tactical-management

What is tactical management?

Tactical management involves choosing an appropriate course of action to achieve a strategic plan or objective. Therefore, tactical management comprises the set of daily operations that support long strategy delivery. It may involve risk management, regular meetings, conflict resolution, and problem-solving.

Understanding tactical management

Monash University defines tactical management as:

the administrative process of selecting among appropriate ways and means of achieving a strategic plan or objective. The use of tactical management in a business environment allows a manager to choose the best tactics or methods for each situation that arises, rather than following a particular standard procedure.

In understanding tactical management, it is helpful to differentiate it from strategic management.

This is referenced in the above quote as “standard procedure”, which usually refers to creating a strategy that sets the direction for the organization as a whole.

Strategic management also defines roles, responsibilities, and the commitment of resources.

Tactical management, on the other hand, encompasses the daily operations that support long strategy delivery.

It may involve risk management, regular meetings, conflict resolution, and problem-solving.

Tactical management often necessitates that a quick decision is made using tactics that are best suited to the particular situation.

Conversely, strategic management requires thought, discussion, and planning. Or, as we saw earlier, the following of standard procedure.

Examples of tactical management tasks

Following is a look at two strategic goals and the tactical management tasks that may underpin them.

1 – Recruiting, developing, and then retaining a diverse and suitably experienced staff cohort:

  • Establish a compensation benchmark based on industry salary data.
  • Occupy a booth at a school or university job expo and liaise with a diverse range of student bodies.
  • Regularly measure employee job satisfaction and engagement through surveying.
  • Create an exit interview program to better understand the reasons for a high-performer seeking employment elsewhere.
  • Provide training for managers to identify and allocate funds for employee upskilling or recertification.

2 – The implementation of flexible work arrangements:

  • Start by conducting a thorough review of the industry to determine the feasibility of flexible work arrangements.
  • From the list of feasible options, survey employees on which they deem is the most interesting.
  • For the option to be implemented, develop a policy and procedure framework.
  • Review the implementation framework annually in light of changing or extenuating circumstances.

Tactical management in investing

Tactical management is also prevalent in investing. Despite the differences between business strategy and investment strategy, tactical management is used in a similar way.

Using a tactical approach, investors intend to take advantage of daily market conditions using a range of acceptable percentages in each broad asset class.

On a red day, the intent is to act more defensively and reduce equity exposure. On a green day, however, the tactics pivot toward utilizing the higher end of each asset class.

In the same way tactical management supports business strategy, similar day-to-day management of the stock market helps supports the broader, long-term strategy of the investor.

Difference between tactical and strategic management

strategy-vs-tactics
Organizations create strategies to define overarching goals and how they intend to reach them. Tactics describe the individual steps and actions that allow the strategy to be carried out.

To understand the difference between tactical vs. strategic management, it’s important to emphasize the difference between strategy vs. tactics.

Whereas strategy is about long-term goals, tactics are the set of individual steps that can be taken in the short term to reach these long-term goals.

There is a key difference, though, between tactics and operations.

Whereas operations are intended to be very practical, in some cases, they might also conflict with long-term goals (take the case of a company that scales too quickly in its workforce, thus making it hard for the company to keep innovating).

Tactics are in alignment with the strategy. In short, tactics are short-term actions that serve to align with a long-term strategy.

Indeed, one of the most difficult aspects of a business is the alignment between short and long-term goals.

Oftentimes, to achieve the long-term vision, you got to do things that seem counterintuitive in the short term.

Microniching

Take the case of a company that, when launching its operations, instead of going broad, goes narrow.

In business, this is known as niching down or microniching.

This is a powerful tactic because by narrowing down the market, it enables the company to create options to scale later on!

Take the case of Tesla; when it entered the market, it did that via a sports car called the Roadster.

tesla-innovators-roadster

The Tesla Roadster was a way for the company to showcase the technology while financing the business in the short-term, making it survive, and from there, creating options to scale!

In fact, once the Roadster proved successful, only there Tesla could plan to expand (gradually) the market.

tesla-early-adopters

Today, after fifteen years of rolling out this long-term strategy via short-term tactics, Tesla is finally ready for its final stage of rolling out mass manufacturing!

It took 15 years of short-term pivots to achieve its long-term strategy (and many near-death experiences)!

tesla-production-numbers-by-year

Hook Product

Another strategy is a hook product, which aim is to finance the short-term operations of the business, thus keeping it alive and making it possible to achieve its long-term mission.

One example is how Airbnb, in the early days, sold cereal boxes to finance its operations!

Source: jennshreve.com

Any sane person would think this is not a great idea, and it doesn’t align with the business the company is in.

And yet, this simple idea enabled Airbnb to stay afloat in the short-term, in the early days, when being able to pay the bills was critical.

In other words, short-term tactics and tactical management are critical to pivot the business in the short-term and move it toward the long-term vision.

Even when, from a superficial look, it seems that the tactic is counter-intuitive.

Hide the Margins

amazon-aws-business-model
Amazon AWS follows a platform business model, that gains traction by tapping into network effects. Born as an infrastructure built on top of Amazon’s infrastructure, AWS has become a company offering cloud services to thousands of clients from the enterprise level, to startups. And its marketplace enables companies to connect to other service providers to build integrated solutions for their organizations.

