals are reflected in your tactical strategy.

Once you have a solid tactical strategy set up to achieve your goals, you can focus on the actual tasks needed to achieve your goals. Tasks fall under a system of goals and describe the daily actions completed in order to accomplish larger sets of objectives. They are usually structured around the timelines of the goals to help teams finish projects on time and in a regular sequence.

For the daily operation of a team, tasks will be the most important regular touchpoint to make progress and move forward. They are crucial to create regular structure for teams. They’re emphasized here because they’re a critical touchpoint to link larger strategic goals to individual actions, and this connection is critical to ensure everything works in an aligned system.

When creating a tactical plan, resource allocation is important to perform the individual tasks in the plan, develop changes correctly, and make efficient progress. Resources don’t just refer to money; they can include materials, time, finances, team bandwidth, product details, equipment, and more. Each project will require a specific allocation of resources, and it’s up to the project management team to determine how to allocate resources between projects to ensure maximum efficiency.

Tactical planning requires a clear timeline to ensure everyone has clear and aligned expectations. Following deadlines, creating project boundaries, and forming a timeline for all tasks to finish within will provide teams with a solid cadence and clear priorities going forward. This helps eliminate miscommunication and can improve efficiency and work product for everyone. Timelines also give leadership a place to clarify priorities and communicate needs to an entire team. This makes them an essential element of tactical planning and a crucial place to create team alignment.

An important thing to remember with tactical planning is that not everything needs to boil down to the immediate tasks. Successful teams will always create forward-looking plans, and this requires a certain amount of flexibility to function correctly. When creating flexible plans, teams can have more reassurance and be prepared for something going wrong. If you don’t plan for potential roadblocks, you might panic when they inevitably arise. Make sure that your team is flexible and open to change along the way to ensure you’re ready to tackle any surprise challenge.

Examples of Tactical Planning

When creating tactical planning scenarios, there are a number of templates you can use. A very popular example within teams is the SWOT template . This is a popular brainstorming template that can also be used to effectively organize a tactical planning example. Using a SWOT template can help expose places an organization needs to focus and can be the inspiration behind a new tactical planning strategy. In order to better explain how tactical planning can be implemented, we outlined a couple of simple tactical planning examples to illustrate what a basic overview might look like.

Increase Enterprise Sales: An organization decides that it wants to shift focus to enterprise sales instead of B2C sales. This requires a different strategy to implement effectively. The tactical planning steps might look like this:

Strengthen Brand Positioning: Your business has a solid product offering, but you want to strengthen your brand positioning to increase visibility and credibility. This requires strategic repositioning within the ecosystem to evoke the right feelings in your users. Here’s what your tactical planning might look like:

Hire a New Development Team: As an effort to increase feature depth and product stickiness, you’re focusing on hiring a new development team to supplement product growth. Here’s what a tactical plan for the hiring process might entail:

Tactical Planning Advantages

Tactical planning can make a difference for teams that are trying to implement their goals on a smaller scale. If your team is thinking about implementing a plan of action, but you aren’t sure if it will be beneficial, we’ve listed some of the biggest tactical planning advantages below.

Strategic Planning vs. Tactical Planning

Tactical planning and strategic planning are very often confused with one another, but they operate in completely different scopes. Below we’ve provided a simple and clear explanation of how the two are unique.

Strategic planning highlights an organization’s top-level goals and what they want to achieve in the big picture. This will encompass both their goals and their overall vision to create a picture of what they want to achieve in the future. When developing strategic plans, top-level management collaborates on reports and goals to facilitate alignment and accuracy in their vision. Strategic planning is traditionally done above tactical planning and will influence how tactical planning unfolds.

Tactical planning is a more immediate strategy that impacts how teams achieve their strategic plan. It highlights small-level strategies and individual actions that teams take to actualize their strategic goals. Overall, tactical planning emphasizes short-term actions to follow through on overall strategic plans.

Through this analysis, we can see that tactical and strategic planning are related but operate through entirely different scopes. Hopefully, this helps clear up the difference and allows your team to effectively facilitate both.

Setting SMART goals and formulating a plan of action is key to effective tactical planning and can be the difference for teams in achieving their goals. If this guide helped you, try taking a look at Fresco to see how collaboration can help formulate and execute tactical planning.


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Tactical Planning: Meaning And Examples

Tactical planning is an important management concept. Decision-making can become more cohesive and effective by learning more about tactical planning,…

Tactical Planning

Tactical planning is an important management concept. Decision-making can become more cohesive and effective by learning more about tactical planning, reading case studies and adopting best practices. In this article, we will explore the basics of tactical planning and the impact it has on the performance of individuals as well as organizations.

What Is Tactical Planning?

Benefits and importance of tactical planning, how to make tactical planning successful, confluence of strategy, tactical and operations planning, what is tactical planning .

How do organizations fulfill their long-term goals? They break up the master plan into shorter ones.

Tactical planning is the strategy by which specific short-term tasks are defined and executed. All types of entities adopt it, be they businesses, non-profits or government organizations.

Tactical planning is one of three planning functions usually performed in an organization. These are strategic, tactical and operational. In this blog, we will explore the meaning of tactical planning and see some examples of tactical planning . However, because all these strategies work toward a common goal, we must briefly understand all three kinds of planning.

Many people are involved in running a business. Senior management, middle management and workers want their responsibilities defined to do their job well. Whether setting sales targets for the year or awarding performance incentives for executives, decision-making is required at all levels and functions. Broadly, there are three areas in which decisions are made: strategic, tactical and operational.

To better understand the scope of tactical planning, we need to understand all planning functions. 

Strategic Planning

Founders, CEOs, CXOs, investors and strategy consultants make the organization’s most crucial decisions. These concern investing, mergers and acquisitions, values, annual targets, product launches, hiring budgets and so on.

An example of strategic planning is WhatsApp Payments, which was launched as a competitor to various other payment apps. While the workforce could be divided over whether to start such a service or not, the ultimate decision rests only with the founder and the core team. This kind of decision, which is to be taken only by the higher-ups, is a strategic planning decision. 

Operations Planning

Accounts, taxation, office timings, attendance, office administration are critical for an organization’s success. These are operational decisions in which investors and strategy consultants don’t usually get involved. These are day-to-day activities without too much scope for decision-making that would impact the organization’s vision.

An operational planning decision is how desks will be allotted to those who join a Facebook India office. The founder of the organization may not visit this office, and even the regional head would probably not have time to arrange chairs. So, this work is allocated to those who lead operations. 

Tactical Planning

What is tactical planning ? COOs, vice-presidents and senior managers decide monthly sales targets, hire sales executives or programmers and address business development leads. Founders and CEOs impact this process by finalizing key annual targets and resource allocations and assigning responsibilities for each tactical task.

An example of tactical planning is deciding how many Indian users should be encouraged to adopt WhatsApp Payments for the country office to meet the annual target set for them. Tactical planning will implement the vision that has been created by strategic planning. Tactical planning will split the annual goals into monthly and daily goals. Tactical planning will create a reporting system to monitor these targets on a daily basis and address any deviation from them. They will decide how to incentivize users to begin using it within limits set by strategic planners.

There are many reasons why tactical planning is important:

As we’ve established, there are many reasons that show why tactical planning is important. Now, let’s move on to effectively execute tactical planning.

Tactical planning in management is deeply important for the successful execution of the organization’s goals. Now that we’ve understood the meaning of tactical planning , let’s see how we can make it successful:

Keeping these points in mind will help you implement tactical planning in the best way possible.

After viewing these examples of tactical planning , are you wondering how different forms of planning come together? These three forms do merge and overlap. Each of them is vitally important in the success of an organization. So is the coordination among them.

A product development activity going on as per tactical planning could be of strategic interest.

In times of a pandemic, operations might call for a strategic response. How education will transition from the offline to online mode is a strategic decision. How students interact with faculty and one another—usually a tactical decision—became a strategic one.

Going back to the WhatsApp Payments example, the number of users to be acquired in a year will be a strategic decision in a start-up. How social media is used to reach that target will involve tactical planning. Operations planning will handle the everyday social media posts.

Good talent exists at all levels of an organization. It’s a common occurrence that while the strategy team may underperform, the tactical management keeps the organization ahead in the market. For example, an organization may flounder on innovation and new product launches, but the sales force may do an exceptional job of selling existing products and, thereby, make up for the lack of innovative thinking at the top. Thus, leaders at all levels within an organization can make a difference.

As an organization grows, it can rely on some successful tactical planning processes to achieve better results. Several business leaders want to delegate their decision-making. However, they are unable to do so because of a lack of knowledge. Understanding delegation better can substantially help a business leader scale-up their ambitions. There is much to gain for students, working professionals, founders and business leaders by understanding planning processes thoroughly. Harappa’s Creating Solutions course will help you make the best decisions for your business, and also teach you how to delegate and build stronger teams.

Example of Tactical Planning in Business

Strategies in a Company

How do you announce a new product to the world, guide to pre production meetings for tv commercials.

Tactical planning takes a company's strategic plan and sets forth specific short-term actions and plans, usually by company department or function. The tactical planning horizon is shorter than the strategic plan horizon. If the strategic plan is for five years, tactical plans might be for a period of one to three years, or even less, depending on what kind of market the business serves and the pace of change.

Characteristics of Tactical Plans

"Tactical Planning Vs. Strategic Planning," an article on the Management Innovations website, outlines several key differences between strategic and tactical planning. First, executives usually are responsible for strategic plans, as they have the best bird's-eye view of the corporation. Lower-level managers have a better understanding of the day-to-day operations, and they are usually the ones responsible for tactical planning.

Second, strategic planning is concerned with the future, and tactical planning with today. Third, since we know far more about today than we do about the future, tactical plans are more detailed than strategic plans.

Build Flexible Planning

Flexibility needs to be built into tactical plans to allow for unanticipated events. For example, if your company manufactures a product, you will need to build flexibility into your plan for machinery breakdowns and maintenance. You cannot assume you will be able to run your machinery at full tilt all the time.

