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How To Translate Strategic Insight Into Tactical Plans

By Casandra Newton

Nobody will argue the fact that the world changes at a dizzying rate. Businesses have to adapt to changing circumstances, new trends and consumer demands if the wish to survive and grow. In order to stay abreast of changes and trends, it is vital to develop strategic insight. This is an extremely complex process and requires a high level of skill and knowledge.

Some people see a tactic and a strategy as one and the same thing. This is not the case and there are very important differences. Strategies are concerned with the future and people that develop a strategy analyze the various issues and technologies that are expected to bring about major changes in the business environment. Once the potential impact of those changes are realized, plans are made to avoid problems and to capitalize on potential opportunities.

There are many different environments that need to be studied and analyzed in order to determine the changes that can be expected. It is especially the technological environment that is most likely to change dramatically. Businesses need to anticipate new techniques, products, technology and even tools and machinery if they want to stay competitive. The financial and even political environments also need close attention.

Once the most likely changes in the various environments have been determined, it is necessary to decide upon the most likely impact hat those changes will have on the business. In some cases changes will favor the enterprise but in many other cases those changes will constitute a threat. The very purpose of the exercise is to be realistic and to document the most likely effect of any major global change in any one of the various environments.

With a very good idea of the various changes that can be expected, a business needs to determine exactly how ready it is for those changes. This requires another analysis that lists the weaknesses and strengths of the enterprise. It also lists all the opportunities that can be expected and the threats that will be faced. This exercise needs to be very honest.

It is all good and well to perform various analyses but unless the results are converted into action plans all the work is for nothing. Concrete plans need to be developed and these plans must consist of measurable objectives. Plans must be made for taking advantage of future opportunities and to overcome perceived threats. Weaknesses must be overcome and strengths must be exploited.

No business can hope to survive unless it operates according to a sound strategy that is based upon expert analysis of the environment. This environment does not behave according to rules, however, and it is very important to keep revising the strategy in order to make provision for unexpected events and changes. Any such change needs to result in adaptions to the relevant action plans.

Unless a business operates according to specific plans and objectives that are based upon realistic strategic insight they simply cannot hope to survive in the modern competitive world. There can be little doubt that future planning is vital to survival. Even a cursory study of the most successful enterprises will show that they place a very high premium on future planning.

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