Think like a general! Create strategies and tactics now.

If you have been following the last several weeks of these postings, then now we’re getting organized.  There are many ways to express the road map for your enterprise.  One of the most popular was used by the U.S. Army late in World War II, and adopted by many high profile businesses such as Texas Instruments after the War.  The structure combined the listing of the goal with a series of strategies and then tactics, each designed to support each other, each measurable and made public throughout the organization.  The technique, “OST” (objective, strategies and tactics), is a very good way to organize your effort to find guideposts and then develop metrics to measure progress.

What is a strategy?  It is a medium range process involving senior management and departmental management as well, directing resources in ways that, as accomplished, lead the company toward the goal.  A typical small to medium, business finds five sweeping strategies for the current year, many cross-departmental, and some carried over from the previous year’s plan and even from years before that.  Here are some example strategies from some of my companies over the recent years.

  • Expand into at least three new continents through new distribution channels.
  • Penetrate the Fortune 500 with at least five active accounts within two years.
  • Create a hosted “software as a service” or “on demand” addition to our product line by end of (next) year.

[Email readers, continue here…]  Note that these are expansive “junior” goals that, if achieved, would certainly move the company forward toward a larger financial goal.  Yet each is measurable if achieved.  In fact, the degree of progress toward achievement can also be achieved, such as “We did establish and do business with two of the five Fortune 50 accounts this year.”

Measurement is the key to success.  Even at the strategic level.  Next week, we’ll look at the last major step in creating an OST plan for an entire organization.

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