Tactical Marketing Plan Example

Assume for a moment your company sells insurance products in a large metropolitan area. The tactical marketing plan for your insurance company must outline, step by step, each marketing component needed to meet the goals and vision of your company's strategic plan.

For example, if you decide one of the best ways to reach your target consumer is TV advertising, then the tactical plan needs to carefully spell out the specifics of the TV campaign. Steps in developing this plan include, but are not restricted to, deciding on an appropriate message; arranging for the production of the commercial; deciding what channels to air the commercial on and when; and following up with potential customers who respond to the campaign.

Communication Between Functional Areas

Handling customer inquiries resulting from your TV advertising may be the responsibility of your company's sales department. The tactical plan for the sales department needs to be developed in concert with the marketing department. The sales plan should address how the volume of calls will be handled, how many people this will require and how sales leads will be followed. The marketing department will need to provide the sales department with information about the TV campaign so sales can complete its own tactical plan.

Preparing to Change

The point of tactical planning is to reach the goals and objectives of the strategic plan. But markets and the business environment can change quickly. When this happens, it is time to reassess how tactics are performing against stated goals and to change tactics if necessary. Flexibility in the face of change is a necessary component of the ongoing tactical planning process.

Lisa Nielsen is a marketing consultant for small businesses and start-ups. As part of her consultancy, she writes advertising copy, newsletters, speeches, website content and marketing collateral for small and medium-sized businesses. She has been writing for more than 20 years. She is also a business strategist, trainer and executive coach. Nielsen holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami.

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Strategy vs. tactics: What's the difference?

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The terms “strategy” and “tactics” originated as military terminology, but are now widely used today in a professional setting. Learn how you can use both strategy and tactics to build your business strategy.

Chess grandmasters don't blindly go into the game moving pieces around randomly. They have well thought out and precise moves to gain the upper hand against their opponent.

What's the difference between strategy and tactics?

The terms "strategy" and "tactics" originated as military terminology derived from Sun Tzu's The Art of War . Since then, they've been adapted to fit different situations beyond just military usage, including business strategy. 

Definition of strategy

A strategy is an action plan that you will take in the future to achieve a final end goal. Strategies help to define your long-term goals and how you go about achieving them.

Definition of tactics

While strategy is the action plan that takes you where you want to go, the tactics are the individual steps and actions that will get you there. In a business context, this means the specific actions teams take to implement the initiatives outlined in the strategy. 

If we go back to the chess analogy, strategy is positioning your pieces in a specific arrangement to get to where you want to be. Tactics are that act of moving said pieces into those positions. 

The relationship between strategies and tactics

In The Art of War , Sun Tzu wrote, "All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." Sun Tzu illustrates that while tactics are more concrete and easier to see, an overarching strategy is equally important. The question should not be strategy vs. tactics, but strategy and tactics. Think of these two techniques as two different sides of the same coin—both are necessary to achieve your goals. 

If someone is trying to reach their goals solely with strategy, they won't get anywhere since tactics are the concrete action items that take you where you need to go. When a team only uses strategy, the only thing that they'll be doing is planning to achieve goals instead of doing the work that needs to be done to achieve them. 

On the other hand, you can't achieve your business goals on tactics alone. Tactics without strategy quickly turns into aimless work. When this is the case, people are just taking arbitrary actions with no strategic objective in place. In the short term, this can feel like busywork for team members. In the long term, it can lead to frustration, burnout , and job dissatisfaction. 

What makes a good strategy?

Data-informed decisions.

A good strategy is well thought out, planned, and extremely well researched. If you're looking to build a strong, long-term strategy, it's important to gather information and data from past experiences to influence your future data-driven decision making process. 

For example, some industries experience seasonality with their business. Knowing how to use that seasonality to your advantage is an example of good strategic thinking and using historical data to your benefit. 

Clearly defined goals

The best strategies are built around clearly defined goals. It's much easier to build a good strategy when you know exactly what you need to achieve. Having clearly defined goals is a key part of the overall planning process for long-term strategy. Some people plan both their strategy and their business goals at the same time, which can streamline the process. But if there's no end goal, trying to create your strategy is like trying to run a race without knowing the route.

Contingency plans

The success of your strategy is contingent on an expected outcome, but what happens when your strategy gets derailed? This is where a contingency plan comes in. If you build a contingency plan into your strategy, then you can plan for speed bumps. Your team will know what to do to get over the speed bump to prevent the project from getting completely derailed. 

What makes good tactics?

Tactics are short term.

If the strategy is the long-term plan, tactics are the short-term steps that help you hit smaller goals. Tactical planning is the act of breaking down your strategic plan into short-term actions.

Tactics are clearly tied to strategy

If you’re struggling to understand how a specific tactic contributes to your strategy, it might not be the best tactic for your strategy. The work you do should actively contribute to the goals that you want to achieve.

The goal-setting framework OKRs is a good example of how short-term tactics connect to a long-term vision. There is one main objective, and there are key results that you set to achieve that main objective. The tactics that people work on regularly contribute to the growth of the key result.

Tactics are actionable and time-bound

Tactics are best executed in a limited time frame. Similar to most goal-setting strategies, creating time-bound deadlines ensures that tactics are actually completed within a set time frame. If you’re not sure how to create actionable and time-bound tactics, try using the SMART goal methodology.

Examples of business strategy and tactics

Here are a few examples of how business strategists can use both good strategy and smart tactics to achieve their business goals.

People team

Strategy: Interview 20% more candidates from historically underrepresented communities in tech.


Sponsor historically underrepresented community groups that focus on STEM.

Create opportunities for students with alternative education paths, such as bootcamps and trade schools.

Regularly share job listings on platforms that target under represented communities.

Digital marketing team

Strategy: Increase trial sign ups by 30%

Increase visibility on web pages by adding a free trial pop-up at 50% scroll.

Offer a free e-book with every trial sign up offer.

Promote trial sign ups through social media marketing.

Web development team

Strategy : Decrease page speed by 1 second.

Identify excess code that is affecting page speed and find streamlined alternatives.

Compress on-page images to less than 1 MB.

Reduce the number of page redirects.

Manage strategy and tactics using work management tools

Good strategy starts with organized planning. If you're looking for a way to keep your business goals organized, consider using a work management tool . Work management software can help connect your day-to-day tactics to long-term strategy. 

Related resources

what is tactical planning in business

How to create an action plan that drives results

what is tactical planning in business

Annual planning template

what is tactical planning in business

How to set and track stretch goals to inspire your team

what is tactical planning in business

How to build a strategic plan for your nonprofit

When to create a tactical plan

Growing your business with tactical plans


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Tactical Planning

When faced with a challenge, business owners can approach the situation in various ways. Making a quick decision is sometimes necessary. However, if you have the time, creating a tactical plan and carefully thinking through your next steps is often a better approach.

Tactical Planning

A tactical plan is a written outline of the specific actions you’re going to take to address a problem or achieve a goal. It could list the tasks that you’ll do yourself, and the tasks you’ll assign to employees. Ideally, you can set a goal, identify strategies for how you could achieve the goal and then create a tactical plan to implement those strategies.

Generally, business owners will create and use a tactical plan to address a short-term goal that they want to reach within a year or less. However, completing the tactical plan should also help the business achieve its medium- or long-term goals.

For example, you may have a long-term goal of opening a second business location within the next five years.

There are multiple steps involved with reaching your five-year goal, such as increasing your profits, building your savings and finding the best location for the second store. You can create SMART goals and tactical plans for each of these steps.

Start with the first step, increasing business profits, which is too broad to be a SMART goal. Instead, you could set a goal of doubling your business’s profit within one year. It’s specific, you can measure how much money you make, it may be attainable, it’s relevant to saving up money for the second location and you have a one-year time frame.

You can then identify different ways your business could make more money and create a tactical plan to turn those options into actions.

SWOT analysis — a helpful planning tool

Tactical plans are all about action, but how do you know what actions to take? A SWOT analysis could help you identify different strategies, which you can then compare to figure out what to do next.

The strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that are directly related to your business. You affect your strengths or weaknesses by taking action.

The opportunities and threats tend to be external factors. Even though you still have to plan for them and deal with their effects, they could be more difficult to influence.

You can use a table like the one below to list each of these elements. Sometimes, asking questions such as the ones listed in the table can help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

If you’re looking for more prompts, there’s a checklist from SCORE, a nonprofit, small business mentoring organization, with 48 questions that you could ask yourself. You could also do a SWOT analysis as a team, asking each of your business partners or employees to fill in the matrix and then compare their results.

The SWOT analysis can help you learn more about your business, your competitors and the environment, but it won’t tell you exactly how to reach your goal. Next, use your SWOT analysis to identify a few strategies based on your analysis.

You could also use a table to organize and write down your answers:

Step-by-step: using a SWOT analysis to create a tactical plan

Some business owners make a practice of doing a SWOT analysis of their entire business every few years. If you compare the results, you may notice trends or find new ways to grow your business.

You can also use a SWOT analysis to address a specific problem or goal, which is how it relates to a tactical plan.

Let’s conduct a SWOT analysis using a SMART goal example: doubling a business’s profits within one year.

Imagine the business is a small restaurant in a medium-sized city. It’s primarily a lunch destination for the many office workers in the area, although the restaurant also serves dinner. It’s already been open for a year and has some regular customers, but the owner isn’t sure what to do to increase profits.

Here are the results of her SWOT analysis:

Next, she reviews the results to come up with several strategies:

Strengths and Opportunities (SO): We could create an after-work deal menu that’s different than the lunch menu to help get our regular customers to return later in the day. We should make sure the staff is trained to remind lunch customers about the deals.

We could also offer catering directly to the nearby companies, which will increase our lunch sales and introduce our food to more office workers in the area. The catering could be a second source of income. Then, if we can bottle and sell the hot sauce, which is already popular, that could be a third way to make money.

Additionally, building a website and social media presence could help us advertise our deals, catering and hot sauce.

Strengths and Threats (ST): We could start a rewards program that allows customers to get a free meal after 10 purchases. The program could help us keep our regular customers even if a competitor opens a restaurant nearby.

