Tactical goals and planning are the middle ground in organizational planning, for they focus on how each section of a company will contribute to the fulfillment of the company's strategic planning (which focuses on long-term, high-level goals) and of its operational planning (which sets milestones for success and explains how strategic plans are carried out in particular periods). Let's look at this in more detail.
Tactical plans and goals focus on the practical things that need to happen in each department. Let's say a company wants to increase the size of its workforce by ten percent over the next three years. This is a strategic goal (part of the strategic planning process). On the tactical level, each department will be given specific assignments to make that strategic goal happen. The department managers might, for instance, evaluate their workforce for efficiency and see where more workers might be needed. Accountants will be set to the task of developing a budget that could incorporate a larger workforce. The Human Resources department will have the goal of developing new job descriptions and defining and beginning searches for potential new employees. All of these are relatively short-term, tactical goals.
Now let's think about how tactical goals relate to the operational level of planning. This level of planning, as we said, sets milestones and defines what it means for goals to succeed in particular time periods. For example, the department managers might have three months in which to evaluate their workers and determine how many more they might need. This is a milestone. Further, each department might be asked to try to discover where it might fit in three new workers. Accountants may be told that their budgets should reflect a particular set of characteristics. This, too, is at the operational level of planning. We can see that operational plans help tactical goals get specific and stay on schedule.