When survival is a major issue for a business, strategy seems like an ethereal concept. We talk about managing your business with tri-focals. At the close level we are managing on a day to day basis. At the middle level we are looking forward to the year to evaluate current events and their impact on the day to day operations. At the highest level we look at the business from the 10,000 foot level to see industry and economic trends that will affect the business. Each of these require planning and execution. Strategy is that activity that guides the business through all levels. The details are the tactics to realize the strategy and they are frequently confused. Indeed the line that separates strategy from tactics is frequently blurred.
We help businesses develop their mission; the raison d’être, its reason for being and its values. Everything flows from the mission. Decisions need to be measured against the mission. The mission is not inviolate; times change, but if a decision does not match the mission, it should be done with full awareness and the implication the decision has on whether the mission needs to be amended or is this a necessary expedient to be viable to meet the mission.
Once the mission is clear, we work with the client to define a strategy for at least three years. This entails deciding what the company will look like at the end of that period and developing a general road map of how the client will achieve that goal. It does not delve in to the details of how to get there, that is the purpose of the tactical plan.
The tactical plan frequently gets expressed as a budget where the underlying assumptions will include a marketing plan, a sales plan, an operations plan, a plan for financial and human resources and may include other plans such as a Research and Development plan and manufacturing plan.