Since we’re selling out of a few items every day, we should try to figure out how many more ingredients we should order — a recordkeeping system could help. Maybe we can use our larger order to negotiate lower prices with our suppliers.

Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO): The after-work specials opportunity could increase our sales and allow us to hire additional staff, which could help address the negative reviews about slow service. However, we also need to focus on the staff’s initial training to address the complaints about rude service.

Using a recordkeeping system could help us track exactly how many ingredients we’re ordering and what food and drinks we’re selling. Knowing this information could help us plan future orders from suppliers, making sure we always have enough ingredients — particularly for the most popular items on the menu — and keeping excess ingredients from going bad. This could help us save money, which we can then put into savings.

Weaknesses and Threats (WT): Improving our overall reviews will limit the threat from competitors because we’ll grow our regular customer base.

Building our recordkeeping system and savings could also help us negotiate with suppliers, helping us compare suppliers and ask for better deals. If we can save enough money, we may be able to buy our store, which will help us avoid the threat of the landlord increasing the rent.

The business owner now has a list of strategies and actions she could take to improve her business and sales. They’re all based on the business’s current strengths and weaknesses, and the surrounding opportunities and threats.

A tactical plan will turn the strategies into actions. The plan could list the different projects based on how much they will help you reach your goal, and assign responsibilities for each project.

The restaurant owner may take on some of the work herself and start reaching out to local businesses to ask if they’re interested in catering. She could also assign some of the work, perhaps by asking one of her tech-savvy employees to start researching recordkeeping options, and asking one of the most well-liked servers to prepare a training presentation for the other servers.

Setting SMART goals and identifying strategies or opportunities can be important parts of growing a business. However, you need to turn your ideas into actions if you want to achieve your goals.

A tactical plan builds on your knowledge and research to let you make educated decisions about your business. With a tactical plan to review, you’ll know which tasks you can assign to your employees and what you need to do to reach your goals.

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Tactical Plan: What is it & How to Create an Effective One?

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Are you one of those beginners in entrepreneurship who has great ideas but confused about how to implement them?

Even if you have a crystal clear vision, things will not work out unless you have a clear plan in place.

According to a report, a business plan creates a 71% greater chance of growth .

Another study revealed that businesses that use business plans have a 7% higher likeliness of high growth as compared to those without an adequate business plan.

Isn’t that interesting enough to consider drafting a plan for your business?

But, drafting a 40-50 page strategic business plan can really be overwhelming!

Well, what about creating a simple, yet powerful business plan to suit your company’s short-term needs?

You can update the plan as your business moves forward. Such a dynamic plan is extremely beneficial since your business is definitely not static. As you learn more about your business, you can adjust the plan frequently.

Well, that is what a ‘Tactical Plan’ is all about. It prevents you from wasting a lot of time while helping you craft the best out of your business.

In this article, we will be focusing on what a tactical plan is, how is it beneficial to your business, and how can you create one.

Read on to dive into some exciting information!

What is a Tactical Plan? (Definition)

Even if you have clearly defined goals for excelling in the long term, and beautifully executed mechanisms to carry out day-to-day processes, something is still lacking.

You are still left out with no measure to encounter an immediate challenge, which in turn, may handicap your long-term goals and strategies. Home Page CTA

Hence, a tactical plan is something that your business would never want to compromise upon.

A tactical plan is defined as a clear outline of the actions you are going to take in order to a chieve a short-term goal.

It can either be a list of all the tasks that you will do on your own, or those which you are going to assign to your employees.

Say, if you decide to reach your potential clients or consumers through social media promotion. , Then, your tactical plan needs to lay out the entire process and steps of the promotion. This may include deciding an appropriate social media platform, arranging the necessary resources, setting up a fixed schedule for the promotional tasks, and so on, and so forth.

Or, let’s take another example. Imagine you are going to launch a new website for your business. So, you should make a clear outline of the content that you are going to post, employ an efficient content management team, provide them with all the required resources, decide a strategy and timeline for posting content, choose a medium to share the content to potential clients or customers, and more.

In order to keep up with the competitors and excel in the market, it is extremely essential for your business to have a clearly laid out tactical plan in place.

Curious to know more about the specific benefits of creating a tactical plan for your business!? Well, here are the reasons why you should never fail to create one:

How Creating a Tactical Plan is Beneficial?

The question here is extremely difficult to answer since it cannot be concluded in a few lines or even paragraphs.

Though end results may vary according to the exclusive nature of your company, it is no doubt that creating a tactical plan is a task worth your time.

For an easy and better understanding, here we provide you with the top three reasons why creating a tactical plan can be extremely beneficial to you:

1. Better Understanding of the Business

Creating a tactical plan will force you to think analytically and come up with solutions to immediate problems in any part of the business.

All the research and analysis done to create a tactical plan helps everyone, from the employer to the employees, to get a better understanding of your business and help you achieve the broader vision.

Read more:  Company Profile: What is it & How to Write a Perfect one?

2. Point Out Your Inefficiencies

Tactical plans are extremely beneficial to your company since it helps you to point out your business’ inefficiencies and faults.

Once you understand what the faults are, you can take the necessary steps to prevent them from taking place again!

3. Benefit from Employees’ Inputs

Employees involved in the day-to-day operations give their opinions and inputs, as part of the tactical plan.

This would obviously be beneficial since the inputs gained are based on their first-hand experience.

With all that being said, it is totally understood that a tactical plan can be a gem to your business.

But, how to create one?

That is something that requires not only proper theoretical knowledge but also a great amount of research and brainstorming.

Let us look at the steps involved in creating a tactical plan!

How to Create a Tactical Plan? (Step by Step)

There are certain steps that you should never fail to consider while creating a tactical business plan for your business. Each one of these should be clearly included and taken care of.

Here are those essential steps, or components to be included while drafting a tactical plan:

Step 1. Envision the Long-term Mission

As mentioned earlier, though tactical plans are designed to cater to the short-term goals, they contribute ultimately to the long-term goals of your business.

This is why it is important to have a perfect understanding of the company’s overall long-term goals while drafting a tactical plan.

Once you get hold of the ultimate mission of the business, you can likely employ shorter goals to work towards them.

Step 2. Create Well-defined Goals

Learn about your company’s needs and design goals well-suited to its nature.

This should be based on various objectives such as your company’s productivity and output, workload, profit levels, etc.

Be sure to learn what your company is lacking and prioritize the goals accordingly.

Make sure that you create only realistic and practical goals because creating huge unrealistic goals may even handicap your company’s current productivity and profit levels.

Read more:   Writing Vision Statement: Definition, Examples, and Best Practices!

Step 3. Assign Actions to Each Objective

Once you are done with creating the goals and objectives, the next step is to create the necessary steps needed to achieve each of them.

These steps or actions should be clear, practical, and easy to execute.

For eg: if your goal is to get more visitors to your website, you should employ steps to make your website more appealing and attractive to people. If you think smarter, a single action can even let you achieve multiple objectives!

Step 4.   Arbitrate Key-Performance-Indicators (KPIs)

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a set of quantifiable measurements which are used to test the long-term performance of your company.

For example, gross profit margin, liquidity availability, or even anecdotal ones such as quality of customer experience.

KPIs help you to understand if the objectives employed are making sense.

Be wise to choose KPIs that directly support your goals. Otherwise, the information will go irrelevant.

Step 5. Employ Adequate Resources

You should make sure that your employees have access to the adequate resources and tools needed to achieve the defined goals.

You should make proper arrangements to provide any sort of training or installation of new software if needed.

Your team should never be found lacking in resources.

Any minor misgivings on your part in this regard can impact your business negatively.

Step 6.  Delegation of Responsibilities with Fixed Timelines

As you are creating a tactical plan, it is important to assign and divide work and responsibilities to people, according to their efficiency and potential.

It is also salient to keep a fixed timeline for each process.

Doing this will help the employers to work as per priorities, and manage time effectively and efficiently. It will also help in inculcating professionalism and a sense of seriousness, associated with the job.

Individuals and teams should be aware of their specific responsibilities or the tasks that they must carry out.

Step 7. Build Flexibility

While creating a tactical plan for your company, it is necessary to incorporate flexibility into the plan.

Each business is unique, and so is yours.

Therefore, you should never fail to create flexible plans, that suit your exclusive business needs.

Being flexible with your plan doesn’t mean it has to be clumsy, rather it means adapting to the exclusive needs of your company.

With all these steps clearly carried out, it is of no doubt that you can build a perfect tactical plan.

However, the steps can be modified according to your company’s exclusive nature.

Well, now, choosing a tool to create your tactical document is much-required, right!

But, how to choose the most innovative platform, to create a dynamic tactical plan?

Worry not, that’s what stands for. Come, let us explore what really is! : The Ultimate Tool for Creating a Tactical Plan

With, creating a tactical plan is easier than ever before!

The huge variety of features that Bit offers, help you in creating the perfect tactical plan for your business.

Bit does not simply boast of being the most popular document collaboration and management platform. We have solid reasons!

Well, have a look at some of the top features of Bit, on your own:

Multiple Workspaces

The Bit ‘Workspace’ help you customize your workflows to meet your business needs. While creating a tactical plan, you may need to discuss the parts with your attorney.

This can be done using Bit’s workspaces. The workspaces can be customized according to your needs too. They can be team workspaces, client workspaces, private workspaces, and more.

Real-time Collaboration

While creating your tactical plan, you need not spend extra time, discussing it with your partners or colleagues. Bit offers real-time collaboration on your documents. This means you can save your precious time, by discussing and making changes to the plan on the go!

Anyone who is part of a workspace can easily collaborate across the documents inside that workspace. The collaborators can add or edit the content, add comments, files, embed links, and more, in real-time!

Smart Editor

Your tactical plan need not be an outdated, boring document. You can make it interactive and innovative using Bit’s smart document editor features. Bit offers a large variety of templates , themes, and formatting options to choose from.

You can embed hundreds of rich media and file formats to your document, which would make it extremely stunning. Any content on the internet, with a web link, can be added to your document to make it super interactive!

