Thinking strategically requires that we understand the difference between strategies and tactics.
Strategies and strategic objectives imply long-term thinking. Sit back in a private place with a beverage and some music, or the sound of rain, or complete silence, and start your brain working to visualize where you want your business to be in five or ten years. That’s your ultimate and overarching goal. Some people call it a vision; it’s what you are aiming for across time – your business raison d’etre.
Now what are the five (three? seven?) most important things you need to accomplish before you are able to achieve that goal? Those are your strategic objectives.
Set those objectives in a priority or ranking system. Can they be achieved simultaneously or are they dependent on one leading to another. Now you have a bit of a longitudinal time component.
What is the environment like in which you wish to achieve your objectives? Here’s the time to do your SWOT analysis.
What paths will lead to the achievement of each of your strategic objectives? Ensure that they take advantage of opportunities, overcome threats, and take into account the internal strengths and weaknesses of your business enterprise. These are the tactical elements. What are the specific steps that you need to take to bring your tactics to bear on your objectives? Those are your tasks.
Add time lines. When should each task be performed – today, next week, next year? Attach tasks to the specific tactics to which they pertain.
Consider your resources. How can each of your tasks be accomplished? Ask yourself: What will I need in human and financial resources? What will I need in internal resources (strength, energy, attitude, education etc.)?
Now you have the beginning of a plan.
By ensuring that your tactical thinking has real-time tasks that you can do or delegate, you’ve turned your strategic plan into an action plan.
If you are a woman-owned or –partnered business in Manitoba, we can help you with this process through our advisory services.
Simplistic? You bet. But it’s a great way to get started. You’ll pick up what you need on the way.