One of the first things I do when working with a new client is get their team all together and talk to them about the company, what matters to them and most importantly, how I can help them get where they want to go. The challenge here is that while folks often have a gut level idea, they can't tell you what it is. Not only that, many times members of the leadership team do not agree on these fundamental points and don't even know it.
Which is why it is important to have a clear set of goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. Each of these builds on the other. If you try to launch a tactic without understanding the strategy, it is meant to support (or worse yet, not haveing a strategy at all) your tactics will fail. If you try to build a strategy when you haven't outlined your goals and objectives, you will fail.
So let's break it down:
Business Goals: Broad primary goals or focus of the company. Usually, this goal is not measured, and its only purpose is to point the organization in the right direction. For example: Sell more tacos!
Business Objectives: If you apply some metrics to your goal, like increase taco sales by 25% in the next six months, well then you've got yourself a business objective.
Business Strategy: If you get even more focused and state that your organization will increase sales of your tacos by convincing Mom's and millennials in your area that your taco is a healthy and sustainable lunch choice using a combination of social media and PR. Well, then you've got yourself a business strategy.
Business Tactics: When you create a series of tacos that use local ingredients, and offer choices like vegan, gluten-free, organic, grass-fed tacos. Well, now you have a tactic that supports your Goals, Objectives, and Strategies.
Why it's important to be clear about these:
Someone on your team might propose launching a queso and candied bacon taco. Clearly, this tactic does not align to your business strategy, but confusion sets in when people start to talk about the business goal "sell more tacos!" or the business objectives "increase taco sales by 25%!). Will your queso and candied bacon taco make more money? Maybe, but it also runs counter to your business strategy and will undercut your position with your customers. The Mom's and millennials you are looking to bring into your store because they offer you the highest potential revenue? They will not trust you to deliver the healthy sustainable options you promised and won't come in. Your only choice here is to either re-evaluate your strategies (is this the right target group after all?) or not launch that queso and candied bacon taco after all.