Content Management

While creating any document, there would obviously arise the need for a lot of content, that must go along with it.

Storing all this digital content is obviously a task in itself. But, Bit has got your back! Bit offers an amazing content library, where you can save and access all types of digital content that are needed.

End-to-End Sharing and Tracking

Once you are ready with your tactical plan, you can share the document in live-state. Any changes made to the document will be updated in real-time. You can even track the performance of your document, by gaining real-time insights on users’ interaction on your document.

Security and Permissions

You would obviously not want your tactical plan to be accessed by everyone out there. At Bit, we respect your privacy. That is why we have introduces features like password protection, file access restrictions, etc. that can ensure the safety of your documents.

Wrapping Up

Now, you must have a clear understanding of a tactical plan.

For all that information to be useful, you just need to employ it efficiently.

With all the enthusiasm you have, we are sure that you could create an excellent tactical plan for your business.

Tweet to us @bit_docs and let us know how it goes. We wish you all success and luck ahead!

Further reads:

Resource Management Plan: What is it & How to Create it?

Growth Plan: What is it & How to Create One? (Steps Included)

Weekly Plan: What is it & How to Create an Effective One?

Product Planning: What is it & How to do it? (Process & Steps)

Business Development Plan: What Is It And How To Create A Perfect One?

Business Continuity Plan: What, Why & How to Create it?

Product Plan: How to Create it the Right Way?

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Operating Agreement: What is it & How to Draft One for your LLC?

Value Proposition: What is it & How to Write it?

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Strategy vs. tactics: the main difference & how to track progress of both, you’ve heard there’s a difference between tactics and strategy, but maybe it seems a little fuzzy. let us clear up the confusion..

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RJ Messineo

Strategy Vs. Tactics: The Main Difference & How to Track Progress Of Both


You’ve probably heard people in your company argue about both strategy and tactics when they're talking about strategy implementation . These are common terms and are thrown around regularly in articles online and in the office—and are often confused. So, we’re here to set the record straight on the difference between tactics and strategy.

Strategy describes the destination and how you are going to get there, and tactics describe the specific actions you are going to take along the way. Click To Tweet

There are quite a few differences between strategy and tactical planning. In short, strategic planning is used to set destination and how you are going to get there, and tactical planning outlines the specific actions you are going to take along the way. Below, we’ll expound on strategy vs tactics, the differences and similarities between the two, and explain how you can track the progress of each.

In This Article

Strategy vs. tactics: the difference, what makes a good strategy, what makes a good tactic, overall, the rule of thumb for understanding the difference between strategy and tactics is, “think strategically, act tactically.”, 3 strategy vs. tactics examples, track progress of your strategy & tactics, measuring strategy, tracking strategy & tactics in clearpoint, measuring tactics.

About 2,500 years ago, Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu wrote “The Art of War.” In it, he said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Tactics and strategy are not at odds with one another—they’re on the same team. (And they have been for many centuries!) Here’s how we define the tactical vs. the strategic:

A solid strategy reflects the core values of the organization. Your strategic team should gather input from across the organization to ensure there’s alignment between the strategy and each department’s priorities. All strategies should be actionable.

When creating a good strategy, focus on the desired end result (the goal). Your strategy is the foundation for all activities within the organization, and how it’s crafted will guide decision-making as your teams work to achieve those goals. For example, if a furniture company has a goal to expand market share, its strategy could include offering the most competitive prices and always being in stock of common offerings. Leadership teams will make decisions that prioritize lower costs.

A good tactic has a clear purpose that aids your strategy. It has a finite timeline during which specific activities will be completed and their impacts measured.

A tactic for the furniture company would be to analyze manufacturing processes to minimize waste and inefficiencies, thereby decreasing cost and, by extension, prices for customers. The company can clearly measure the success of the tactic by comparing their costs before and after the analysis.

Here are a few examples of how strategy and tactics interact that will help you differentiate between the two terms:

To help clarify the concept even further, let’s look at a few examples.

For a local government, accountability and responsiveness are cornerstones of good governance. Therefore, you may have an overarching goal to improve transparency.

Your strategy: To achieve that goal, you decide to improve your communication strategy by adopting and implementing new channels of two-way communication. Not only will this help you understand what people want (and need), but it will also help you keep people informed.

Your tactics: Some tactics you might use to achieve that strategy could include:

These tactics have a clear end time, and, if accomplished, will ultimately contribute to reaching the overall goal.

Most school systems are continuously striving to improve learning outcomes as demonstrated through standardized test scores. There are a variety of strategies and tactics you could adopt to accomplish that mission.

Your strategy: You decide to focus on incorporating more technology into the classroom as a way to improve student engagement, which has been shown to positively impact learning.

Your tactics: Some tactics you might use to achieve that strategy would be:

These tactics have a clear purpose that will aid the strategy, and a finite timeline. Once complete, they will bring you closer to achieving the strategy.

A common problem faced by many healthcare organizations is related to hospital capacity: The demand for patient beds exceeds the supply. With an overarching mission of improving the health of the community you serve, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Your strategy: Since you don’t have land for new construction, your strategy is to make your internal processes more efficient to improve patient flow, thereby freeing up beds more quickly.

Your tactics: Some tactics you might use to achieve that strategy might be:

These tactics will help identify bottlenecks in your existing processes and provide data you can use to make better decisions, all of which will hopefully unlock greater capacity within the resources that already exist.

Strategy and tactics are two parts of the same puzzle—they work together to help your organization achieve long-term success. It’s important to actively review both periodically to ensure you’re making progress.

Let’s take a look at how you would measure each in practice, and how using ClearPoint , a strategy reporting software, can help drive results.

To track your strategy , you’ll need to choose some key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help gauge performance.

A good KPI uses quantifiable data to answer questions about progress and give you ideas on how to further improve those numbers. For example, if your strategy is to increase customer satisfaction, a net promoter score (NPS) could be the KPI. There are many factors that might go into the answer for a NPS score, and with the help of additional questions, an organization could learn which areas to focus their improvements on.

Remember to set targets that specifically detail your KPIs and break them down into achievable timeframes. ( Here’s an article that explains how to do that. ) Take a look at other organizations in your market or review your past performance to choose appropriate targets. If your KPI performance seems to be consistently lagging without much concern, you could try giving targets more weight; some organizations tie KPI performance to incentives like end-of-year bonuses to encourage engagement.

Following one of our earlier examples, if your goal as a school administrator is to implement technology to improve student engagement and retention, you might be measuring students’ standardized test results. But depending on what kind of success you were seeing, you could then begin measuring scores on classroom tests or overall student grades every quarter. This type of measurement should be able to validate if using technology in classrooms is helping with grades. It might also reveal other new paths to succeeding. Perhaps the technology is having an impact on grades overall, but there’s still a piece missing that better links classroom learning to standardized testing—indicating the need for a change in tactics.

There’s a lot of data associated with strategy tracking—and a lot of pitfalls that could prevent you from doing it right. ClearPoint was designed specifically to help organizations of all kinds stay on track when it comes to strategy execution. It allows you to view all relevant information associated with your strategies and tactics in one place, making it easier to understand and analyze progress, and even change course when you need to. In ClearPoint, you can visualize the linkage between connected elements (strategies and tactics), and create customized dashboards and views that allow other people in your organization to easily gain insight into performance.

As an example, the ClearPoint summary report below is for a local government. It shows a clear alignment between city strategies (goals) and tactics, along with status indicators (green, yellow, or red), qualitative analysis, tactic owners, percent complete, and end dates.

Alignment report - Strategy vs. tactics - ClearPoint Strategy

When you can easily see how all the pieces of your strategy—including tactics and KPIs—fit together, you have a clearer view of which activities are actually moving the needle in the right direction. In ClearPoint, you can see the goals that are linked to your KPIs. So, if you see a KPI is improving but the associated strategy remains unchanged, perhaps the KPI doesn’t have the influence you thought it had, and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

In ClearPoint, you can also create dashboards that pull in additional relevant information. Below is a status snapshot of any of the government’s goals that have fallen behind plan, along with the strategy that was implemented to achieve the goal. You can also see a tactic snapshot showing the status of all of your tactics, and finally, the alignment summary report from above, all on the same page, allowing you to gain quick insights. You can then make any changes in strategy as needed.

Scorecard dashboard - Strategy vs. tactics - ClearPoint Strategy

Ready to do advanced strategic planning in your organization? Use our Three Year/Five Year Strategic Plan Dashboard to plan long term goals

With your tactics, it’s more about your planning and the components therein. Tactics typically have a start and end date, certain allocated resources, and a number of milestones and action items to help achieve the tactic. You want to be sure that you hold each member of your organization accountable for the tactics they’re in charge of, so you should always assign ownership when a tactic is assigned. Viewed together, your tactics will give you the concrete steps you need to track anything relating or tied to your strategy, included related OKRs or KPIs . If you’ve allocated resources to a tactic, remember to track how they’re being used and how much budget you have remaining.

It’s easy to speak about your strategy and your tactics as if they’re the same thing. They do rely heavily on one another and are both very important to keep track of, but the terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

Before you implement your strategy, make sure you’ve got stakeholder buy-in and you’ve addressed any hesitations. Once you’ve ironed out concerns and are ready to execute, communicate your strategy across the organization to provide meaning and context around each department’s activities. It’s very important that everyone understands your strategy. Teams should know how the tactics they’re working on contribute to the overall goals of the organization.

And finally, don’t forget to consistently review and evaluate your strategy. No business environment stays static, and holding strategic reviews to check in will ensure you adapt to any changes and stay on track.

infographic summarizing the differences and interaction of strategy and tactics, good strategy, good tactics, measuring tactics, strategy vs tactics, strategy, strategies, tactics, kpi, measuring kpis,

What is a strategic plan?

What’s the difference between strategy vs tactics.

Long-term goals and how you’re planning to achieve them make up your strategy. Whereas tactics are your projects and initiatives. They are concrete and can be completed in a short time-frame.

When should I use a strategy vs a tactic?

How are strategy and tactics linked, why are tactics important, why is a strategy important.

