There are some in this world who naturally dream, define how that dream can be made into a reality (vision), and tactically make that vision a reality. Amazingly they do it artistically, creatively and functionally and there is no spreadsheet or project planning software in sight. For the rest of us it is not so natural, and that’s often where things get lost in translation.

Some leaders are fantastic at creating and casting a vision, and they are also amazing doers, but they are unable to lead to the next level because they cannot mentor others into doing. In fact they get frustrated by others inability to do.

A classic example of this is the now nebulous term “strategic planning”. Strategic planning is meant to be heavy on vision and light on tactics, although many think that if they have written down some clear blue-sky objectives they have a complete plan. This is especially true in the service industry. In manufacturing, however, if I want to build a physical product, at some point the engineering must take place.

The second term needed in the strategic planning process is the tactical plan. If you are looking for 7 new customers as your strategic growth initiative, there better be a tactical plan that says someone is making 700 calls this year to land them. That’s about 14 calls a week, a conservative conversion rate of 1%. Now create that kind of metric for every initiative in your strategic plan, and you’ve got a business!! Without it, you have a inspirational document that will likely never become a reality.