Today AWS is a key tenet of Amazon’s business model.

If you removed AWS from Amazon, you would get a completely different Amazon, burning a lot of cash and highly unprofitable.

Yet, when Bezos and his team launched AWS, they used a trick.

Indeed, when AWS officially launched, it was priced as a utility.

Bezos wanted to avoid “Steve Jobs’ mistake” of pricing the iPhone at such high margins to attract competition quickly.

Instead, Bezos initially made AWS a low-margin business, and over time, it became a highly profitable segment.

AWS rolled out its first mass-market product, Simple Storage Service, or S3, on March 14, 2006. 

That is the official date of birth of AWS!

However, AWS was born in the early 2000s. As Amazon went through the dot-com bubble, the company had to redefine its business model.

now, if you have an incredible business unit, why do you want to hide it, especially when analysts are biting against Amazon’s lack of profitability?

Indeed, for years Amazon was the primary target of analysts complaining about Amazon’s lack of profitability.

This was a short-term tactic, which, while it didn’t help in the short-term the company’s valuation, created a behemoth that today is worth anywhere between $400-600 billion.

Amazon hid an incredible business, in the short-term, to conquer a whole market in the long run!

Key takeaways:

  • Tactical management involves selecting the appropriate course of action to achieve strategic goals or objectives.
  • Tactical management encompasses day-to-day operations such as conflict resolution, problem-solving, staff training, and the definition of roles, responsibilities, and procedures.
  • Tactical management is also useful for stock market investors whose primary strategy is supported by managing daily market volatility.

Read Next: SWOT AnalysisPersonal SWOT AnalysisTOWS MatrixPESTEL AnalysisPorter’s Five ForcesTOWS MatrixSOAR Analysis.

FourWeekMBA Business Toolbox

Tech Business Model Template

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A tech business model is made of four main components: value model (value propositions, missionvision), technological model (R&D management), distribution model (sales and marketing organizational structure), and financial model (revenue modeling, cost structure, profitability and cash generation/management). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build a solid tech business model.

Web3 Business Model Template

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A Blockchain Business Model according to the FourWeekMBA framework is made of four main components: Value Model (Core Philosophy, Core Values and Value Propositions for the key stakeholders), Blockchain Model (Protocol Rules, Network Shape and Applications Layer/Ecosystem), Distribution Model (the key channels amplifying the protocol and its communities), and the Economic Model (the dynamics/incentives through which protocol players make money). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build and analyze a solid Blockchain Business Model.

Asymmetric Business Models

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In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus have a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility.

Business Competition

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In a business world driven by technology and digitalization, competition is much more fluid, as innovation becomes a bottom-up approach that can come from anywhere. Thus, making it much harder to define the boundaries of existing markets. Therefore, a proper business competition analysis looks at customer, technology, distribution, and financial model overlaps. While at the same time looking at future potential intersections among industries that in the short-term seem unrelated.

Technological Modeling

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Technological modeling is a discipline to provide the basis for companies to sustain innovation, thus developing incremental products. While also looking at breakthrough innovative products that can pave the way for long-term success. In a sort of Barbell Strategy, technological modeling suggests having a two-sided approach, on the one hand, to keep sustaining continuous innovation as a core part of the business model. On the other hand, it places bets on future developments that have the potential to break through and take a leap forward.

Transitional Business Models

transitional-business-models
A transitional business model is used by companies to enter a market (usually a niche) to gain initial traction and prove the idea is sound. The transitional business model helps the company secure the needed capital while having a reality check. It helps shape the long-term vision and a scalable business model.

Minimum Viable Audience

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The minimum viable audience (MVA) represents the smallest possible audience that can sustain your business as you get it started from a microniche (the smallest subset of a market). The main aspect of the MVA is to zoom into existing markets to find those people which needs are unmet by existing players.

Business Scaling

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Business scaling is the process of transformation of a business as the product is validated by wider and wider market segments. Business scaling is about creating traction for a product that fits a small market segment. As the product is validated it becomes critical to build a viable business model. And as the product is offered at wider and wider market segments, it’s important to align product, business model, and organizational design, to enable wider and wider scale.

Market Expansion Theory

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The market expansion consists in providing a product or service to a broader portion of an existing market or perhaps expanding that market. Or yet, market expansions can be about creating a whole new market. At each step, as a result, a company scales together with the market covered.

Speed-Reversibility

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Asymmetric Betting

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Growth Matrix

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In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Revenue Streams Matrix

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In the FourWeekMBA Revenue Streams Matrix, revenue streams are classified according to the kind of interactions the business has with its key customers. The first dimension is the “Frequency” of interaction with the key customer. As the second dimension, there is the “Ownership” of the interaction with the key customer.

Revenue Modeling

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Revenue model patterns are a way for companies to monetize their business models. A revenue model pattern is a crucial building block of a business model because it informs how the company will generate short-term financial resources to invest back into the business. Thus, the way a company makes money will also influence its overall business model.

Pricing Strategies

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A pricing strategy or model helps companies find the pricing formula in fit with their business models. Thus aligning the customer needs with the product type while trying to enable profitability for the company. A good pricing strategy aligns the customer with the company’s long term financial sustainability to build a solid business model.

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