Strategy Vs. Tactics: The Main Difference & How to Track Progress Of Both

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Operational Planning

Operational planning definition.

What does operational planning mean? Operational planning creates a detailed roadmap based on a strategic plan.The operational plan aligns timelines, action items and key milestones that finance or the business needs to complete to execute on the strategic plan. In this way, an operational plan outlines the organization’s key objectives and goals and clarifies how the organization will achieve them.

During the operational planning process, finance or the business responsibilities are described in detail based on the timeline for the operational plan. The timeframe should depend on typical organizational velocity; creating an annual operational plan is a fluid, changing process, so keeping clarity and collaboration is vital for success.

A well-conceived business operational plan keeps team members collaborating smoothly, ensures everyone knows what needs to be done and what their part in it is, and guides critical decisions about long-term strategy.

Key steps of operational planning

What Is Operational Planning?

What is operational planning for finance or the business? Operational planning is the result of a team or department working to execute a strategic plan. It is a future-oriented process that maps out department goals, capabilities, and budgets to promote the success of team-based activities designed to support the strategic plan.

Operational business plans are most effective when there is buy-in from the entire team or department, ensuring issues are reported, goals identified and timelines get delivered,, and business collaboration is more effective. When communication across finance and the business exists, operational plans work even more efficiently to ensure that the entire organization reaches its goals.

An example of operational planning would be a manufacturer creating a plan to increase revenue by 30%. Finance partners with sales, the marketing team, operations and other key business areas to align on the strategies needed to support revenue growth and achieve business goals together. Another operational planning example might be a brand looking to introduce a new product. It would need to leverage and expand existing capabilities, harness new tools, and create a roadmap for doing so.

Other operational planning examples in management include mapping business or production output to meet other new goals, planning for new or expanded solutions, sales and operational planning, providing a roadmap or increased clarity surrounding business goals, or creating a strategy for increased business partnership.

Strategic Planning vs Operational Planning

There is a difference between strategic planning, tactical planning, and operational planning. However, strategic, tactical, and operational planning need to be considered together and build upon one another.

What is a strategic plan?

A strategic plan describes the high-level goals, long-term vision, and organizational mission, usually over the next three to five years. It also details the major projects or initiatives that will happen to meet them, and how the organization will measure the goals, broadly. This is a big picture view of goals, but it can’t really show a team how to achieve those goals step-by-step.

What is an operational plan ?

An operational plan (also known as an operations plan, work plan, or operation plan) is a detailed outline of what a team or department will focus on in the immediate future—typically within the upcoming year. The operational plan answers questions about things like weekly goals and tasks, such as what they are generally, what they will achieve, who will do them, and how often.

What is a tactical plan?

Tactical planning is a step organizations or teams sometimes take after they create strategic and operational plans. The idea is to break the plans into smaller goals and objectives, to define them and determine which steps and actions will be most effective in achieving them. In other words, the operational plan may just have set a goal or task for person A about goal 1, but a tactical plan might set forth the detailed steps person A will need to execute every week.

Tactical planning and operational planning differ in the kinds of questions they ask. Operational plans ask how the team should do something so they can both adhere more broadly to the organizational mission and specific strategic goals. Tactical plans ask specific questions about how to accomplish strategic and operational goals. They are the most microscopic version of planning.

In summary, a strategic plan is a business-level, long-term strategy plan over the next three to five years. It is a visionary plan, the big picture. Its focus is not on implementation. An operational plan is smaller in timeline and both scope, and the goal of operational planning is both to describe a more granular view of how to achieve strategic goals and to focus on implementation in the form of weekly actions, specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), etc. A tactical plan is the narrowest view that is focused on implementation only, and things like daily tasks for one person or a small team and smaller goals.

Strategic and operational planning work together; operational planning is an important part of a whole strategy. Tactical planning helps teams achieve their strategic and operational planning goals.

The goal of an operational plan is to give particular tasks to specific departments, not the company as a whole, whereas it is strategic vs operational planning that sets forth long-term goals for the next three to five years.

What is the Operational Planning Process?

Going through the operational planning cycle, keep these best practices and operational planning techniques in mind.

Research and Identify Goals

The goal of an operational plan and its creation process should be to address some foundational questions:

Ask team members the questions, and prioritize responses based on how difficult they are to execute, and how critical.

Visualize the Operational Plan

Make sure the vision for the plan is clearly articulated. Clearly defined goals, charts and visualizations, and project management software can help offer a high-level view of tasks and progress for all stakeholders. Identify which operational business planning techniques and tools will work best for achieving the organization’s goals.

Assign People and Budget

The budgeting process in operational planning consists of assigning tasks and allocating resources and budget for team members to complete them. Each piece of the budget should map out to a financial goal in the operational plan with corresponding timetables and deliverables.

Tracking and Informing Progress

Build out a reporting process that corresponds to the clear objectives with goals, targets, deliverables, resource allocation, and timetables in the operational plan. This way the stakeholders can report progress as the plan moves forward.

Adjust the Operational Plan as Needed

A well-conceived operational plan should allow you to understand precisely which activities and aspects of the plan failed to perform. This in turn allows the team to pivot, involve new team members as needed, and continue to the next benchmark with a refined operational plan.

Consider the Right Indicators

Use key performance metrics or indicators that are predictive, not just lagging indicators. You need some lagging indicators such as past sales or attendance figures, but leading indicators such as market trends should also contribute to both reporting progress and adjusting the operational plan.

What Should Operational Planning Include?

Approaches to operational planning vary, but each team has as its main objective producing a functional operational plan that reflects a practical approach to the organization’s mission and strategic plan.

What should an operational plan include? This strategic document should plan all of the daily processes and operations that a business and its teams or departments including marketing, recruitment, and finance need to do to achieve company goals.

A well-defined operational plan should ensure that each manager and employee understands what their specific responsibilities are, and how and when to execute them.

The operation plan itself should have several components:

What are the Steps in Operational Planning?

The purpose of the operational planning process is not to generate new goals or plans, but to create an operational plan in support of existing strategic goals:

Start with a strategic plan

Create the strategic plan first. Before considering immediate tasks and day-to-day details, it’s important to see the long-term vision and goals. As the leadership team creates the strategic plan, they determine the position of the organization and develop its strategy. They should also monitor the strategic plan, and adjust it as needed.

Sharpen the scope

Narrow the scope of the operational plan to a department, team, or focus area to ensure it is detail-oriented and targeted. The size of the organization determines the scope of your operational plan. In other words, you start big with the strategic plan, and then narrow down to the operational plan and the focus area of the team who will execute it—and then create various supporting action plans for execution.

Identify key stakeholders

Identify stakeholders in the operational planning process before creating an operational plan. The team members who create the operational plan should lead and inform others around the operational plan, so you’ll need to know who they are before execution.

Create the operational plan

Your operational plan sets forth the timeframe, the goals to achieve, and explains the actions the team will take to achieve those goals on time. It must include objectives, deliverables, quality standards (if any), desired outcomes, operating budget, staffing and resource requirements, and progress and monitoring information.

For example:

An organization’s strategic plan sets forth the goal of the marketing team increasing brand awareness by at least 10% in the next year. This will mean increased engagement with potential customers and more eyes on new marketing materials.

This will require support from the design team, who will have new goals: update the website and create new promotional materials. To achieve those goals, they will collaborate with the development team on the update and hire social media engagement team members. The team will use software and management tools to report and track their progress.

Share the operational plan

Share the operational plan with key stakeholders so they understand mission critical goals and the daily tasks that support them. Track progress in real-time for best results. This also allows you to update the operational plan and report on progress as needed to team members and stakeholders. Like project planning, operational planning is never a one-and-done task, but remains a continuous process.

Why is Operational Planning Important?

At the organizational level, project success demands a strong operational plan. Chaos and confusion often reign without an operational plan, as budgets rise and team members lose sight of tasks and deadlines.

The importance of operational planning is in the creation of a single source of truth that enables comprehensive understanding of mission, strategic goals, and how to achieve them. An operational plan helps teams identify areas that cause lack of clarity, missed revenue generation opportunities, inefficient strategies, or areas of reduced business partnership.

What are the Benefits of Operational Planning?

The advantages of operational planning can impact organizations of any size. An operational plan helps teams reach strategic goals by connecting teams and their individual tasks to company goals. A detail-oriented operational plan has many benefits.

It clarifies organizational goals. Operational planning helps leadership define responsibilities, daily tasks, and activities in detail. It also sets out how individual team members support overall department and organizational goals and defines outcomes for them to measure daily tasks against.

It also boosts team productivity. Operational planning enhances efficiency, productivity, and profits by ensuring employees in each department and across the company know their daily responsibilities and objectives.

Operational planning disadvantages include creating an operational plan based on human error, or whose success is overly dependent upon effective coordination of diverse cross-functional teams. Singular focus only on coordination and not connecting the business is a primary disadvantage of implementing an operations planning process.

Who is Responsible for Operational Planning?

Create an operational plan at the department or team level to best precisely capture the roles and tasks. At a larger organization, an operational plan might even be specific to a particular initiative—much like a detailed tactical or work plan.

There several considerations that determine who creates operational plans:

Typically, the operational plan is the realm of middle-management, in contrast to the top-down execution style from the C-suite the strategic plan receives. Its scope is also narrower and as routine tasks are mapped out, which continuously evolves Changes to the strategic plan will be less frequent.

Given the focus on day-to-day activities, allocation of resources, and tasks, middle-managers are often best-suited to map out and implement the operational plan.

Does Planful Help With Operational Planning?

Yes. Planful’s Continuous Planning platform unites the demand for structured planning originating in finance with the business need for dynamic planning. Planful empowers organizations to make smarter decisions more confidently, rapidly, and strategically and ensures the data collection process for operational planning isn’t a time-consuming, manual process.

Use Planful to build collaborative financial plans that align resources with strategic objectives. Adjust and pivot as business conditions change, model hundreds of different scenarios reliably, and turn annual plans into quarterly or monthly rolling forecasts, all based on what the organization needs now.

Find out more about Planful’s Operational Planning solution here.

