Bridging Strategies & Tactics…

In order to create cultures of respectful conflict resolution, organizations and individuals will need to consider both strategies and tactics. Strategic thinking is about the bigger picture.  Strategic planning begins with the values, culture, and mission of an organization or individual and then considers strategies to actualize the mission over time. 

Tactics are the concrete steps that must be taken to accomplish an objective.  Tactics are used in real time and focus on the task at hand.  Good tactics must be trained, practiced, and driven by data.  Though tactical thinking is shorter term, it must be informed by bigger picture strategic thinking

The Mandt System utilizes several tools to help organizations with tactical thinking and with bridging the gap between strategies and tactics.  Organizations that use The Mandt System are often on a mission to reduce their use of restrictive practices.  Overall strategies that the Mandt System recommends for this purpose are the development of a trauma informed culture, the implementation of positive behavior supports, restorative practices, and utilizing the six core strategies for reducing seclusion and restraint developed by Dr. Kevin Ann Huckshorn (2005). 

To bridge the gap between strategies and tactics, the Mandt System proposes the use of the SODAS problem solving model. The SODAS model is used with permission from Boys Town Press, from the book Tools for Teaching Social Skills in Schools, pages 189 to 195, copyright Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home. SODAS stands for:

Situation– This step involves an objective analysis of data to accurately describe the problem at hand.

Options–  This step involves creative thinking.  All potential options that could resolve the problem should be considered.  In the reduction of restrictive practices this will include options for prevention, de-escalation, and intervention.

Disadvantages/Advantages– This step involves a critical look at each potential option to determine if the option will be effective and if the option fits with the values and strategies of the organization. The advantages and disadvantages must be weighed against each.

Solution– The solution will be the collection of tactics that the organization determines to have the most advantages and least disadvantages. Tactics for prevention, de-escalation, and intervention should all be considered in the development of safety plans.  Staff members must then be trained and practice the tactics identified.

The Mandt System proposes the use of the RADAR tool to make sound tactical decisions during an incident. RADAR stands for:

Recognize– Using situational awareness, a staff member recognizes that an incident is occuring.

Assess– The staff members assess themselves, the person, and the environment.

Decide– Staff members determine which tactics to use. Tactics should uphold the values of the organization.

Act– Staff should follow through with the tactics decided upon.

Review Results– Staff must continually assess the effectiveness of the chosen tactics.

Any organization that wishes to reduce restrictive practices would do well to have a clear mission, well defined values, and utilizes sound strategic and tactical thinking.

John Windsor – Director of Technical Curricula 


Boys Town Press, from the book Tools for Teaching Social Skills in Schools, pages 189 to 195, copyright Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home.
Huckshorn, K. A. (2004). Reducing seclusion & restraint use in mental health settings: core

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