Achieving Strategic Plans through Tactical Goals

The results that major divisions and departments within the organization intend to achieve are defined as tactical goals. These goals apply to middle management and describe what major subunits must do in order for the organization to achieve its overall goals.
Tactical plans are designed to help execute major strategic plans and to accomplish a specific part of the company’s strategy. Tactical plans typically have a shorter time horizon than strategic plans – over the next year or so. The word tactical originally comes from the military. Unlocking Creative Solutions through Technology box describes how the US military is using an experimental software application to support tactical planning. In business or non-profit organization critical plans define what major departments and organizational subunits will do to implement the organization’s strategic plan. For example, the overall plan of a large florist might involve becoming the Number 1 telephone and Internet based purveyor of flowers, which requires high volume sale during peak seasons such as Valentine’s day and Mother’s day. Human resource managers will develop tactical plans to ensure that the company has the dedicated order takers and customer service representatives it needs during these critical periods. Tactical plans might include cross training employees so they can switch to different jobs as departments need change, during off peak times to prevent burnout, and using regular order takers to train and supervise temporary workers during peak seasons. This action helps top managers implement their overall strategic plan. Normally it is the middle manager’s job to take broad strategic plans and identify specific tactical plans.
The results expected from departments, work groups and individuals are the operational goals. They are precise and measurable. Processes 150 sales applications each week, achieve 90 per cent of deliveries on time reduce overtime by 10 per cent next month and develop two new elective courses in accounting are examples of operational goals. At the Internal revenue Service (IRS) one operational goal is to give accurate responses to 85 per cent of taxpayer questions.
Operational plans are developed at the lower levels of the organizations to specify action steps toward achieving operational goals and to support tactical plans. The operational plan is the department manager’s tool for daily and weekly operations. Goals are stated in quantitative terms and the department plan describes how goals will be achieved. Operational planning specifies plans for supervisors, departments, managers and individual employees.
Schedules are an important component of operational planning. Schedules define precise time frames for the completion of each operational goal required for the organization’s tactical and strategic goals. Operational planning also must be coordinated with the budget, because resources must be allocated for desired activities. For example Apogee Enterprises a window and glass fabricator with 150 small divisions is fanatical about operational planning and budgeting.
Committees are step up to review and challenge budgets, profit plans, and proposed expenditures. Assigning to dollars makes the operational plan work for everything from hiring new salespeople to increasing travel expenses.
Hierarchy of Goals:
Effectively designed organizational goals fit into a hierarchy that is the achievement of goals at low levels permits the attainment of high level goals. This is called a means ends chain because low level goals lead to accomplishment of high level goals. Operational goals lead to the achievement of tactical goals which in turn lead to the attainment of strategic goals. Strategic goals are traditionally considered the responsibilities of top management, tactical goals that of middle management and operational goals that of first line supervisors and workers. However, the shrinking of middle management combined with a new emphasis on employee empowerment have led to a greater involvement of all employees in goal setting and planning at each level.
Source: New Era Management

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