Generals have known this for millennia. However, this, lack of support in business, has consequences.
You have spent time building the pillars, goals and objectives for your corporate strategy. You have carefully considered the stages needed to achieve the strategic goals and objectives. You have identified the deliverables required to ensure completion of each stage. You have built processes to ensure each deliverable or required action is identified. Finally, you have assigned responsibility, for these strategic processes, to key team members or roles.
This is great!
The entire company now has a game plan, a guide to the expectations of management, based on carefully considered reviews.
Next , you train and communicate these strategic objectives to your field, or tactical, teams. These are the execution teams that complete projects, turnarounds, shutdowns, outages, maintenance programs, etc.
Tactical teams execute their tactical steps to deliver the strategic objective.
They are good at their jobs and you can expect that they will deliver.
Each tactical team is faced with the following issues, among others:
- The need for standard measures (key performance indicators or KPIs) to understand the effectiveness of the team’s activities and the adherence to the strategy;
- Use of standard practices for tactical tasks such as: scope management, estimating, budgeting, progress measurement, cost tracking, scheduling, procurement management, earned value-based progress measurement and reporting, etc;
- Ensuring a consistent approval and review process for each tactical step. This helps to ensure that accountability and responsibility is not easily ignored or randomly delegated;
- Management of communications, including meetings, and action items from these meetings, between the numerous stakeholder groups.
Field teams are doers. They will do what’s necessary to accomplish the objective. In the absence of corporate directives, tactical teams build their tactical processes and report back to the corporate strategy manager. The tools of choice for tactical teams are commonly available ones such as: spreadsheet, presentation, scheduling and ad-hoc data management tools.
The results of the tactical execution is an array of spreadsheets and reports that are the work, primarily, of a few people in the tactical team that are tasked with the ‘controls’ function. Spreadsheets are, by their nature, flexible and are thus hard to standardize. Reports may appear the same but may not reflect the same diligence and attention to detail from each tactical team. In short,, tactical teams produce their own logistical solutions with the tools they have available. A company standard approach for logistical support for the tactical teams would help them focus on quality work, while not having to tend to the building and the management of these logistical necessities.
Logistics is the ‘bridge’ or enabler for tactical teams to be confident that their tactical execution leads to the desired strategic objective. In 2017, an integral component of the logistical support of geographically dispersed tactical teams is the Internet. When tactical teams use the same logistical solution, their KPIs can be compared to each other, their processes reviewed and improved, and high level of confidence in the team’s compliance to the strategic, business requirements is achieved.
Absent a logistical solution set, your tactical teams will continue to deliver and be productive, but it is impossible to know and understand the quality of the delivery and, by the time you do discover that important aspects were missed or ignored, the consequences may be dire.
To achieve your strategic objectives, consider empowering your tactical teams with the logistical solution they need to succeed every time.