How well do you understand the strategic elements of your project?

Strategy and TacticsStrategy, Execution, tactics, goals, etc – how does this all fit together? I encounter this question every now and then. I’ll explain this in one-liners.

The order is intentional because one feeds the other, macro to micro. Also, illustrated with a hypothetical example.

1.MISSION – What does the company stand for?

2. VISION – Where does the company want to be in future? Always, think 3-5 years down the road. Big, important things here. E.g. To make DHL the largest delivery company in USA

3. GOALS – they are the translation of the vision and answer “what do we want to do?” It is helpful to organize the goals under broader labels, e.g.  Product Design & Development, Financial, Branding, Marketing, etc. Some common business goals are, increase profit, improve customer loyalty, create brand presence in Europe, etc. E.g: Increase top line revenue, Increase volume, improve brand (company-image)

4. OBJECTIVES – are quantifiable metrics that show progress toward stated goals.  Objectives are specific, measurable, and have a defined completion date. E.g. Some objectives could be maximize time delivering packages, deliver more packages per stop, deliver grocery along-with packages, minimize downtime, contribute to community activities, etc. 

5. STRATEGY – How to achieve an objective or a goal? E.g. some strategies to achieve objective could be – optimize delivery time and routes; create partnerships with grocery vendors; group deliveries, etc

6. EXECUTION – How do you deliver on the strategy? E.g. Run a marketing campaign to showcase that DHL is more than fastest package delivery company. DHL can now deliver grocery! 

7. TACTICS – These are actions/activities taken to achieved stated objective. E.g. deliver between 7-9 AM; deliver both sides of road in one-go, allow customers to drop off packages at grocery stores, etc.

If you want to explore more, read mission, vision statements for Coca ColaGoogle, Apple. Few other examples here.

Treat these as living documents and refine during every offsite Strategy Review sessions (or as needed)

Except for company’s mission which does not change that often, all other statements should be treated as “living documents” that are changed as the needs of the business change. It is not one time creation to be stored in a safe place. If you don’t use them, you have wasted your time.

While on project …. ASK

It’s always good to introduce clients to this terminology before beginning of any strategy engagement to ensure alignment. Better yet, I’d paste it to the wall through the duration of strategy sessions.

Also, while on project, it’s always good to ask  your clients about projects’ stated goals and objectives. If you don’t know them, how do you know if you have been working on the right projects?