Strategy & tactics: what’s the difference? And the relationship?

by Steve Seager on April 3, 2011 . Views: 7,714

Many businesses & organisations I work with find it difficult to articulate the difference between strategy & tactics.

I’m not surprised. Most businesses have been baffled by management consulting BS at one time or another.

So I’m going to try & lay this out simply.

If you end up thinking this is just common sense, then so be it. I’ve been accused of much worse 🙂

So what is the difference between strategy & tactics?

Tactics are the operational stuff you do every day. The emails you reply to, or send. Tactics are the calls you field, the appointments you make, the blogposts you post, the metrics you measure & so on.

Strategy is the thing that makes sure the stuff you do every day is joined up to a bigger, predetermined goal & yields tangible outcomes.


In other words …

Strategy is the sum of the way you allocate your resources – every day!

Now that may not sound like rocket science, but think about this for a second …

Most small & medium sized businesses (& organisations) do not have a formal, written out strategy.

They don’t have a plan that ties up their Tactics to make sure they contribute to the bigger goals.

But! Every time they implement tactics, they define their strategy!

[Pause for thought!]

In other words, you end up in the market position you end up in, because of the decisions you make each & every day.

So the key is …








So you should always …








So what’s the relationship between strategy & tactics?

That’s now simple; they are kissing cousins.

Each complements the other.

As a business or organisation, your success rests on having both!

Note: these diagrams were inspired by Olivier Blanchard from this post on why your social media campaigns aren’t working.

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