The Importance of Linking Strategy to Tactics

In today’s business and nonprofit worlds, it is ever more important to properly and continually link your organization’s strategic vision to its overall tactical implementation. It has become especially critical because the tools and technologies are changing rapidly, while our expectations of work place capabilities are changing as well.

Here’s an example: If your strategy is for your organization to be “fully deployed,” meaning members of your organization are constantly out in the community interacting with your clients, your initial thought might be “we need to have a technical infrastructure capable of supporting those people.” Obvious topics of discussion are cloud-based information services, voice over IP phone systems, etc.

But that’s only the technical part of the solution.

You also need to re-evaluate your processes and examine how decisions can be made in a near real-time manner with a highly distributed organization. Your “front line” may only have asynchronous communication with your top-level decision makers. Therefore, there are additional questions that you need to ask of your organization. For example, do your processes push decisions as low as possible within your organization, or do your processes assume that everyone is within the same office area and that your senior staff can make decisions by simply walking down the hall?

You also have to consider issues such as recruitment and training. Your organization’s recruitment activities need to ensure that you are identifying and retaining individuals that can work in a distributed structure, that are self-starters, and who exhibit a high degree of self-discipline.

You need to think about how you are going to provide continuous training, not only for major efforts such as large programmatic activities, but also on ongoing organizational activities and tools. How are you going to incentivize them to ensure that they continue to develop their professional skills in an environment where you are only face-to-face once a week?

These tactical questions are connected directly to the success of your strategy. It does not matter if you have a three person organization, thirty people, or more than three hundred. This approach is valuable and necessary, and it is worth the time for your organization to sit down and start this conversation.

I say “start the conversation,” because frankly, for successful organizations, the conversation never ends. And of course, your goal is to become a continually successful organization.