A strategic goal is something that your organization might be aiming towards over the long term. This could include things like growing revenue, reaching customers in a new country or becoming the biggest player in your marketplace. An organization will then decide on and implement strategies to reach their strategic goals.
Depending on how successful your organization’s strategy is, there may need to be adjustments made in reaction to feedback from the market, shareholders or your customer base. These adjustments made in response to obstacles along the way to a strategic goal are called tactics. Tactical goals are short term targets that are set to help an organization maneuver successfully towards their long-term strategic goals.
In the process of working through a strategy to reach strategic goals, there may be many small changes of direction as new tactical goals are introduced to navigate challenges. This does not mean that the strategic goal has changed, just the route by which you will arrive there.
If you fail repeatedly to reach tactical goals, and the progress towards your strategic goals is slow or non-existent, you may need to pause and review the strategic goals they support. Is the strategic goal still relevant? Do we need to continue working on the strategic goal, but perhaps with a fresh tactical approach?
An individual will be optimally motivated to achieve tactical goals if they are clear on the overall strategic goal that they are working towards by doing so.
Example: In a football game, your team’s strategic goal is to score the most points and win the game. Together with your coach, the team works out a strategy before the game of how to achieve this goal. By the half-time break, things are not looking good and you are a few points behind. The coach announces a change of tactics. You will try to get more possession in midfield. This is a new tactical goal to help you achieve your strategic goal.