Can you tell me the difference between tactical and strategic business decisions/plans etc..?

Opened by Anonymous , Nov 21, 2012.

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Brian Sheets COO | VP | GM | Strategic Initiatives | Open to new opportunities
Dec 3, 2012

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Depending upon the source document you use and the size of organization in question, there are multiple definitions. An easy way to think of the difference is that “strategic” implies viewing issues from a “10,000 foot view” – how big is the forest. Tactical implies the work that is actually occurring on the ground – what type of trees make-up the forest.

Let me see if I can provide you with some generalities.

Time Window
Strategic plans tend to focus on a 3-5 year horizon; some plans encompass 10 years.
Tactical plans falling in the 0-2 year time frame.

Subjects of Focus
Strategic plans tend to focus on revenue and its contributive elements.
Depending upon the industry, these elements typically include:
  • Research & Development - new product development & architecture
  • Marketing & Sales - new business development (market expansion)
  • Regulatory – impacts to product certification & standards
  • Legislative – financial & regulatory impacts to business conductCapital – plans for plant & equipment expansion
  • Business Process Re-engineering – a generic catch-all for the alphabet soup of process enhancements (i.e. Six Sigma, TQM, Kaizan, SAP, etc.)
Tactical plans tend to focus on elements required to accomplish the strategic plans.
Depending upon the industry, these elements typically include:
  • Research & Development – specific new product development, product introduction plans, timelines for completion
  • Marketing & Sales – defining the go-to-market strategy to accomplish the new business development goals
  • Regulatory – what new procedures and processes need to be defined to address the impacts to changes in product certification & standards
  • Legislative – what new procedures and processes need to be defined to address the impacts of new financial & regulatory impacts to business conduct
  • Capital – define the equipment list and space design required to support plans for plant & equipment expansion
  • Business Process Re-engineering – what are the new processes and procedures required to implement the new strategy being adopted (i.e. Six Sigma, TQM, Kaizan, SAP, etc.)
Who, What, When, Where, Why, How
Strategic plans tend to focus “why” of business growth.
Tactical plans cover the remainder of the terms – Who, What, When, Where, How. A shorter version of this commonly used in both military and commercial organizations and is known as the “W-3 List” – What has to be done, Who is responsible, and When does it need to be completed (includes Where and How as appropriate).

As for the “decisions” accompanying these plans, it is generally dependent upon the corporate culture. Some organizations are traditional in their approach, limiting decision-making authority based upon organizational hierarchy – the higher you are, the more span of authority you retain. Alternatively, other organizations are more progressive and focus on driving decision-making as far down into the organization as possible.
The thought here is that the people actually doing the work have a better idea of how to accomplish a given task more so than some executive who is far removed. If implemented correctly, this speeds task completion and problem resolution, thus contributing toward a more effective and efficient organization.

Volumes of book have been written on this topic – hopefully, this information will shorten your journey to understanding.
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Roz Bennetts B2B Sales, B2B Sales Professional
Nov 27, 2012

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I would say in its simplist form a tactical business decision could be defined as making a decision with the goal of short term gain which may not be aligned with the strategic direction of the business, i.e. its long term goals. It could be anything, hiring an employee, taking on a new customer, advertising in a different way, dropping a price below the accepted minimum threshold, opening in a different market: it would have to be somewhat at odds with the strategic direction to be tactical but implies that the benefit of going 'off piste' outweigh the risks because of some additional value.
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Dimitri Schmitz 10 Dimitri Schmitz Solution Manager, bpost

Nov 28, 2012
I did find an old post from Colleen Sharen mentioning this definition:

Strategies are the investments of resources that build and grow an organization.
Tactics are the day to day actions that get us to our goals.

Martin Joe 01 Martin Joe Online Store, Shoqz Fashionz

Jul 19

a really great information i got, it's crafted will guide decision-making as your teams work to achieve those goals, then your tactics might be todetermine the best channels for your business, take a look at Star Lord Jacket got some great look & amzing design.




Annie De Wiest Artiste et sociologue, Créatrice de la galerie Artpiece.be
Jan 28, 2014

Short and long time perspective


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Legrand Garnier 01 Legrand Garnier
Jul 22

I agree with you. That's long time perspective




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Daniel Lee 01 Daniel Lee
Mar 22

The strategy is about choosing the best plan for accomplishing long-term goals of the organization. Tactics instant reaction of the organization, in response to the changing business environment. For a business entity, both tactics and strategy are important. It should be kept in mind while making strategies or tactics that the tactics match with the strategy. Similarly, the strategy should consider tactics. If Brad Pitt Shearling Jacket Topcelebsjackets.com and these two work in tandem, then the outcome will always be positive, and the risk of failure will be reduced to a large extent.