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Business Management: 4 Types of Planning

Posted July 7, 2017 | Business

Man in suit looking through a telescope

Business planning seems like it would be something that organizations do well, given the near self-evident importance of the concept. Yet, that is not necessarily the case. “In my experience leading dozens of business planning workshops in countries all over the world, I’d say only about 10% to 15% of teams I’ve encountered have an effective business planning process,” according to author and business plan expert Tim Berry in Entrepreneur .

Organizations should develop a better understanding of how to approach business planning. The following sections expand on the topic and the four types of planning.

“Planning is about managing resources and priorities in an organized way,” Berry says. “Management is related to leadership, and it’s related to productivity.”

If companies improve how they plan, managing and leadership will also improve. The following steps can help businesses plan better.

The 4 Types of Plans

Operational planning.

“Operational plans are about how things need to happen ,” motivational leadership speaker Mack Story said at LinkedIn. “Guidelines of how to accomplish the mission are set.”

This type of planning typically describes the day-to-day running of the company. Operational plans are often described as single use plans or ongoing plans. Single use plans are created for events and activities with a single occurrence (such as a single marketing campaign). Ongoing plans include policies for approaching problems, rules for specific regulations and procedures for a  step-by-step process for accomplishing particular objectives.

Strategic Planning

“Strategic plans are all about why things need to happen,” Story said. “It’s big picture, long-term thinking. It starts at the highest level with defining a mission and casting a vision.”

Strategic planning includes a high-level overview of the entire business. It’s the foundational basis of the organization and will dictate long-term decisions. The scope of strategic planning can be anywhere from the next two years to the next 10 years. Important components of a strategic plan are vision, mission and values.

Tactical Planning

“Tactical plans are about what is going to happen,” Story said. “Basically at the tactical level, there are many focused, specific, and short-term plans, where the actual work is being done, that support the high-level strategic plans.”

Tactical planning supports strategic planning. It includes tactics that the organization plans to use to achieve what’s outlined in the strategic plan. Often, the scope is less than one year and breaks down the strategic plan into actionable chunks. Tactical planning is different from operational planning in that tactical plans ask specific questions about what needs to happen to accomplish a strategic goal; operational plans ask how the organization will generally do something to accomplish the company’s mission.

Contingency Planning

Contingency plans are made when something unexpected happens or when something needs to be changed. Business experts sometimes refer to these plans as a special type of planning.

Contingency planning can be helpful in circumstances that call for a change. Although managers should anticipate changes when engaged in any of the primary types of planning, contingency planning is essential in moments when changes can’t be foreseen. As the business world becomes more complicated, contingency planning becomes more important to engage in and understand.

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Tactical Planning, Types, Examples, and Advantages

Table of Contents

Every company and organization plans for their business to provide action strategy to the team and achieve desired results. Tactical planning is a kind of short-term planning and is associated with actions that demand immediate results. It is employed by middle-level departments to assign tasks to their teams. 

What is tactical planning?

Tactical planning is a breakdown of long-term goals, short term as compared to strategic planning which is long term. It is distinct in the way that it is used to achieve targets in a short term. It is Flexible and can be enhanced according to the need. Unlike strategic planning which is of a crucial kind and a company cannot deviate from it. The flexibility of tactical planning makes it less risky in the character in a way that if it goes wrong no harm is done to the company. Tactical planning is employed by middle departments which break down tasks for their particular teams to achieve long-term goals. 

Elements of Tactical Planning 

There are various elements involved in tactical planning. For example: further breaking down organization goals which are more than two or three years long, having a goal-oriented timeline with short term targets, like, target for next three months or six months. 

Other elements of a tactical plan are resources of the company, key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives, actions, goals of the company, flexibility and timeline determine the success or failure of tactical planning. 

When Is Tactical Planning Employed? 

Some factors determine when to use tactical planning in an organization. 

Three types of planning (Importance of tactical planning):

Every company plans for each stage of its action. There are long-term plans, short-term goals, daily tasks or days to be planned and a lot more goes behind the stage. 

Different types of planning are discussed below and when they should be used. 

Strategic planning:

“Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite; it’s the starting point.” ~ Henry Mintzberg

Strategic planning is the long-term planning for the achievement and survival of the organization. It is a mission and answers the  why  of the organization. It can even be as long as 10-year long planning. It comes from the highest level of the company and represents the vision of the organization. 

For example, a strategic plan is if a company wants to take over another organization. And the way they would achieve this mission would be by using different tactics. 

Tactical Planning:

“Strategy without tactical planning is the slowest route to victory.”

Tactical planning helps you understand and break down your strategy in chunks to achieve it sooner. Tactics are short-term flexible and less risky actions which a company takes to move forward in a short time. This type of planning is more associated with mid-level departments and is action-oriented. 

For example, if a company wants to make a bid, it will have to use promotions, lower prices, and customized offers as tactics to achieve its goal. It would be a single-time plan and doesn’t harm the company if the company fails to secure the bid. 

Operational Planning:

It involves day to day planning of any organization. Operational planning helps you to drive the workforce and to overcome the challenges faced by the workers on daily business. 

Operational planning is the guidelines and involves what, when and who, outlines policies, rules, and regulations, management of staff and their training, etc. It is used to implement strategic planning in short and doable steps. It helps you to identify and mitigate the risks and dangers a company faces frequently.  

Difference between Different Kinds Of Planning

There are differences among the various kinds of planning. There are some plans which are specific to the target for example growth planning or contingency planning in which organizations prepare themselves for the unknown risks and consequences for example inflation, natural disaster, or accidents. Whereas, strategic planning, operational planning, etc. are examples of ongoing planning and define the vision and mission of the organization. 

Below we will look into several differences among plannings and their requirements to understand their implication. 

Strategic planning and Tactical planning

Both are intermittently related and have a huge impact on the company. If strategic planning is the vision of the company then tactical planning is responsible to realize it in a time frame. 

There is no compromise on strategic planning. It defines the organization’s stake in the market and is highly crucial for it. Whereas, tactical planning is no risk planning and can be enhanced or changed from time to time. 

The highest level of an organization is involved in Strategic planning, whereas, tactical planning is done by mid-level. 

Tactical vs Operational planning

Tactical plans are used to implement security and operational plans whereas operational plans define the tasks which will implement a security policy. Operational planning is continuous or ongoing planning and requires the presence of mind to deliver the results. 

Tactical vs. Growth planning

Tactical planning is defined as your actions to attain any goal or target. You can design tactics to ward off any danger to the organization, or the tactics to achieve a milestone. whereas growth planning is specifically meant for the growth of an individual or a company. You need to define your targets, timeline, and your resources to grow your business. For example marketing plan, diversity, product development, market penetration all come under growing yourself stronger. 

Tactical vs. Competitive planning

Competitive planning helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor. You can have both direct and indirect competitors. It includes the business strategy you can design to achieve a competitive edge over them, etc. It is mainly an analysis of you and your competitor. Competitive planning has different factors such as; highly skilled labor, easy access to raw material, or having more and stable resources as compared to your competitor. 

Whereas, tactical planning includes and is not limited to the competitors only. Tactics are used to grow and sustain your business and avoid or address the fluctuations in the business as well as the organization. 

Tactical planning process

Tactical planning is not a vague idea. It is very targeted, distinct, and goal-oriented. For tactical planning, the company must do a SWOT and SMART analysis. The SWOT analysis identifies Strengths Weaknesses Opportunity Threats for any organization. 

While SMART helps you to maintain a goal criteria where SMART stands for 

Tactical planning steps

Company objectives and resources play a major role in tactical planning. Following steps can be taken to plan tactics for a company: 

Keep Vision in Sight

Having your company’s vision insight is very important when planning for tactics as the actions should be in orientation with the goals. Vague planning wastes valuable time and resources of the organization. 

Define Goals and Objectives

Be specific with the objectives so that the plans are doable for the teams. The supervisors must keep in mind the productivity and workload of the team members when planning so that there is no room for unrealistic expectations. 

Assign Actions

Everyone on the team should know their part in the realization of the specified goal. It helps to use maximum resources, avoid confusion and distraction. 

Combine Actions With Objectives

When actions are attached to objectives it helps team members to achieve them readily as the award, i.e. sense of accomplishment is within sight. 

Determining the KPIs

Key Performance Indicators guide you along your path to your goal. They help you evaluate your progress and point you in the right direction. Having clear KPIs and vision can aid workers to act accordingly. Choosing goal-oriented KPIs to keep you on the path, for example, profit, sales targets, quality assurance , etc. 


The best thing about tactical planning is its flexibility. It assures the team because anxiety and extreme pressure to deliver only hampers the performance as a whole. Every company has a unique status and things take a turn or slow down when working long term. Flexibility in the plan helps you to be open to options. 

Having a Plan B is extremely crucial because things never go as planned. Plan B helps you to avoid risks, confusion, and demoralization among the members. Plus it keeps the company on track and minimizes the consequences. Contingency plans should be in place in any organization or individual’s life so that they can cushion the loss. 

Who and what are involved in tactical planning

When planning tactics it is highly recommended to directly involve the concerned individuals. It not only helps you to identify the SWOT analysis but also design the tactic according to the requirement of the department. 

Delegate the tasks to the persons who are most qualified to perform them. It helps to achieve optimized results with minimum efforts and resources. 

Having access to the right tools and resources, training, and production platforms are also very helpful and produce desired results with great revenues for the organization. 

When discussing a tactical plan, take notes of all the required items and deliver them immediately to the team so that they can perform at their best. 

Tactical planning examples

Tactical planning is essential in any field or individual’s life. It is a line of action to achieve the goals. Many examples illustrate tactical planning quite well. Some are discussed below. 

Advantages of tactical planning

Without tactical planning, you cannot strategize your move. It works on all levels and helps you to sustain the system in the organization . 

The advantages and benefits of tactical planning are: 

Disadvantages of tactical planning

Every planning has its downside as well. Tactical planning, however highly praised, can become a disadvantage if not implemented wisely. Some of the disadvantages of tactical planning are: 

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strategic vs tactical planning

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By Colin Baker Leaders Staff

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Updated Dec 14, 2022

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what is tactical planning in business

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Strategic vs. Tactical Planning: Which One is Better?

