In the course of my career I’ve had the privilege of working with many savvy in-house team managers in workshop settings. In many of these workshops, I’ve led the participants in an exercise which allows them to design an initiative, mission or business plan. It’s relatively well known within the business sphere and I’m often surprised at how few seasoned design team leaders are familiar with it. It’s generally referred to as the Goals, Strategies and Tactics process. The exercise allows you to establish your big picture aspirations and then method-ically drill down to the specific action items that you and your team need to undertake to reach those goals.
Simply put the goals are your top-level objectives—what you want to achieve. Strategies are general statements of what needs to be done to achieve your goals—in other words, your plan. The tactics are the “in the trenches,” “who does what by when” actions needed to forward your strategies.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to create best-in-class creative work. That’s your broad goal. One of several strategies that you would probably want to implement is the recruiting of superior, highly talented designers. One tactic would most likely be for you or one of your team members to go to your local university’s graduating design class portfolio showing to determine if there are any graduates worth considering for your team.
- Goals support your vision and mission statements. Big picture and extensive enough to require multiple strategies to support them, they’re Bold, Basic & Broad.
- Strategies are the higher stage of the plan you’ll need to implement to achieve your goals. They’re the “How” step of this process. It usually requires multiple strategies to manifest a goal; if not, your goal is not big enough and is, more likely, a strategy.
- Tactics are the flesh and bone of the your strategies. They are the Who, What, Where and When. The tactics must be very specific and it’s the leader’s job to ensure that the staff assigned to carry out a particular tactic receive all the support (and prodding) necessary to complete their assigned action item.
This process, when followed diligently, will deliver powerful results without fail.