A Strategic Plan is a design document that articulates an organization’s Mission, Vision, Principles, and Strategic Initiatives. It is a blueprint to guide an organization’s future directions, culture, initiatives, and projects. A Strategic Plan reflects the institutional mission and vision; trends and drivers; and stakeholder needs and should have a multi-year, institution-wide perspective.
The true success of a strategic planning effort is not only producing a Plan but actually being in the position to use it to guide annual tactical planning, daily operations, decision making, hiring, etc. The process used to create the Plan is as important as the document produced. Change management for staff and the community as well as marketing to build support from peers and senior leadership need to begin as the plan is being produced, not when it is finish.
The process used needs to be understood and supported across all levels of the institutions. Staff and the community must be involved in developing the Strategic Plan and have ownership. Planning must be open and inclusive, supported by senior leadership, staffed by a Working Group — and be a partnership among the organization, stakeholders and facilitators.
A Tactical Plan is created to managed the implementation of projects during a set period of time (usually one or two years). The Plan comprises strategic and operational projects, which are scheduled and executed based on their priority, dependencies, the availability of human and other resources, and institutional cycles.
A Tactical Plan is a working document that needs to be actively managed throughout its life to reflect changes in individual project timelines and deliverables — and the impact of these changes on other projects in the plan.