At a business meeting, management has set an ambitious goal of new sales to hit by the end of the year. The salespeople are excited, and company leadership is eager for their organization to achieve new heights. The question remains: How will they reach this new goal? That’s the dilemma many organizations struggle with as they seek to grow their businesses. Anyone can set goals and objectives, but achieving them is another matter. Planning your strategy and tactics is essential. Knowing the difference between tactical vs. strategic planning is often the difference between succeeding or failing to reach those goals.

What is a Strategic Plan?

What is a tactical plan, what is the difference between strategy and tactics, examples of strategic and tactical planning, how to create a strategic plan, how to create a tactical plan, be both a strategic and tactical leader.

Few people doubt the importance of planning ahead before tackling any project. A  study  published in the Journal of Business Venturing found that planning impacts a business’s overall performance in a positive way. A business plan helps companies grow as well.  Research  has found that organizations that plan grow up to 30 percent faster. For this reason, businesses need to prepare in advance to remain competitive and successful. Recognizing where strategic and tactical business planning come into play makes a difference. In this article, find out the difference between strategy and tactics and how to create each type of plan.

Key Takeaways

A strategic plan explains  what  organizations want to achieve by looking at the big picture to set goals. The strategy businesses adopt maps out the long-term plans they intend to follow. This can also apply to individuals seeking career advancement and professional development. Strategic planning for this purpose outlines the overall goals, identifying the destination you want to reach in the future.

A tactical plan describes  how  a business will accomplish its goals. Tactical plans focus on the steps, tasks, and specific actions needed to achieve goals set by the established strategic plan. In this way, the tactical business planning process emphasizes short-term measures that contribute to a larger business strategy. Whether used for corporate planning, team planning, or individual plans, this type of planning is necessary for following through on strategic objectives.

Strategic planning represents the long-term view of an organization. Strategic plans mainly deal with broad goals and objectives. Many strategic plans have time frames of months or even years. They also involve looking at what resources the company has available and what kind of people can tackle the project.

The tactical planning process, on the other hand, is far more specific than strategic planning. Much of the time, tactical planning looks at the day-to-day activities required for reaching broader objectives. A tactical plan should consist of milestones and deadlines that help companies know if they’re on track with their strategic plans. This type of planning also emphasizes execution, ensuring that things don’t just get done but done well.

With those differences in mind, let’s take a look at some examples that highlight how strategic and tactical planning work. A strategic plan might say something along the lines of “recruit highly skilled individuals to form a capable and talented team.” That’s a goal with some broad strokes, but a tactical plan will get into the specifics. In this instance, tactical or corporate planning would include steps such as conducting surveys of current employees to find out what they like and don’t like about their jobs. It may also include attending job fairs, creating effective exit interviews to figure out why some talented people leave the company or developing a training program to improve  leadership skills . All of these tactical steps will contribute to the strategic plan.

Here’s how strategic and tactical planning might appear, with the strategic plan listed on top and the tactical plans shown underneath:

That’s just a brief example of how strategic and tactical planning might look. Leaders can also write each part of the tactical plan in smaller steps if that’s what the company wants. The more details worked into the plan, the easier it will be to follow and measure progress.

1. Identify a Big Picture Goal

What ultimate destination do you want to end up at? That’s the question every business and individual must ask when making a strategic plan. Do you want your company to become the leader in their industry? Do you want to head up a new innovative company? The big picture goal should be lofty and aspirational, even if it’s not too specific.

2. Evaluate Your Current Position

Take the time to look closely at where the company is now. Try using SWOT analysis, which is a strategic planning tool that analyzes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. For example, ask questions like:

By evaluating your current position, you can get a good idea of how much distance the company must cover to reach its long-term goals. If the distance is short, then maybe the goal isn’t big enough.

3. Align Goal With Company Values

Whatever goal companies choose, they must make sure it aligns with their values. Every organization should have a  mission statement , so a goal that runs contrary to that mission statement should be thrown out. Take your values and convictions into account as you are strategic planning, as they can often inform you if the destination you’ve identified is actually where you want to end up.

4. Determine How to Monitor Progress

The goal set by the organization is likely many months or years into the future. Progress may appear slow at times. Because of this, determine early on how you should measure that progress. For example, with a marketing plan, what would you like to see six months from now? Where should sales be by the end of the quarter? By doing this, you’ll know if you need to course-correct before you’ve gone too far off the path.

1. Keep Strategic Goals in Mind

Strategic planning provides the destination and general outline of what the company wants to achieve. Create every piece of the tactical plan with that overall goal in mind. Operational planning like this gets into the nitty-gritty details, so it’s easy to become bogged down in unnecessary information. Note why each step of the tactical plan exists, and if it doesn’t make progress toward the goal, eliminate it.

2. Divide the Plan

When you know your ultimate destination and the approximate time frame needed to reach it, break up that goal into individual steps. Start with where you want to arrive at the end of each month, then each week, and then each day. These steps represent your progress and help teams keep track of where they are. Breaking up larger projects like this enables you to visualize how you’ll reach long-term goals.

3. Organize Teams

Once all the steps of the tactical plan have been established, note how many teams you need to achieve success. Then organize those teams to handle the different elements of the tactical plan. When engaging in corporate planning like this, you should have a good idea of what kind of expertise you have on staff. Based on the skills of the available personnel, you can determine where to place each person, so they have the best chance at success.

4. Determine Resource Allocation

At the same time, companies can also divide up the available resources, so each team has what they need to succeed. Everyone should know that these resources aren’t limitless, so make sure to explain why they get the amount you’ve allocated. This step can involve difficult choices, but with a firm tactical plan in mind, you’ll have a good idea of where your resources need to go.

5. Measure Progress

Determine how to measure progress for a tactical plan. Measuring progress for this plan will happen more frequently, such as at the end of each day or week. Determine how well you and each team did during the day and see if you need to make any changes to keep on schedule. If changes need to be made, make sure they address the problems you encounter most often.

Focusing too much on one side of strategy or tactics will lead to frustration and failure in operational planning. The best practices in a business involve both strategy and tactics. As you lead others, note the importance of having both strategic and tactical plans at the ready. Aim high with your strategies, and pinpoint the details with your tactics. The best leaders will use both to take their organizations to where they want to go. The result will be a company that experiences  business growth  and success.

Want to learn more about the power of leadership?  Read the following articles:

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Tactical Planning – Definition, Importance, Characteristics And Strategy

August 30, 2020 By Hitesh Bhasin Filed Under: Strategy

Definition:  Tactical planning is short term planning which takes into account the current operations of an organization. In this, you will be creating a strategic plan by outlining the general objectives.

The term can be used for the planning of a few days, weeks or months depending on the type of business model and pace of change required.

Tactical plannings is used by managers to fulfill the short term goals of an organization. These short term goals are further set by action plans which aim to achieve the long term strategic goals of the organization.

In this post, we will dive deep into the concepts associated with Tactical Plannings, and understand what it is, how to do tactical plannings, and what some of the key examples of tactical plannings are. So, without any further ado, let us get started.

Table of Contents

What is Tactical Planning ?

Strategic plans are broken down into smaller distinct projects of shorter periods in tactical plannings.

The time horizon of tactical plans is shorter, and independent functions in the company can do the execution. Therefore tactical plannings is highly concerned by middle-level management of the organization. The major areas where tactical plans are developed are marketing, production, finance, human resource, plants, etc.

Tactical plans divide strategic plans into smaller plans in specific areas of the organization.

The functionality and responsibility can be thus transferred to further lower levels of departments to fulfill their concerned parts of the plan. The essential parts of work in a plan are what, when and how to execute. It is done to translate the day-to-day objectives into quantifiable tasks smoothly.

Importance of Tactical Plans

Tactical plannings is a crucial part of the business.

It is not the same as operational plans and strategic plans. The short-term outcomes are targeted in real-time and shorter spans. Tactical plans executed in an adept manner assist businesses to excel within the respective markets.

Tactic plans are usually flexible and carry lesser risk to fail than that of strategic plans.

Strategic plans tend to do undoable harm to the company in case of failure. The tactical plans, on the other hand, can be changed from time to time. Thus they do less harm to the company than strategic plans, if gone wrong.

Once the requirements of the company for the next 5 or 10 years are determined, the next step is to determine how each functional area will contribute to achieving these strategic goals. Then, medium-term business goals are identified.

Tactical plans is a set of actions to be undertaken within the next 1-3 years. These actions must be aligned with the strategic plan of the business.

Let’s assume one of the company’s strategic goals is to expand its business from the North to the Northeast.

Now one must question what kind of action plan must be followed to achieve this goal.

First, increase production levels so that it meets overall demand; at the back end, hire a team of local salespeople.

Based on these sets of actions, indicators are also decided at the tactical level, which allows the company to measure and monitor the company’s performance.

With a tactical level that has been meeting the goals and is aligned with the strategy , there is an excellent chance of accomplishing the more significant goals of the organization.

Let us now have a competitive analysis of strategic planning and tactical planns-

Strategic vs. Tactical

tactical plan Image - 2

Strategic planning focuses on the big-picture scenarios and in the long term. It generally involves market penetration, company brand and the structure built around the strategy . Strategic planning lays out broad goals for the long-term that a business wants to achieve. The operational plans are focused on the day to day processes. It generally involves the process in communication, manufacturing and other operations necessary for the business to run.

In the tactical plannings, the business responds to immediate requirements. For example, a company requires differentiating itself from the competition by offering a more customized and premium service at a lower price. It can be used as a tactical advantage against competitors when seeking a contract. Tactical plannings lays out the short-term actions and plans required to achieve the goals outlined in the strategic policy.

Strategic planning provides a picture of how to reach a goal, whereas, in tactical plannings, the steps to achieve that goal are defined.

Strategic plans are typically made at the beginning of a year, quarter, or month. It is because the goals set are more general and are evaluated over a more extended period.

