Tactical planning must be specific. You must know the purpose, the time frame, the obstacles that may appear and you must know the resources available. Tactics must be clear because when they are not, you cannot tell if they are working.
There is an advantage to taking care with tactics. You learn only from careful tactics well implemented.
Plan specifically so you can implement flexibly. Dallin H. Oaks
Specific plans are plans you understand. It is the fuzzy ones that get you into trouble. They are flexible in a haphazard way and they seldom address the goal continuously.
When you know the plan in detail, you know why it is the way it is. You do not have to do everything at once and with all of your resources. What will you do if that fails?
When you understand how your plan came to be the way it is, you can be flexible in the weighting of the parts without giving up efficiency. Maybe using 25% of the resource in the beginning to discover the obstacles in more detail is worth doing. When to begin is always a variable. The situation you face may change too. If you have given up flexibility you will be stuck.
When choosing a tactic be sure there is flexibility in implementing.
A well-conceived tactic includes the knowledge of how it will implement. Working backwards from resources and time can help make the decision about which tactical plan. Perfect tactics are available, but not everyone can implement all of them.
Logistics eventually become the crucial part. Implementation separates ideas and methods into the failed and succeeded categories. In the military, professionals work hardest at logistics. Plans don’t work without the people, the hardware, the leaders, the food, the clean socks and the medical supplies in the right place at the right time. Life and business plans are like that too..
Top down planning can work but that is not the way to bet. Bottom up planning may miss some pieces that were possible, but they usually work.
In a financial plan, set the purpose within your personal factors, find or have someone suggest several ways to achieve the purposes and then switch to logistics to decide which of the methods to employ and why you want to choose them.
If there were no shortage of resources, simple plans could be achieved almost by default. Planning is required because resources, whether time, money or personal energy, are scarce. A plan you cannot afford is a bad plan, regardless of its other characteristics.
You manage scarce resources only when implementing. Take special care to choose methods that have a chance to work.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
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