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.
- When prompt action has to be taken.
- The company or organization is going to make a big move or decision.
- When strategic planning has been completed and now it’s time to put it into action.
- When the organization needs to achieve goals in the short term rather than the long term.
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.
“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.
“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.
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
- Specific goals: target-oriented
- Measurable goals: helps you identify tangible progress
- Achievable goals: realistic goals
- Relevant goals are industry-specific goals
- Timeline refers to the goals which are time-bound.
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
Define Goals and Objectives
Combine Actions With Objectives
Determining the KPIs
Who and what are involved in tactical planning
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Take an example of a conglomerate. They need to expand their business to the rural areas and for that, they would need to take certain steps to reach their goal. For that, they would use some tactics; such as broadcasting their product through TV in the particular area; visiting the locals, and identifying their pain points to offer their services. Providing free samples to introduce the product, etc.
- In a time of war, a nation wants to win the hearts of the opposite people. For that, they use some tactics which provide solutions to the target audience’s problems and meanwhile furthering the plans of the country. They would build hospitals, education institutes, provide them affordable services to win the populace and plant their feet.
- If a company wishes to maximize their production of goods for the next year then they would need to use tactics beforehand to achieve their target in a defined time. The tactics they may use can be; buying another piece of equipment, employing more staff, generating more revenue to have resources for the production.
Every organization employs tactics to gain maximum benefits. Tactical planning helps you achieve your goals in a specified timeline. It needs a lot of planning and timing should be followed to accomplish the desired results.
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:
- It is flexible and can be changed according to the need of time.
- It acts as a pedestal to achieve long-term goals in the short term.
- It provides an action plan to the team.
- It is targeted and offers tangible results.
- Tactical planning can be changed if not working or producing desirable results.
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:
- It slows down the progress of the organization.
- The teams need to work together to deliver results which can sometimes become a hindrance if one of the teams is unable to achieve the benchmark in allocated time.
- It requires a lot of planning and sometimes more time is spent in planning than in doing. Which can hamper the growth of an organization.