After the strategic planning is done, tactical plans are made.

Tactical plans are a set of actions that can be reviewed frequently daily, weekly, monthly, or whenever required.

Upper-level managers generally do strategic planning. Since upper-level managers have a better grasp and understanding of organization due to experience and knowledge, they are considered more capable of making strategic plans.

On the other hand, mid-level and lower-level managers have a better understanding of routine activities; they make tactical plans.

Strategic plans require more effort than tactical plans.

It is because the tactical plans are based on day to day activities which are easy to foresee. On the other hand, strategic plans are based on long terms which makes them a bit difficult to gather.

Strategic plans give a general overview of the required scenarios to be achieved (based on the future predictions) and therefore less detailed.

Tactical plans are based on circumstances existing within the organization and are therefore more accurate.

After being aware of significant differences in Tactical Plannings and Strategic Planning, the next thing that you need to understand is the ways through which your tactical plans can be implemented. So, let us have a look upon that here and now-


Time is an essential factor while devising a plan.

The manager generally assesses an opportunity identified by an employee. Various factors such as labor, time and capital required are then evaluated, which need to be employed to take advantage of the opportunity.

A plan is then set such that the costs, as mentioned above, are minimized to achieve the given objective.

Once the opportunity is assessed, and the plan is outlined, the execution of the plan becomes a new direction for the management to follow to achieve the desired results. The plan is also reviewed by executives in case required.

Key things you need to consider while doing tactical plannings are-

Now, while doing tactical plannings, it is important that some characteristics are incorporated into your plan. Let us now have a look upon those characteristics as well-


Plan Characteristics

1) Flexibility

Flexibility is an essential characteristic of tactical plans.

It allows the organization to prepare for unanticipated events. The procedures should be adaptable to the required scenarios and conditions of emergencies faced by businesses such as a change in prices, changes in interest rates, economic slowdowns, inflation, and other market conditions.

For example, if a company manufactures automobiles and makes a strategy to increase its production levels in the coming year, then a tactical plan for each manufacturing facility is constructed.

Those tactical plans should be accommodating enough to uncertainties such as a cut in supplies, a strike by employees, failure of machinery, electricity failures, etc.

2) Communication between functions

One functional department should be aware of the tactical plan of the other.

For example, increasing the sales target as a tactical plan of the sales department must be well communicated to the production department.

It will remove the problem of imbalance in demand and supply.

Also, quantitative figures must be disclosed to erase all kinds of discrepancies.

3) Being well prepared for any change

Business environments and markets can change quickly. Tactics must be reviewed timely to act according to the requirements.

You may say that it is also a part of flexibility, but paying special attention upon this characteristic of tactical plannings is quite important in making your plan result driven.

Now, in the next section, we will be covering different steps that can help you in doing immaculate tactical planning. Let us have a look upon those steps-

Six Steps Method

Image - 1

The very first step of tactical planning is goals that should be SMART. The meaning of SMART in Smart Goals are-

Tactics are the strategies and set of actions you are going to use to achieve the goal defined above in the first step. These are not the actual tasks you will perform, but the kinds of jobs you will be doing to reach the goal.

3) Action Steps

Action steps are the tasks you will schedule to accomplish the above-defined tactics. These have a specific date of completion.

It can be thought of as building your “to-do list” to make sure those tactics are achieved.

4) Resources

In this step, the necessary resources for the above tasks are evaluated. It gives the manager a fair idea of what is required and when. The manager can determine the total cost of the plan in terms of labor, capital and time requested.

Resources can include materials, financial resources, new employees, software, current employees, equipment, and outsourcing work.

5) Deadline

In the next step, the time duration required to accomplish each task is evaluated. Based on this, the periods are decided. It is an essential step since without time constraint a lot of extra resources would be wasted on the tasks.

6) Person Responsible

In this step, it is figured out who will do what job. In this step, you will be finding out the right individual or team for performing the task as per the tactical planning.

Let us now understand the concepts of tactical planning with some examples-


1) Coca-Cola Example

Coca-Cola bought many independent bottlers and a new organization, Coca-Cola Enterprise was formed.

It was done to counter the threat of restlessness among the bottlers due to environmental issues and to strengthen the company’s market position.

Increasing the firm’s market position was the strategic plan made by the firm’s top managers.

Buying several bottles was a tactical plan of the company, which helped them to keep control of the market while earning millions as profit.

2) Walt Disney Example

Walt Disney Company’s managers developed a strategic plan to encourage growth in foreign markets and profits.

The tactical plan for this was to expand the cable Disney Channel into more and more foreign markets. Another plan was to develop the Disney theme park near Hong Kong.

These were the two tactical plans with the overall strategy to grow in profits and as well as in several foreign countries.

Tactical Planning Wrap Up!

For accomplishing different business and individual objectives or goals, the proper combination of strategic planning and tactical planning is one of the most significant factors.

Tactical plans help teams in having clearly defined steps to accomplish goals in real-time via short term outcomes.

What are your thoughts about the importance of tactical planning in accomplishing different business objectives? Share your views with us in the comments below.

Thank you for reading our article about strategic tacticals

If you liked this article, we bet that you will love the Marketing91 Academy , which provides you free access to 10+ marketing courses and 100s of Case studies.

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About Hitesh Bhasin

Hi, I am an MBA and the CEO of Marketing91. I am a Digital Marketer and an Entrepreneur with 12 Years of experience in Business and Marketing. Business is my passion and i have established myself in multiple industries with a focus on sustainable growth.

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Planning in Management: Strategic, Tactical, and Operational Plans

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Below, we take a look at the three types of plans in management and how they are used within an organizational framework:

I. Strategic Plan

A strategic plan is a high-level overview of the entire business, its vision, objectives, and value. This plan is the foundational basis of the organization and will dictate decisions in the long-term. The scope of the plan can be two, three, five, or even ten years.

Managers at every level will turn to the strategic plan to guide their decisions. It will also influence the culture within an organization and how it interacts with customers and the media. Thus, the strategic plan must be forward looking, robust but flexible, with a keen focus on accommodating future growth.

The crucial components of a strategic plan are:

Where does the organization want to be five years from now? How does it want to influence the world?

These are some of the questions you must ask when you delineate your organization’s vision. It’s okay if this vision is grandiose and idealistic. If there is any room to wax poetic within a plan, it is here. Holding ambitions to “make a dent in the Universe” (Apple/Steve Jobs) is acceptable, as is a more realistic vision to create the most “customer-centric company on Earth” (Amazon).

Get a bird’s eye view of management with this introduction to management course!

The mission statement is a more realistic overview of the company’s aim and ambitions. Why does the company exist? What does it aim to achieve through its existence? A clothing company might want to “bring high street fashion to the masses”, while a non-profit might want to “eradicate polio”.

“Inspire. Go above & beyond. Innovate. Exude passion. Stay humble. Make it fun”

These aren’t fragments from a motivational speech, but’s values . Like Fab, each organization has its own values. These values will guide managers and influence the kind of employees you hire. There is no template to follow when jotting down the values. You can write a 1,000 page essay, or something as simple as Google’s “Don’t be Evil” – it’s all up to you.

As you can see, there are really no rules to writing the perfect strategic plan. This is an open-ended, living document that grows with the organization. You can write whatever you want in it, as long as it dictates the future of your organization.

For inspiration, just search for the value/mission/vision statement of your favorite companies on Google. Or, consider taking this course on  business planning for average people .

II. Tactical Plan

The tactical plan describes the tactics the organization plans to use to achieve the ambitions outlined in the strategic plan. It is a short range (i.e. with a scope of less than one year), low-level document that breaks down the broader mission statements into smaller, actionable chunks. If the strategic plan is a response to “What?”, the tactical plan responds to “How?”.

Creating tactical plans is usually handled by mid-level managers.

The tactical plan is a very flexible document; it can hold anything and everything required to achieve the organization’s goals. That said, there are some components shared by most tactical plans:

1. Specific Goals with Fixed Deadlines

Suppose your organization’s aim is to become the largest shoe retailer in the city. The tactical plan will break down this broad ambition into smaller, actionable goals. The goal(s) should be highly specific and have fixed deadlines to spur action – expand to two stores within three months, grow at 25% per quarter, or increase revenues to $1mn within six months, and so on.

The tactical plan should list budgetary requirements to achieve the aims specified in the strategic plan. This should include the budget for hiring personnel, marketing, sourcing, manufacturing, and running the day-to-day operations of the company. Listing the revenue outflow/inflow is also a recommended practice.

3. Resources

The tactical plan should list all the resources you can muster to achieve the organization’s aims. This should include human resources, IP, cash resources, etc. Again, being highly specific is encouraged.

4. Marketing, Funding, etc.

Finally, the tactical plan should list the organization’s immediate marketing, sourcing, funding, manufacturing, retailing, and PR strategy. Their scope should be aligned with the goals outlined above.

If you’re struggling to create a strong tactical plan,  this course on drafting great business plans  will point you in the right direction.

III. Operational Plan

The operational plan describes the day to day running of the company. The operational plan charts out a roadmap to achieve the tactical goals within a realistic timeframe. This plan is highly specific with an emphasis on short-term objectives. “Increase sales to 150 units/day”, or “hire 50 new employees” are both examples of operational plan objectives.

Creating the operational plan is the responsibility of low-level managers and supervisors.

Operational plans can be either single use, or ongoing, as described below:

1. Single Use Plans

These plans are created for events/activities with a single occurrence. This can be a one-time sales program, a marketing campaign, a recruitment drive, etc. Single use plans tend to be highly specific.

2. Ongoing Plans

These plans can be used in multiple settings on an ongoing basis. Ongoing plans can be of different types, such as:

Ongoing plans are created on an ad-hoc basis but can be repeated and changed as required.

Operational plans align the company’s strategic plan with the actual day to day running of the company. This is where the macro meets the micro. Running a successful company requires paying an equal attention to now just the broad objectives, but also how the objectives are being met on an everyday basis, hence the need for such intricate planning.

Struggling with operations management? This free course will lead you on the right path.

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  21. Tactical Planning

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