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Tactical Planning

Tactical Planning: “Who Will Do It, and When?”

One day our Children’s Ministry Team, partnered with our Local Missions Team, doing a major ministry event in a local low-income housing apartment complex. During the program, the complex’s director, Ramona, told me over and over just how she appreciated all our folks had done for her and the residents—not just that day, but over the course of the previous months and even couple of years.

I found Chuck, our Missions Pastor, and thanked him. His reply: “Don’t thank me. I didn’t do anything in pulling this together. I didn’t know much about it. I just showed up!” He said I should to go see Karen and thank her. She had put it all together. So I thanked Karen, who gave me a puzzled look and said she really did nothing, other than sending a few emails about the event. The others took it and ran with it!

Get Out of the Doers’ Way

A number of lessons can be learned from my day with our Missions and Children’s Teams at the apartment complex. One stands out above the rest:

The best thing an organization can do for its ‘doers’ is to give them a little direction and get out of their way!

I discovered again the value of people who are committed to a cause. When they are working in an area of passion, motivation doesn’t have to be manufactured. I believe there are two major reasons why we—and churches in general—don’t see this type of thing from our volunteers on a more regular basis:

1) Leaders often don’t do a very good job of translating the organization’s vision, mission, and strategies into grass roots action steps that can bring traction in moving the organization forward.

2) We can de-value our best people by not helping them find opportunities to work in their ‘sweet spot.’

Tactical planning is the dimension in which the doers in an organization typically become most engaged. Tactical planning is actually less about planning and more about execution. After all, all the planning in the world will go for naught if it is not carried out with effectiveness and efficiency. Tactical Planning addresses two basic questions: “When will it get done?” and “Who will do what needs to be done?”

The tactical dimension of planning defines the day-to-day operations of the organization, identifies and holds accountable those responsible for the related tasks and actions, and specifies the timing for the accomplishment of those tasks and actions. The best tacticians in an organization are those who say, “Just give it to me and let me do it!” They have to be among the organization’s best people. After all, particularly in a congregation, they are usually the ones who will have the most interaction with the customer / client.

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