What Is Tactical Planning?

Tactical planning is the process of outlining business plans for the coming year. This differs from strategic planning as strategic planning encompasses longer-term goals that reflect the company’s direction and its purpose outlined in its mission statement. Mid-level managers handle tactical planning by establishing actionable goals that support the strategic plan.

The Society for Human Resource Management defines a tactical plan as “a course of action to achieve short-term goals, generally within a year or less. Tactical plans represent the short-term efforts to achieve the strategic, longer-term goals.” When managers develop tactical plans, they also develop a time line for completion. Each actionable goal puts the organization closer to meeting its associated strategic goal. For instance, a strategic objective of recruiting top talent for the business can translate into an action plan to recruit 100 employees from top-tier schools. Managers then measure progress to ensure they are on schedule to meet their goal by the prescribed deadline.

Tactical planning spans all departments. Each department manager creates actionable goals for their organization so the organization moves toward its strategic goal in a coordinated manner. From the accounting and logistics to customer service, each manager and supervisor are directly responsible for his or her objectives.