Suggestions for Strategic Execution

In the strategic planning-centric February 2018 edition of SN, Chief Executive Officer Patricia Montague, CAE, illuminates each important piece of successful strategic planning. Her article, “Strategic Planning: The How,” is a step-by-step guide on the strategies you will need for your own strategic plan. The next step? Tactical planning, which supports your new strategic plan. The definitions of “strategies” and “tactics” can be found in the following article, “Strategic Planning: A Glossary,” and Montague’s advice for tactical planning can be found here, in this informative online extra.

Tactical Planning

In School Nutrition’s February 2018 issue, SNA CEO Patricia Montague offers the essential mile markers for developing a targeted, achievable strategic plan. “Strategic Planning: The How,” reviews the vision and mission statements, core values, SWOT analysis, objectives, goals and strategies. But there is one more element that is critical to success: execution. The fruits of all your previous labors will go unrealized if the implementation is not given the same attention. This is where the discipline of tactical planning come in.

Don’t stint on mapping out the specific tactics—the steps—it will take to realize your objectives and goals. When it comes to tactical planning, the wise program leader or manager thinks through such questions as:

  • Have you identified any obstacles that will impede your achievement of your strategies? What tactics are necessary to overcome these?
  • Can the tactics be adequately resourced from both a financial and human labor standpoint?
  • Are your tactics practical and achievable?
  • What are the risks of implementing or not implementing, the tactical plan?
  • Do the tactics fully support the strategic direction outlined in the plan?

The print edition featured several examples of strategic goals, objectives and strategies. Consider this one:

Operational Excellence

  • Objective: Increase school breakfast participation by 10% over the next two years.
    • Strategy: Implement breakfast in the classroom in 5 elementary schools and second-chance breakfast at the middle and high schools in the next two years.

Now, consider the many tactics that it will take for you to undertake the strategy. These might include the following:

  • Identify the specific sites with the most potential for success.
  • Work with key staff or stakeholders to discuss and determine the best delivery/service models for each site (e.g. cafeteria pick-up, classroom delivery, hallway kiosk, etc.)
  • Identify projected food, labor and equipment costs, as well as anticipated revenues from reimbursements of increased reimbursements.
  • Develop an estimated timeline for implementation.
  • Research grant funding opportunities to offset start-up or expansion costs for school breakfast programs.
    • Complete applications.
  • Identify “champions” among current administrators and teachers who can help you make the case to other stakeholders and decision-makers.
    • Develop a fact-sheet with benefits and answers to expected questions that can support these efforts.

There are likely several other steps that you will add to this list! But by thinking methodically about each aspect of the project, you can anticipate and address problems and better position yourself for success. And, by using proven tactical planning steps, the team can even exceed the vision, realizing growth and accomplishments not previously attempted or even considered!

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