Strategy and Tactics

Management Tool: Focus on doing things right and in the right order

Once you know where you want to get to as defined in the IO Mapthen you need to make sure that you do the right things to get there.

The Strategy and Tactics Tree will help us think through and develop a mental picture of the necessary actions that will result in achieving the goal. The S&T Tree helps us to break down the big picture into smaller more manageable steps; each step has an action (tactic) and an objective (strategy). The logic structure of the S&T Tree will enable individuals to understand how it is possible achieve individual objectives and give recommendations on how they think the objectives could be achieved most efficiently.
When managers have a clear picture of all the actions that need to be carried out they can also determine if their teams have the required skills, knowledge and talents.

As we carry out the actions (tactics) and complete each step in the S&T Tree, we have the possibility to measure how well the team is doing. Based on this feedback it is possible evaluate if and what corrective actions need to be taken.
Before starting the Strategy and Tactics Tree I recommend that you develop the IO Map

Structure of an S&T Tree
Illustration of the Strategy and Tactics tree that shows the order and logic for improvement activities

The following is a description as to how we use each of the five entities shown above.
Necessary Assumption
Why we need to achieve this step (Strategy & Tactic) before we can do the parent Tactic

The objective we want to achieve after the action (Tactic) has been carried out. Normally written in the present tense.

The Action that needs to be taken in order to achieve the above strategy

Parallel Assumption
An assumption about what will happen if the corresponding tactic is not carried out.
An assumption supporting the action and the benefit of the action.

Sufficient Assumption
An assumption as to why certain other steps must be completed before the action (Tactic) in this step can be carried out.

Normally the S&T Tree will be 5 to 7 levels deep with the lower levels describing more specific actions.

Strategy and Tactics Tree showing the step by step logic on how to achieve the goal.

This thinking process and the S&T Tree is extremely useful for transitioning a company or department from its current status to a future more desirable status. It can just as well be used for company start-ups and company merges.
By writing down each action (tactic) to be taken and in which order we make our intentions clear and open for all stakeholders to see and hopefully give candid feedback on. This in turn will help ensure that we do not miss out on important steps or include unnecessary steps.

What does a well formed S&T Tree do?

  • Communicates “HOW” the team will achieve the Vision and fulfill the Necessary Conditions and Critical Success Factors in the IO Map
  • Explicitly describe the logic for each step and the connections between steps.
  • What can we use a well formed S&T Tree for?

  • Communicate to ALL the team HOW they are going to achieve the vision
  • Get feedback on more efficient ways to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Promote candour through clearly stating the logic of how and why we plan to achieve the vision, then welcoming constructive analysis and contribution to improving the S&T Tree.
  • Verify and validate the logic for including each step.
  • Reduce management effort by encouraging team members to use the S&T Tree as a guide to what they should do next.
  • Make it possible for the more timid team members to get involved as they can talk or email at times and in a way when they are feel more confident.
  • Measuring the progress towards achieving the vision.