Are you a tactical planner, strategic thinker, or logistician? This may not seem like a very hard question to answer, but for me I fought back and forth with this question. After reading the definitions for tactical planner and strategic thinker several times, in my line of work I’m slightly more of a tactical planner than a strategic thinker. From the examples that I have read, tactical planning is the “how” of a short term goal; while strategic is the “what” of a long term goal to accomplish. As an Emergency Room nurse, we tend to think as a tactical planner in order to perform immediate life saving actions.
I have worked in a hospital setting from the age of 18. Every hospital I worked for all have its own mission statement and emphasize on the staff working toward this mission. As a nursing student, you’re thought to become a strategic thinker because you are trained on how to use critical thinking skills. You are thought to first think on what goal you want the patient to reach and then what implementations you can do to help the patient achieve this goal. In an organization there is first an objective and then ways on how to obtain this objective. It is the same in the nursing profession; our goal as a nurse is to provide the best quality care in order to acquire the best outcome. This is the reason why I fought back and forth with myself on if I am a tactical planner or a strategic thinker.
According to the Business Dictionary (2014), tactical planning is “a systematic determination and scheduling of the immediate or short-term activities required in achieving the objectives of strategic planning.” Yes, I know that earlier I stated that nurses are trained to obtain a long term goal of optimum care, making her or him a strategic thinker. I am an ER nurse and the process is a little different. This different thought process is the reason I am currently using tactical planning. The reason I say that, as an ER nurse I am a tactical planner because when working in the ER we learn to work toward achieving the short term goal or deal with the complaint of the patient. We treat the initial complaint of the patient and the underlining cause, but leave the overall health treatment to the admitting physician and the medical/surgical nurses. For example, if a patient presents to the emergency with nausea, vomiting, and diaphoresis (sweating), the blood glucose would be checked. If the blood sugar is high and the patient is in diabetic ketoacidosis, the ER physician and nurse would only treat the patient to bring the blood glucose down from that dangerous level. Hence, my reason as to why I said I am a tactical planner. Even though I can be a strategic thinker at times when it’s needed; majority of the time I am a tactical planner.
As a team leader in the ER department, I supervise and assist the members on my team. Members on my team needs to have critical thinking skills, integrity, organization, work well with others and communication skills. In order to get the work accomplish, the members on the team must also have confidence in what they are doing. If they do not know something or need help, they know not to hesitate in asking. In the Emergency Room things can happen so fast, so my team members have to know how to organize by priorities, work well under pressure, and know how to verbalize when they are feeling overwhelm. Once a member of my team possesses all these qualities, the task at hand will get accomplish. Even if they don’t have all of the qualities, once they keep an open mind to learning new traits the goal will be attain.
History and experience has thought me to keep an open mind. I have learned not because I have a team, I should not listen to my members. There is more than one way to arrive to a solution. Staying open to opinions and listening to others thought process might give the best possible outcome. A military lesson I’ve learned is to keep an open mind about situations. I have also learned that you should listen to what your team has to say and not only put people on your team because you assume that they would be loyal to you and do what you want. A perfect example of that is when President Johnson replaced McNamara and appointed Clifford as Secretary of Defense. According to Moss (2010, p. 236), “Johnson brought Clifford on board as McNamara’s replacement primarily because he had assumed that his new defense secretary would loyally continue to back his war policy.” Clifford brought questions to the board and since they could not answer any of his questions he made a decision that it was not worth the causalities or the possible economic crisis. After Clifford pose the questions and could not get adequate answers he may have put a doubt in some minds. He brought another view to the table and really made the president think about his options. Having different options for a solution is not always a bad thing, especially when the outcome is for the best.
By doing this assignment, I have realized that someone can have more than one organizational skills. I tend to be a tactical planner most of the time because of the career path I took. I can either be a strategic thinker or a tactical planner, depending on what situation I may be in. It can be a good thing when you can adjust to different situations. A strategic thinker, tactical planner, and logistician may do things differently, but in the end they all work towards achieving the goal.
Business Dictionary (2014). Tactical Planning. Retrieved from:
http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/tactical-planning.html#ixzz2xxkiEyLr Moss, G. D. (2010). Vietnam. An American Ordeal. 6th Edition. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle, NJ.