ASSIGNMENT >> 20. Read “Battle Plans.”


One accomplishes his goals by formulating plans and programs, which are then done target by target. An individual or group has daily and weekly actions he must do that will result in completed targets and programs. A tool one can employ to get his programs done, plans completed and goals accomplished is battle plans

A “battle plan” is defined as: 

A list of targets for the coming day or week which forward the strategic planning and handle the immediate actions and outnesses which impede it. (An outness is a condition or instance of something being wrong, incorrect or missing.) 

Some people write “battle plans” as just a series of actions which they hope to get done in the coming day or week. This is fine and better than nothing and does give some orientation to one’s actions. In fact, someone who does not do this is quite likely to get far less done and be considerably more harassed and “busy” than one who does. An orderly planning of what one intends to do in the coming day or week and then getting it done is an excellent way to achieve production. But this is using “battle planning” in an irreducible-minimum form as a tool. 

Let us take up definitions. Why is this called a “battle plan” in the first place? It seems a very harsh military term to apply to the workaday world of administration. But it is a very apt term. 

A war is something that happens over a long period of time. The fate of everything depends on it. A battle is something which occurs in a short unit of time. One can lose several battles and still win a war. Thus one in essence is talking about short periods of time when one is talking about a battle plan. 

This goes further. When one is talking about a war, one is talking about a series of events which will take place over a long period of time. No general, or captain for that matter, ever won a war unless he did some strategic planning. This would concern an overall conduct of a war or a sector of it. 

This is the big, upper-level idea sector. It is posed in high generalities, has definite purposes and applies at the top of the Admin Scale

Below strategic planning one has tactical. In order to carry out a strategic plan one must have the plan of movement and actions necessary to carry it out. Tactical planning normally occurs down the org board in an army and is normally used to implement strategic planning. (An org board, short for organizing board, is a board which displays the functions, duties, sequences of action and authorities of an organization.) Tactical planning can go down to a point as low as “Private Joe is to keep his machine gun pointed on clump of trees 10 and fire if anything moves in it.” 

“Middle management”—the heads of regiments right on down to the corporals are covered by this term—is concerned with the implementation of strategic planning. 

The upper planning body turns out a strategic plan. Middle management turns this strategic plan into tactical orders. They do this on a long-term basis and a short-term basis. When you get on down to the short-term basis you have battle plans. 

A battle plan therefore means turning strategic planning into exact doable targets which are then executed in terms of motion and action for the immediate period being worked on. Thus one gets a situation whereby a good strategic plan, turned into good tactical targets and then executed, results in forward progress. Enough of these sequences carried out successfully gives one the war. 

This should give you a grip on what a battle plan really is. It is the list of targets to be executed in the immediate short-term future that will implement and bring into reality some portion of the strategic plan. 

One can see then that management is at its best when there is a strategic plan and when it is known at least down to the level of tactical planners. And tactical planners are simply those people putting strategic plans into targets which are then known to and executed from middle management on down. This is very successful management when it is done. 

Of course the worthwhileness of any evolution depends on the soundness of the strategic plan. 

But the strategic plan is dependent upon programs being written in target form and which are doable within the resources available. 

What we speak of as “compliance” is really a done target. The person doing the target might not be aware of the overall strategic plan or how it fits into it; however, it is very poor management indeed whose targets do not all implement to one degree or another the overall strategic plan. 

When we speak of coordination, we are really talking about conceiving or overseeing a strategic plan into the tactical version and at the lower echelon (level of responsibility in an organization) coordinating the actions of those who will do the actual things necessary to carry it out so that they all align in one direction. 

All this comes under the heading of alignment. As an example, if you put a number of people in a large hall facing in various directions and then suddenly yelled at them to start running, they would, of course, collide with one another and you would have a complete confusion. This is the picture one gets when strategic planning is not turned into smooth tactical planning and is not executed within that framework. These people running in this hall could get very busy, even frantic, and one could say that they were on the job and producing but that would certainly be a very large lie. Their actions are not coordinated. Now if we were to take these same people in the same hall and have them do something useful such as clean up the hall, we are dealing with specific actions of specific individuals having to do with brooms and mops—who gets them, who empties the trash and so forth. The strategic plan of “Get the hall ready for the convention” is turned into a tactical plan which says exactly who does what and where. That would be the tactical plan. The result would be a clean hall ready for the convention. 

But “Clean up the hall for the convention” by simple inspection can be seen to be what would be only a small portion of an overall strategic plan. In other words the strategic plan itself has to be broken down into smaller sectors. 

One can see then that a battle plan could exist for the head of an organization which would have a number of elements in it which in their turn were turned over to subexecutives who would write battle plans for their own sectors which would be far more specific. Thus we have a gradient scale of the grand overall plan broken down into segments and these segments broken down even further. 

The test of all of this is whether or not it results in worthwhile accomplishments which forward the general overall strategic plan. 

If you understand all the above, you will have mastered the elements of coordination. 

Feasibility enters into such planning. This depends upon the resources available. Thus a certain number of targets and battle plans, to an organization which is expanding or attempting big projects, must include organizational planning and targets and battle plans so that the organization stays together as it expands. One writes a battle plan, not on the basis of, “What am I going to do tomorrow?” or, “What am I going to do next week?” (which is fine in its own way and better than nothing), but on the overall question, “What exact actions do I have to do to carry out this strategic plan to achieve the exact results necessary for this stage of the strategic plan within the limits of available resources?” Then one would have the battle plan for the next day or the next week. 

There is one thing to beware of in doing battle plans. One can write a great many targets which have little or nothing to do with the strategic plan and which keep people terribly busy and which accomplish no part of the overall strategic plan. Thus a battle plan can become a liability since it is not pushing any overall strategic plan and is not accomplishing any tactical objective. 

So what is a “battle plan”? It is the doable targets in written form which accomplish a desirable part of an overall strategic plan. 

The understanding and competent use of targeting in battle plans is vital to the overall accomplishment that raises production, income, delivery or anything else that is a desirable end. 

It is a test of an executive whether or not he can competently battle plan and then get his battle plan executed. This tool can also be applied by persons in all walks of life and in any activity.

a condition or instance of something being wrong, incorrect or missing.

irreducible means not able to be decreased or made smaller. Minimum means the lowest possible amount or degree of something. The term irreducible minimum means having only the visible item or action and neglecting the earlier contributory items or actions as these are not plainly visible. If one reduced the item or action just one bit more, there would be nothing visible at all.

belonging to or characteristic of a workday or its occupations; characterized by a regular succession or round of tasks and jobs; of ordinary everyday life.

short for Administrative Scale, a scale which gives a sequence (and relative seniority) of subjects relating to organization: goals, purposes, policy, plans, programs, projects, orders, ideal scenes, statistics, valuable final products. Each of these must operate in a coordinated manner to achieve success in the intended accomplishment of an envisioned goal. This scale is used to help one align them.

short for organizing board, a board which displays the functions, duties, communication routes, sequences of action and authorities of an organization. It shows the pattern of organizing to obtain a product.

a permanent military unit usually consisting of several thousand soldiers.

a low-ranking officer in various armed forces.

any process of formation or growth; development.

a gradual approach to something taken step by step, level by level, each step or level being, of itself, easily attainable—so that finally, complicated and difficult activities can be achieved with relative ease. The term gradient also applies to each of the steps taken in such an approach.

a series of exact doable targets for the coming day or week which forward the strategic planning of an individual or a group.