Why an operational plan is beneficial

January 16, 2014

strategy vs operation

Are you having trouble achieving your vision and mission? If you have difficulties understanding why you are not reaching your vision, please read this post about operational planning. Then ask yourself honestly afterwards, “Have I implemented a clear operational plan?”

Operational plan

An operational plan fits within the wider and more general strategic plan. A strategic plan provides the general direction of your organization for the next three to five years, whereas a tactical operational plan is crafted annually.

Strategic plans provide the general direction a small business or community organization takes. A good example is the vision and mission exercise that is part of a larger strategic planning effort. Its outcome is the understanding of where the company is heading towards to and what values are embraced.

If a company is dedicated to ending poverty by providing self-employment solutions (it’s main vision and mission) the strategies can be:

  1. Partnering up with non-profit organizations working in marginalized communities
  2. Teaching self-employment courses to marginalized communities

Tactical and practical tasks

On the other hand, operation plans provide tactical and practical tasks on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis. Departmental managers and coordinators generally develop tactics. If you are a single-person business, you set operational tactics for all aspects of your business.

Tactics within strategy 1 can be:

  1. Assigning a responsible person in your team for developing partnerships and provide guidelines and parameters
  2. Researching and connecting with non-profit organizations that are aligned with your vision and mission
  3. Presenting to executive management and board members of these non-profit organizations
  4. Developing an awareness campaign to gather community and (local) government support

An operational plan goes into further details and applies a timeline, responsibilities and resources. It should also contain a process to measure progress.

Put simply, an operational plan is key to implementing the strategic plan and achieving your vision!


Lisette Andreyko

Lisette is the founder of Kaleidoscope and is passionate about start-up leadership, personal growth and women in business (and psst.. about tea!). She enjoys connecting with small businesses through her network. You can find her on LinkedIn.